Shakespeare / Delahoyde

English 305
Section 01 [H]
Summer 2010
SLN 14159
June 21 – July 30
MTWThF 9:00 – 10:15
Thompson 201

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Avery Hall 355 — Washington State University
Hours: MTWTh 10:15-11:30, and by appointment.
Phone: 509-335-4832


Course Description:

This course will focus primarily on those plays traditionally assigned to the Shakespearean earlier period: comedies that are actually funny instead of weird, at least one history play, an early tragedy or two.

So, we’ll read and see (in lots of film clips, at least) some Shakespeare plays, most of which will be selected by class vote. We’ll give some consideration to the Authorship Controversy and Tudor-era cultural studies. And we’ll take advantage of any film adaptations or local performances appearing these summer weeks.

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 Renaissance (or 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 through articulation of these.

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 Miflin Co., 1997.

This is the text ordered at the Crimson & Gray and at the Bookie. You would, however, be fine with any scholarly edition(s) — The Norton Shakespeare or the Bevington edition, 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); but you must have act, scene, and line numbers in your responsible edition for proper documentation.

Course Requirements:

A significant part of your life this mini-semester has to become Shakespeare studies. Studying this stuff can be demanding, but at least we’ll 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 and no late assignments of any sort will be accepted, 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 if I can tolerate 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 formal written projects of manageable length.(30%)

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

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

Students with Disabilities:

I am committed to providing assistance tohelp you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations areavailable for students with a documented disability. Please go to theDisability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of everysemester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations. Allaccommodations MUST be approved through the DRC. To make an appointment with adisability counselor, call 335-3417.

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