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Introduction to Literary Study: Shakespeare’s Ghosts
Topic Course Description
Who was Shakespeare? For what reason is he found in every high school classroom across the US? Why is his specter in nearly every subsequent era and genre of English literature? Despite his foundational status in the English canon, the recent attribution of many of his late plays to Marlowe by the Oxford Collected Works has reignited the debate on Shakespeare’s significance and the individual authorship of his work, and over the chauvinist nature of the canon itself. These are debates that began almost immediately during the restoration, when emergent literary critical institutions debated and adapted Shakespeare for the 18th century stage. In this class, we will take a hybrid, trans- historical approach, reading Shakespeare and Marlowe, studying their artistry, and then turning to restoration and modern adaptation and criticism to find the roots and modern manifestations of the debates surrounding Shakespeare.
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