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ENGLISH 9076 ~
Apocryphal, Collaborative, and "Bad" Shakespeares

Professor James Purkis
Summer 2012, Full Course.

Tentatively scheduled to run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-12 and 1-3 or 3:30 starting Tuesday 15 May, taking a week off over Congress (i.e. the last week in May), and wrapping things up on Thursday 28 June. A final paper will be due at, approximately, the end of July.

Description:

The bounds of the Shakespeare canon are populated by a number puzzling texts: the apocryphal, the collaborative, and the “bad”. These texts, either misattributed to Shakespeare, incompletely by Shakespeare, or deemed corruptions or pirate versions of his genuine work (or even a combination of the above), pose practical and theoretical questions for the the integrity of “the Shakespearean,” whether the term is understood to apply to the work of Shakespeare-the-practical-dramatist or Shakespeare-the-cultural-icon.

This course will explore a number of these texts and the conceptual problems that they pose for “the Shakespearean.” It will thus provide an opportunity to enjoy a number of fascinating early modern dramatic texts whose reception has been informed – sometimes negatively and sometimes positively – by their Shakespearean associations. And it will examine some of the theoretically issues that arise from these plays’ reception by Shakespeareans, to ask questions about the integrity of the canon, the theoretical confusions of collaboration, the identity of texts, and what is involved (culturally, intellectually, conceptually, practically) when a text is attributed to Shakespeare. Reading and discussion will take as a starting-point the circumstances under which Shakespeare’s plays first reached their theatrical and print publics, and the manner(s) in which Shakespearean texts have been received and reproduced subsequently.

View syllabus here: English 9076.


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