English Literature 7, 8

7.  The course examines William Shakespeare’s dramatic output and poetic discourse by focusing on a selection of plays (Richard III, Henry IV (1), As You Like It, Hamlet), his genres and the sources to which he turned for his plots. It includes the explication of  theoretical concepts which are an important prerequisite for a full understanding of drama as a genre. Through an interactive and multi-medial approach, the course covers topics such as material evidence about his life (e.g. documentary records),  his theatrical company and the rival companies, his theatres and the influence of his contemporaries. It also includes a brief overview of Shakespearean criticism between 1592 and 1904 (Robert Greene, Ben Jonson, S.T. Coleridge, A.C. Bradley). Shakespeare as a literary figure and his dramatic output are studied both within the context of the dramatic conventions and cultural context of the English Renaissance in general and relevant references to contemporary critical approaches.

8. The topics covered by the course include the study of Shakespeare’s English, the evidence used in establishing the chronology of his plays, the importance of the history of the editing process, as well as a brief survey of the presence of Shakespeare in Macedonian translation and in Macedonian theatres. These topics provide the background  for the further study of the plays that are the focus of this course. They are examined either in relation to modern drama, or in relation to modern critical theories. The course also offers an optional examination of Eugene Ionesco’s Macbett vs. Macbeth and Heiner Mueller’s Hamletmachine vs. Hamlet. The survey of the critical approaches to Shakespeare’s plays is focused on the 20th century (Jan Kott, Terry Eagleton, John Drakakis, Terence Hawkes). The intertextual and multi-medial approach and the examination of the cultural and social appropriation of Shakespeare provide the context for literary analysis, explication and debate at an advanced level.