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Introduction to Shakespeare and Modern Drama

EN225 and EN280/TH223

Block 1: Steven Hayward (EN225: Introduction to Shakespeare)

Block 2: Katherine Carlstrom (EN280/TH223: Modern Drama)

An in-depth engagement with modern and not-so-modern theatrical works.  In both blocks, an emphasis will be placed on careful, close reading, on mastering the techniques that result in powerful writing, and on lifting plays off the page to get some idea of how they work on the stage.

Block 1: “All the world’s a stage,” laments Jacques in As You Like It. “And the men and women merely players.” It’s a statement that presents us with the ques What is the place of the stage today?  Are players merely players (in Shakespeare’s time and ours, in Shakespeare’s London and ours)?   What is the place of Shakespeare in the globalized, socially-mediatied, necessarily international world of today? This class will introduce students to the work of William Shakespeare through the study of six of his major dramatic works.

Block 2 This class considers the plays, the playwrights, and the aesthetic positions that are foundational to the making of modern drama.  In addition to a chronological introduction to the development of modern drama (“What did who write when?”) we will also consider the texts we read in the context of historical events and formal or aesthetic evolutions and revolutions. This class will prepare students for advanced courses in theater and theatrical literature as well as other courses that require close reading and written analysis of complex texts. Authors under consideration will include Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, Brecht, O'Neill, Beckett, Kennedy and Churchill. Time allotted for the study of the works under consideration will vary. Students will learn to read carefully and write powerfully, and, as with the block that precedes it, should come to class prepared to bring these texts to life. 

A set of linked, one-block courses that must be taken together, with a unique instructor in each block; separate grades will be assigned for each block.


• This course serves as a gateway to the English major, and fulfills major requirements in both English and Theater.

• Course involves creative projects.

• There will be daytime field trips (TBA) and an overnight field trip to the CC Cabin.