See the play

Character studies, thematic studies, historical analyses-- these are all options for you. Some brief examples, just to get you thinking: examine some historical aspect such as attitudes toward witches in Sh's day and then apply it to a play such as Macbeth ; examine the question of whether or not Macbeth is a true protagonist; do a feminist analysis of Lady Macbeth.

The Alchemist (Jonson)

Or take a broader approach: examine the "fool" character across several plays; analyze "disease imagery" in several plays. If you feel shaky about doing literary analysis, in general, come look at some of the sample student papers I have on file in my office. Topics that are not acceptable are: biographical speculations about Sh's own life, personality, experiences, etc. I realize that many students in this class may be theatre majors who could benefit from using this paper in some non-literary fashion.


Many of you do or will teach Shakespeare at the secondary level or otherwise, and such a project could be very useful to you which would be my wish, always. There is a wealth of material about education and about teaching Sh and lots of further links on the internet at shakespeare. In general, a pedagogy paper must include as much secondary material support for your arguments as any other, and it must have a central thesis, just like any other paper. You may choose to evaluate the assignments, suggestions, materials about teaching that you find, for example, critiquing a teaching exercise suggested in one of the resources and showing the reasons that it might not be effective.

While these books and articles contain a wealth of valuable ideas, I would urge you not to accept wholesale the ideas expressed, just because it is in published material.

Instead, I urge you always to read any teaching manual critically with an eye toward evaluating what you read: do you think these procedures will or will not foster literacy? Unfortunately, there are many procedures being urged on the English classroom that have more to do with other disciplines such as art or drama than with English, and while I would argue that an occasional "fun" exercise involving artwork or acting may be useful for opening up students' interest-levels, the question must always center on whether the overall focus on the play for the English classroom helps young students learn how to read with meaningful depth, since the low level of reading skills among American youths continues to plague our schools.

Be critical when you read these manuals; evaluate; come up with better ideas whenever you can! When you are conducting secondary research, budget your time wisely and choose carefully what you will read or lay aside, what you will take notes on or simply peruse.

There is so much Shakespearean criticism available that you can waste a lot of time reading, so choose with care. Meyer Library actually houses a pretty good collection of works on Shakespeare; I ask you to respect this collection and keep it intact for the next generations of researchers.

CRC Press Online - Series: Shakespeare Criticism

Make use, also, of Drury library's collection, for they have a pretty good section on Shakespeare. Here are a couple of tips for you as the semester's research progresses: 1 if you find that a book you need is checked out, please let me know and I'll announce it in class-- the material s may be checked out to someone in our class, and students' sharing will save a lot of time and headaches , since it will take several days for the library to recall a book; 2 feel free to ask me if you are looking for a specific book or article that our library does not have; if I own it, I will loan it to you.

The most useful bibliographic guides are Stanley Wells, Shakespeare: A Bibliographical Guide [this book is extremely useful, because Wells discusses each play in terms of the major issues up to that critics and scholars have raised, and he lists the works to consult for each of these issues] and David Bergeron and Geraldo de Sousa, A Study and Research Guide There are many useful books on Elizabethan history that might be useful to historical topics you are researching: Jo McMurtry's Understanding Sh's England it is in our library; I own a copy, as well and Ralph Berry's Sh and Social Class present good overviews of the culture itself.

I have placed several works on reserve in the library that may provide useful background material. Don't forget that books have Works Cited, footnotes, and bibliographies that might send you to fruitful sources, too. Another useful place for discussions of previous criticism is each separate volume of The New Variorum editions of Sh's plays, located in the book stacks of the library-- each edition prints the text of the play and gives an ongoing discussion of criticism on each passage in footnote form as the text of the play progresses.

In addition, be aware that there is a yearly annotated " SQ World Shakespeare Bibliography" that exists as an edition of the Shakespeare Quarterly each year in the bound periodicals section, but sometimes the most current volume is in the Current Periodicals stack ; since this bib arranges its entries according to major subheadings, it is easy to locate the entries for your work. To do thorough research, start with the most current edition, then check each year's bibliography as many years back as possible, then locate the books or articles you want to read according to the subjects shown in the annotations.

I have copies of these bibliographies back to about that you may use in my office, if any of the library's copies prove temporarily missing. Also, try browsing through the latest unbound copies of scholarly journals in the periodical section-- you'll be surprised what you can find that is absolutely up to date. I will assign each graduate student a book.

