Shakespeare / Delahoyde

English 205
Section 01 [H]
Spring 2012
SLN 22343 / 80804
MWF 10:10 – 11:00 am.
Pullman EME B46 — Vancouver VCLS 117

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Avery Hall 355 — Washington State University
Hours: MWF 8:30-9:45, and by appointment.
Phone: 509-335-4832

Intro. Shakespeare

Course Description:

This course was created partly for non-English-majors who recognize that a university experience is not complete without at least one Shakespeare course but who may hesitate to enroll in a 300-level class they think will be filled with lots of literary and language virtuosi.

So, we’ll read and see (primarily in the form of film clips) some Shakespeare plays, most of which will be selected by class vote. We’ll give some attention to Tudor cultural studies and heretical consideration to the Authorship Controversy.

Why you want this course:

  • You can finally work past the trauma of high school Shakespeare.
  • Shakespeare essentially created our conception of what a human being is, of human psychology and human relationships. In other words, Shakespeare created us.
  • How can you accept a university degree without having taken a Shakespeare class?
  • Shakespeare shaped the English language more than anyone else, ever.
  • It may be your last chance to master this key field of subtle literacy.
  • Shakespeare cultivates sensitivity and sensibility. How much of that is in circulation these days?
  • A guy who’s been dead for four hundred years can make you laugh and feel something. That’s a kind of miracle.

Course Objectives:

To gain exposure to early modern thought, poetic craft, and drama by poring over the works of one rather well-known English author.

To increase intellectual maturation and clarification of our own values through examination of ideas and attitudes in literary/cultural contexts and especially through articulation of these in academic discourse.

To develop skills in verbal analysis, critical thinking, and detection of subtlety through reading, discussion, and writing about some tricky literature.

Required Text:

The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
ISBN 0395754909.

This is the text ordered at the Crimson & Gray and at the Bookie. You would, however, be fine with any scholarly edition(s) such as the Norton or the Riverside, even the Signet or Penguin paperbacks for the individual plays if you lack the arm strength and can track them down individually (usually not difficult — even malls have Shakespeare), so long as you have act, scene, and line numbers in your responsible edition for proper documentation of the following plays:

  • The Two Noble Kinsmen
  • Pericles
  • and other plays to be elected by the class.

Course Requirements:

A significant part of your life this semester has to become Shakespeare studies. Coasting along with Sparknotes will not save your butt. Responsibly reading and studying Shakespeare can be demanding, but at least we have the opportunity to be doing it together as a learning community. Because classroom interaction is essential for this to be a valuable experience, and because frequent quizzes and homework writings will be exchanged, more than a few absences will affect your grade regardless of reason. Here’s the math:

I will frequently ask for relatively minor homework assignments to be turned in (or submitted electronically on the Angel system), designed primarily to stimulate subsequent discussion [although it will arise anyway because the readings are so provocative (i.e., cool)] and to practice conventions for writing about literature. At other times I will ask you to answer questions in writing in class, often ad lib responses to the reading before class discussion begins. Homework assignments and quizzes will receive numerical grades (points) and, although these writings cannot be made up (except for a couple optional writings that can take their place), the final semester totals will be curved if necessary.(30%)

You will submit two written projects of manageable length. Late papers will receive F grades; failure to turn anything in, even late, will result in an F for the course. But excellent work earns lovely grades! (30%)

Your presence will be kindly requested at two or three exams.(30%)

Class participation and other service to the learning community will be expected (occasional group work, for example). (10%)

Some introductory advice about succeeding with homework and exams can be found here.

Students with Disabilities:

I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodations to participate in this class fully, please visit the Access Center (Washington Building 217) at the start of the semester to meet with an Access Advisor. All accommodations must be approved through the Access Center. Either drop by the Access Center or call 509-335-3417 to schedule an appointment.

Academic Integrity:

As an institution of higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. The University does not tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Any student plagiarizing on any assignment or cheating on any exam in this class will receive an F for the course and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct, who remind us that Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty.


Here’s what a couple students from several years ago thought you should know going into this class:

Dr. Michael Delahoyde, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of English
WSU Copyright, Disclaimer, & Freedom of Expression Policies
Washington State University