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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 351
Course Title: Readings in Shakespeare
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of William Shakespeare's writing, emphasizing his plays in all genres. Prerequistes: ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English literature course. Offered Spring.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.
Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Several suitable collections of the complete works are available, including:    




At leaset 8 plays should be the focus of the course and may be supplemented by poems, such as the Sonnets.

The Riverside Shakespeare
By Shakespeare, William (Ed. G. Blakemore Evans, et al. ) (Houghton Mifflin)
The Norton Shakespeare
By Shakespeare, William (Ed. Stephen Greenblatt, et al.) (W.W. Norton)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
By Shakespeare, William (Ed. David Bevington) (Addison-Wesley)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the literary, cultural, and historical significance of Shakespeare's comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances through  an intensive course of reading, discussion, and writing.
  • To explain the current critical evaluation of Shakespeare.
  • To reinforce principals and methods of contemporary literary critcism.
Measurable Learning
  • Describe the literary and historical significance of Shakespeare and his plays.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with several of the central works of Shakespeare.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the current critical reception of Shakespeare's works.
  • Describe the historical reception of Shakespeare.
  • Explain theatrical conventions in Shakespeare's time.
  • Analyze Shakespeare's plays in accord with basic principles of literary interpretation and contemporary critical methodologies.
Topical Outline:
  • Background to the study of Shakespeare
  • At least eight plays, which must include at least one each of the history plays, comedies, tragedies, and romances
  • Poems such as the Sonnets may be assigned
  • Class discussion of the selected works
  • Terminology essesntial to the study of Shakespeare
  • In class exams, including a final
  • Because this course represents an upper-level English elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. Students must read and write intensively, and they must engage in serious literary study that includes the use of peer-reviewed scholarship. This course must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (such as midterms, finals, group reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages, and may comprise less than this minimum only if the instructor is accounting for a significant amount of assigned poetry.
  • This class must assign, specifically, an essay that requires students to write an argumentative explication/close reading of a Shakespearean passage. Data from student essays written for this assignment will be collected as an assessment measure for the English program.
  • Department policy requires that assignments include at least one common reading of a secondary, peer-reviewed article or chapter.
  • Department policy requires a minimum of 4500 words (approximately 18 pages) of graded student writing, including an argumentative research essay that incorporates secondary criticism.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Johanna Denzin Date: May 15, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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