Skip to Main Content

ENG 3XX - Living Traditions: ENG 384 - William Shakespeare

This guide supplements ENG 3XX Living Traditions course, which looks at six different authors over six semesters.

William Shakespeare 1564-1616

ENG 384 - Living Traditions: Shakespeare

Shakespeare, considered the center of the English-language canon, is a writer so inexhaustible that any attempt to be comprehensive is doomed to failure. This course will focus on his plays (as well as drama, more broadly) and treat them as they as living documents meant to be performed. We will focus on two plays: the tragedy of Hamlet and one of the “problem” plays, The Merchant of Venice. Excerpts from Greek drama, Latin prose, and Danish history will provide the Danish play its deep background, and we’ll compare it with Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy and Twain’s spoof in Huckleberry Finn. How actors and directors have interpreted the play will be a central interpretive lens. With Merchant of Venice, we will track down biblical and Italian sources, and find contrast in Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, as well as link the drama with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Again we will look at contemporary productions, focusing on differing treatments of Shylock. By looking at fewer plays with greater depth, students will gain a method for how to read and understand any other play by Shakespeare-whose poetry, brilliance, and well of empathy know few if any equals.

Finding Shakespeare

A guide to finding Shakespeare materials using the Dewey Decimal System.

822 English drama
822.3 Elizabethan period, 1558-1625

A Authorship controversies S-V Tragedies
B Biography S1-2 Antony and Cleopatra
D Critical appraisal (individual works in O-Z) S3-4 Coriolanus
E Textual criticism (individual works in O-Z) S5-6 Cymbeline
F Sources, allusions, learning S7-8 Hamlet
G Societies, concordances, miscellany T1-2 Julius Caesar
H Quotations, condensations, adaptations T3-4 King Lear
I Complete works in English without notes T5-6 Macbeth
J Complete works in English with notes T7-8 Othello
K Complete works in translation U1-2 Pericles
L Partial collections in English without notes U3-4 Romeo and Juliet
M Partial collections in English with notes U5-6 Timon of Athens
N Partial collections in translation U7-8 Titus Andronicus
O-Z Individual works (first number for texts, second for V1-2 Troilus and Cressida
descriptions and critical appraisals) W-X Histories

Note that the work is given an odd call number and a criticism of the work is given an even call number
O-R Comedies W1-2 Henry IV, parts 1-2
O1-2 All’s well that ends well W3-4 Henry V
O3-4 As you like it W5-6 Henry VI, parts 1-3
O5-6 The comedy of errors W7-8 Henry VIII
O7-8 Love’s labour’s lost X1-2 King John
P1-2 Measure for measure X3-4 Richard II
P3-4 The merchant of Venice X5-6 Richard III
P5-6 The merry wives of Windsor Y Poems
P7-8 A midsummer night’s dream Y1-2 General works
Q1-2 Much ado about nothing Y3-4 Venus and Adonis
Q3-4 The taming of the shrew Y5-6 The rape of Lucrece
Q5-6 The tempest Y7-8 Sonnets
Q7-8 Twelfth night Z Spurious and doubtful works
R1-2 The two gentlemen of Verona
R3-4 The winter’s tale

Sonnets are located i 821.3 with Elizabethan poetry.

Library Resources

Shakespeare Online

Death on Shakespeare