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ENGL401: Shakespeare

Unit 1: Introductions to the Legend  

Unit 1: Introductions to the Legend Despite his celebrity, many of the details of William Shakespeare’s personal life remain a mystery.  Nevertheless, we will learn what we can about who Shakespeare was by first reviewing the few facts known about him and then situating him within the broader sweep of the Renaissance and the Elizabethan Period, attending to both socio-historical trends and literary developments.  By the end of this unit, we will have a better sense of the context in which Shakespeare wrote and the dramatic traditions to which he was privy.  We will conclude with a brief overview of critical concepts and terms pertaining to the study of theater.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 34.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.1.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.1.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.1.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.1.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.1.5: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 4.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.2.2: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.2.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.2.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.2: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.3: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3.6: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3.7: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.4: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 1.5: 11.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.5.1 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.5.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 1.5.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 1.5.4: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.6: 2 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe Shakespeare’s identity in terms of his biography and education.
  • Provide an overview of Shakespeare’s oeuvre and provide an account of the legacy of his work.
  • Define the Renaissance as both an historical era as well as a movement in art and literature.
  • Define the principles of Renaissance humanism and utopianism.
  • Describe the Elizabethan era in socio-historical context.
  • List, describe, and/or define the major Elizabethan poetic conventions as well as Elizabethan theater and theater companies.
  • Provide an account of the importance of the Globe theater as well as of Shakespeare’s debts to Christopher Marlowe.

1.1 Who Is Shakespeare? 1.1.1 Brief Biographic Snapshot - Reading: Folger Shakespeare Library’s “Shakespeare's Life” Link:  Folger Shakespeare Library’s "Shakespeare's Life" (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of this webpage detailing William Shakespeare’s biography.  Very little is known about Shakespeare’s life, but as you read his brief biography, collect and write down the aspects of his biography that you believe might be helpful in understanding his work.  
   
About the link: The Folger Shakespeare Library is a research library in Washington, D.C. It is home to the largest Shakespeare collection in the world.  
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.2 Shakespeare’s Education and Extraordinary Talent with Language - Reading: Shakespeare-online.com’s “Shakespeare’s Education and Childhood” and “Shakespeare’s Lost Years” Links:  Shakespeare-online.com’s "Shakespeare’s Education and Childhood” and “Shakespeare’s Lost Years” (HTML)
   
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of both of these webpages detailing Shakespeare’s education and linguistic talents.
What were Shakespeare’s “Lost Years”?  Be sure to pay attention to the information that is missing in the writer’s biographical record.     
 
About the links:  Shakespeare-online.com is a website dedicated to the life and work of William Shakespeare.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.1.3 Shakespeare as Dramatist and Poet—Overview of His Oeuvre - Reading: Bardweb.net’s “Shakespeare’s Works” Link:  Bardweb.net’s “Shakespeare’s Works” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of this webpage providing a brief overview of Shakespeare’s oeuvre.  
   
About the link:  Bardweb.net is a website dedicated to the life and work of William Shakespeare.  Make sure that you ascertain the trajectory of Shakespeare’s oeuvre as you read this section of the course.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.4 The Legacy: Thoughts on Shakespeare’s Impact of Language, Canon,and Culture - Reading: Bridgewater College: Dr. Alice Trupe’s “Excerpts from TheWestern Canon by Harold Bloom” Link:  Bridgewater College:  Dr. Alice Trupe’s “Excerpts from The Western Canon by Harold Bloom” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Dr. Trupe’s selected excerpts from Professor Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon.  
As you read this section of the course, write down what you understand to be the definition of “canon” and explain how you see Shakespeare’s work shaping it.     
 
About the link:  Dr. Trupe has made this webpage available through her departmental website at Bridgewater College.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.1.5 Shakespeare on Film - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Shakespeare on Film” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Shakespeare on Film” (PDF)
           
Instructions: Please read this brief piece on film productions, which covers some of the plays by Shakespeare that we are studying in this course.  If possible, please view one of these films.  You can find a copy of most of these films in video stores or online. 

1.2 Shakespeare’s Times: The Renaissance 1.2.1 Progression of the Renaissance  - Reading: City University of New York (Brooklyn College): Dr. Lilia Melani’s Introduction to the “Renaissance” Link:  City University of New York (Brooklyn College):  Dr. Lilia Melani’s Introduction to the “Renaissance” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Dr. Melani’s introduction to the Renaissance.  Be sure to follow in detail the defining characteristics of this period, as detailed by Dr. Melani.  
   
