Aims of the course:
- To introduce students to critical study of two of Shakespeare's most important history plays, Richard II and Henry V, in both of which the interpretation of historical events is a central concern.
- To show students how these dramas have played a role in the interpretation of English history, both in Shakespeare's day and in our own.
- To enable students to assess the merits of some established critical views of the plays, and to engage critically with modern productions (including readily available film versions)
Course content overview:
Students will learn how these plays, rather than merely recounting a particular version of history, themselves explore how important historical events come to be differently and often tendentiously interpreted, both at the time when they occur and in retrospect
Attention will be given to the ways in which a play's interpretation of history could prove disquieting to the authorities of the day, and hence dangerous to those who staged it.
In weeks 1-3 the text is Richard II, with special emphasis on its significance and reception in Shakespeare's own time. in weeks 4-5 the course will turn to Henry V, revisiting questions from weeks 1-3 but also moving on to consider the interpretation of a Shakespearean history play (and of history itself as received through Shakespeare) in modern times, especially on film, from World War II on.
This course will refer to the following editions:
Shakespeare, William. Richard II. Cambridge University Press, 2003. (paperback or Kindle edition)
Shakespeare, william. Henry V. Cambridge University Press, 2005. (paperback or Kindle edition)
Schedule (this course is completed entirely online):
Orientation Week: 17-23 April 2017
Teaching Weeks: 24 April-28 May 2017
Feedback Week: 29 May-4 June 2017
Each week of an online course is roughly equivalent to 2-3 hours of classroom time. On top of this, participants should expect to spend roughly 2-3 hours reading material, etc., although this will vary from person to person.
While they have a specific start and end date and will follow a weekly schedule (for example, week 1 will cover topic A, week 2 will cover topic B), our tutor-led online courses are designed to be flexible and as such would normally not require participants to be online for a specific day of the week or time of the day (although some tutors may try to schedule times where participants can be online together for web seminars, which will be recorded so that those who are unable to be online at certain times are able to access material).
Unless otherwise stated, all course material will be posted on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) so that they can be accessed at any time throughout the duration of the course and interaction with your tutor and fellow participants will take place through a variety of different ways which will allow for both synchronous and asynchronous learning (discussion boards,etc).
A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to participants who contribute constructively to weekly discussions and exercises/assignments for the duration of the course.
What our students say - February 2015
"The tutor was excellent; very good course structure, interesting and relevant reading material, fascinating lectures"
"A great tutor full of enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the subject"
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