Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

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 Shakespearean Intimacy

A heightened, sometimes uncanny, intimacy between characters is a repeated motif in Shakespeare, one that exhibits a variety of bonding—between members of the opposite sex, or members of same sex, or even between the living and the dead; between family members as well as those linked by voluntary forms of association; between couples but also larger groupings: triads, terads, and social groups. This course will be devoted to reading a selection of Shakespearean plays and poems that demonstrate this interest. This is, of course, pretty much a blank check: rarely is Shakespeare not interested in this topic, but general preference (with one exception) will be shown for works not covered in the Shakespeare lecture sequence 314 – 315 (Elizabethan-Jacobean plays). Readings will probably include The Sonnets, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, The Two Nobel Kinsmen, The Merhcant of Venice, Henry V, Othello, and Timon of Athens. We will also read some classical and early-modern philosophy and literature—Plato, Artistotle, Ovid, Montaigne, Elyot—that influenced and/or illuminate Shakespeare, as well as a few selections of contemporary literary criticism.


Requirements include regular attendance, class discussion, short response papers, and a choice of either three mid-length essays (5-6 pages) or one mid-length (5-6 pages) and one longer essay (10-12 pages).

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Statue of "Willie the Silent"