About the link:  This webpage was made available online by Dr. Lilia Melani of the City University of New York (Brooklyn College).  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.2 Humanism - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s Introduction to “Humanism” Link:  The Saylor Foundation’s Introduction to “Humanism” (PDF)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of this introduction to Renaissance “Humanism.”  How has “humanism” been variously defined over the past several centuries?  
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

1.2.3 Utopianism - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's version of Thomas More’s Utopia Link: The Saylor Foundation's version of Thomas More’s Utopia (PDF)
 
Also available in:
HTML
ePub format in Google Books
 
Instructions:  Please read More’s Utopia.  What do you consider the most pertinent aspects of More’s conceptualization of “utopia”?  
   
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the links above.

1.2.4 Recovery of Classical Antiquity - Reading: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Discovery of Classical Antiquity” Link:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “The Discovery of Classical Antiquity” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of this webpage describing the ways in which Classical Antiquity shaped the Renaissance.  
What were the major types of artifacts that shaped the Renaissance?  Why do you think those artifacts might have held so much power over individuals from this later era?     
 
About the link:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made this webpage available online.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.2.5 Characteristics of Renaissance Art - Web Media: YouTube: Introduction to “Italian Renaissance Art” Link:   Introduction to “Italian Renaissance Art” (YouTube)
 
Instructions:  Please watch the entirety of this brief film for an introduction to a number of characteristics and history of Renaissance Art.
   
About the link:  This screening has been made available online through YouTube.com.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3 Life in the Elizabethan Era 1.3.1 Queen Elizabeth—Life and Legacy - Reading: The Saylor Foundation: Tudorhistory.org's "Elizabeth I: Queen of England" Link: The Saylor Foundation: Tudorhistory.org's "Elizabeth I: Queen of England" (PDF)

 Also Available in:  
[HTML](http://tudorhistory.org/elizabeth/queen.html)  

 Instructions: Please scroll down and read the entirety of
Tudorhistory.org's brief introduction to Queen Elizabeth I's
biography.  

 Terms of Use:  The linked material above has been reposted by the
kind permission of Lara Eakins, and can be viewed in its original
form [here](http://tudorhistory.org/elizabeth/queen.html) (HTML). 
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder.  

1.3.2 The Growth of the City and City Life - Reading: Elizabethan.org’s “The City of London” Link:  Elizabethan.org’s “The City of London” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of this webpage describing London city life during the Elizabethan era.  What would daily life in the city of London have been like during this era?  
   
About the link:  Elizabethan.org, a website devoted to the history of England’s Elizabethan era, has made this webpage available online.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.3 Views of the Elizabethan Monarchy - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's "Elizabethan Government and Power" Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Elizabethan Government and Power" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the passage detailing Elizabethan government and power.

1.3.4 Social Relations in Elizabethan England - Reading: Walter Nelson’s “The Structure of Elizabethan Society” Link: Walter Nelson’s  “The Structure of Elizabethan Society” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Walter Nelson’s brief introduction to Elizabethan society and click on and read the entirety of his “The Peasantry,” “The Gentry,” “The Nobility,” and “Society’s Gray Areas.”
   
About the link:  Walter Nelson has made this introduction to Elizabethan society available though his personal website.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.5 Leisure in Elizabethan Times - Reading: Academic.ru’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Leisure” Link:  Academic.ru’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Leisure” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Academic.ru’s introduction to leisure in the Elizabethan era.  
   
About the link:  Academic.ru has made this introduction to Elizabethan leisure available though its website.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.6 An Expanding Globe: Explorers in the New World - Reading: University of Wisconsin, Madison: Dr. Johann P. Sommerville’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Exploration” Link:  University of Wisconsin, Madison:  Dr. Johann P. Sommerville’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Exploration” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Dr. Sommerville’s introduction to exploration in the Elizabethan era.  What were some of the driving forces behind this form of exploration?  
   
About the link:  Dr. Sommerville has made this webpage available through his departmental website at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3.7 Religion in the Elizabethan Period - Reading: ErasofElegance.com’s Introduction to “Religion and Spirituality” in Elizabethan England Link:  ErasofElegance.com’s Introduction to “Religion and Spirituality” in Elizabethan England (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll and read the entirety to ErasofElagance.com’s brief introduction to religion and spirituality in Elizabethan England.  
   
About the link:  ErasofElegance.com, a website dedicated to Elizabethan history and life, has made this webpage available online.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.4 Arts in the Elizabethan Era 1.4.1 Overview of Queen Elizabeth’s Patronage and Interest in the Arts - Reading: Shakespeare-online.com’s “Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare’s Patron” Link: Shakespeare-online.com’s “Queen Elizabeth:  Shakespeare’s Patron” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Shakespeare-online’s introduction to Queen Elizabeth’s role as patron of the arts.  What figures aside from Queen Elizabeth served as patrons for Shakespeare?  
   
