ELIT 17/12 Shakespeare

The Bawdy Bard: Shakespeare’s Use of Sex, Gender, and Language in His Plays

With London as a backdrop, “all the world’s [or city’s] a stage” for the Shakespeare scholar. In this class, we will examine a variety of the plays around the theme of sex, courtship, and gender. We will delve into the sophistication of the double entendres, bawdy puns, gender stereotypes, and dating rituals. Some of the major plays we may read will be Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. Along with a Stratford excursion and Globe performance, there are Shakespeare city tours, endless productions in London theaters (most notably The Royal Shakespeare Company), and original manuscripts at the British Library to experience.

ELIT 10/78Z British Literature

Show Me the Money!: A Marxist Approach to English Literature

Tradesman and nobles, groundlings and princes, cockney and oxbridge – these are the examples in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dickens’ Oliver Twist, and Swift’s Modest Proposal, that help us understand class structure and the power of the pound. This class will take a Marxist approach to British Literature by exploring it through the lens of socio-economic class, allowing us to understand how the hierarchy of the aristocrats to peasants has evolved and affected the current perspectives of English society and money. We will also take excursions to Stratford-upon-Avon, Cambridge, Bath, or Brighton to examine differences and effects of socio-economic class in the past and the present. Other writers to explore might include Swift, Mary Shelley, Austen, Joyce, and Woolf.