About the link:  Shakespeare-online.com is a website dedicated to the life and work of Shakespeare.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.4.2 Elizabethan Poetic Conventions - Reading: Luminarium’s version of Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella; Goucher College: Dr. Arnie Sanders’ Introduction to “Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella;” and Sir Philip Sidney’s “Defense of Poesy” Links:  Luminarium’s version of Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella;(HTML) Goucher College: Dr. Arnie Sanders’ Introduction to “Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella” (PDF); and Sir Philip Sidney’s “Defense of Poesy” (HTML)
 
Also available in: (Astrophil and Stella)
ePub format on Google Books
 
Also available in: (Defense of Posey)
ePub format on Google Books
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Luminarium’s version of Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella as well as Dr. Sanders’ helpful explication of the sonnet sequence.  Then read Sidney’s essay.  
   
About the links:  Luminarium.org, an online literary database, has made the entirety of Sidney’s sonnet sequence available online.  Dr. Sanders of Goucher College has made available online his explication of Sidney’s poetry.
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.4.3 Elizabethan Theater, Theater Companies, and Theater-Going - Reading: Encyclopedia Britannica’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Theatre” Link:  Encyclopedia Britannica’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Theatre” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and then click and read the entirety of all twenty-one links pertaining to Elizabethan “Theatres” and “Theatre Companies.”  What were the defining features of this era of theater?  
   
About the link:  Encyclopedia Britannica, an online encyclopedia, has made available these links dedicated to Elizabethan theater.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.4.4 The Globe - Reading: William-Shakespeare.info: “The Old Globe Theater History"; The Orange Grove: Clemson University: Karl Herbst’s “Virtual Globe Virtual Tour” Link: William-Shakespeare.info: “The Old Globe Theater History” (HTML); The Orange Grove: Clemson University: Karl Herbst’s Virtual Globe Virtual Tour (QuickTime)
 
Instructions: Please scroll down and read the entirety of this introduction to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and take the virtual tour of the Globe Theater.
   
About the links: William-Shaespeare.info is a web-resource dedicated to the life and work of Shakespeare.  The Orange Grove is a digital repository of online learning materials through the Florida Distance Learning Consortium. 
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.5 Shakespeare’s Inheritance: Dramatic Conventions and Traditions 1.5.1 The Influence of Medieval Drama - Reading: Luminarium.org’s “Renaissance English Drama: From Medieval to Renaissance” Link:  Luminarium.org’s “Renaissance English Drama: From Medieval to Renaissance” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Lumanium.org’s introduction to the influence of Medieval Drama on Renaissance theater.  How would you characterize the trajectory from Medieval to Renaissance drama?  
   
About the link:  Luminarium.org, a literary database, has made this brief essay available online.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.5.2 Relationship with and Debts to Christopher Marlowe - Reading: Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus and PBS.org’s “In Search of Shakespeare: Christopher Marlowe” Links:  Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (HTML) and PBS.org’s “In Search of Shakespeare: Christopher Marlowe” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Christopher Marlowe’s play and PBS.org’s essay on the dramatist.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

1.5.3 The Masque in the Court of Queen England - Reading: Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness and Elizabethan-era.org’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Masques” Links: Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness (HTML) and Elizabethan-era.org’s Introduction to “Elizabethan Masques” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Luminarium.org’s version of Jonson’s play as well as the entirety of Elizabethan-era.org’s introduction to “Elizabethan Masques.”  What social functions did the masques play during this era?

 About the links: Elizabethan-era.org is a website dedicated to the
history of the Elizabethan era.    
    
 Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

1.5.4 Shakespeare’s Patrons - Reading: Shakespeare-online.com: “King’s James I: Shakespeare’s Patron” Link:  Shakespeare-online.com: “King’s James I: Shakespeare’s Patron” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Shakespeare-online.com’s introduction to “King James I: Shakespeare’s Patron.”
   
About the link:  Shakespeare-online.com, a website dedicated to the life and work of Shakespeare, has made this webpage available online.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.6 Term Toolkit: Review of Dramatic/Theatrical Jargon and Concepts - Reading: McGraw-Hill’s “Glossary of Drama Terms” Link:  McGraw-Hill’s “Glossary of Drama Terms” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read all of McGraw-Hill’s literary terms for drama.  Be sure to study all of the terms in this list.  
 
About the Link:  McGraw-Hill, an academic publishing house, has made available online definitions of various literary terms.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.