I am deliberately choosing books from the "bygone" era of Shakespearean scholarship that is, the era of scholarship before the explosion of what we now call current critical theory that I feel made important contributions to the study of his plays and therefore should be known by any advanced student of Shakespeare. In a sense, these books laid the groundwork for twentieth-century Shakespearean criticism, and they are as crucial to our exploration of Shakespearean Criticism as any of the current theories that we will be exploring along the way. Write a one-page single-spaced handout to distribute to class on the date assigned, and prepare to speak for about 5 minutes about the book.

Unlike the popular connotation of the word "review" "I liked it; I didn't like it" this is an academic review, in which the reader finds the thesis of the book and then locates the most important demonstrations of that thesis and the most important overall arguments. BUT, since I have chosen your book for you, you will assume that this is an "important" work in Shakespearean scholarship, and you will not offer your own opinion about its usefulness.

The Book Review that you hand in to me may be as long as you wish it to be as opposed to the one-page handout you will also prepare for class distribution. Please double-space the Book Review you hand in. Your Book Review grade will be based upon my evaluation of all three aspects of your performance: your handout, your in-class discussion, and the longer written review handed in to me. If you can give me the handout a few days before your report, I will have it duplicated for the class.

Otherwise, take it to the departmental secretary PUM and tell her that this is a handout Dr. Baumlin wants duplicated for ENG if there's any problem, ask her to call me , or have it duplicated on your own. In general, I will expect a much higher quality of Term Paper from a graduate student than from an undergraduate.

I expect more research, deeper content, more polished writing. Whenever you write a major paper in graduate study, keep in mind some basic pointers please forgive me if this is stuff you already know :. But don't include any secondary material in the text of your paper that doesn't contribute to your thematic unity of your argument.

Do show your reader that you have read all the criticism that is relevant to the topic of your paper; don't let that alone suffice as the subject of your paper. The major idea, the thesis, is to be your idea and you should work as hard as you can to come up with a fresh perspective.

Essay about William Shakespeare

You can then use the secondary material either as support of your idea, or as "targets" for arguing against someone--that is, use some critic's statement as a place to begin your argument or take it deeper. I realize that in the field of Shakespearean study, you simply can't read ALL the criticism an impossible task , so choose carefully as you go along. The paper does not have to use any of the critical theories we have covered in class. While I don't expect or ask for publishability, I would love nothing better than for you to write in this class an essay that can be read at a professional conference and eventually published in a journal.

Trying to keep this sort of goal in mind whenever you write in graduate school will keep the quality of your work high and it will keep you from becoming bored. Some journal articles are conventional, with the traditional introduction and thesis statement, etc. But all published authors have an important case to make and they go about it in such a way that they prove they've "done their homework," so to speak-- that they've read as much of the other secondary material as is relevant to their perspective, and they've found a loophole for their own argument.

In other words, don't let the Term Paper for any graduate work become merely a pro forma satisfaction for exiting a course. Instead, try to make the project an attempt at mastering as much as possible of the criticism in the area you are working in, and try to think in terms of professional quality what is required for publication rather than in terms of pleasing a teacher. After you have finished a course, follow up by revising the paper and sending it to a regional or national conference's call for papers.

Reading your papers at professional conferences will be crucial for your development, especially if you intend to go on to doctoral-level study. Feel free to ask me or the Director of Graduate Studies for details about submitting papers to conferences. You will first have to obtain permission from the Director of Graduate Studies since this is a level class and you will also have to speak with me about the project well in advance before the date you plan to graduate: degree papers are much longer than class papers and require a great deal more research; they also require second readers, and both of us will expect to see multiple drafts of the paper.

Note: accented syllable is in all caps, and the pronunciations are not printed according to IPA international phonetic alphabet but instead according to general American English sounds. I have included only the names that may be foreign to English speakers, and I have given the pronunciations that I feel are standard for Shakespeare studies mostly British-ized, yes.

Other notes about names: British aristocracy uses place-names as well as family names here. Thomas Percy is also Earl of Worcester, so he is usually referred to simply as Worcester. Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, is usually referred to as "Northumberland. Note: the following information is based on the MLA Handbook , 6th edition, For most English classes, OMIT the Appendices in the handbook--those sections refer to other disciplines and alternate methods if you should ever need them elsewhere.

Use instead the parenthetical method I will describe below. More information may be found in the MLA Handbook , but I am hoping that if you are new to this method you will not need to buy one just for this class. Feel free to ask to borrow my copy, if you have need. There are also several university websites that offer examples of the uses of MLA Style; use a search engine to look for "MLA Style" if you need to see more examples than I list here.

Or feel free to e-mail me or ask me in person, if you have a question that is not covered here. My general approach to grading research papers is to evaluate the content and argument first. Mere errors in citation form or Works Cited page will not cost points on a paper in my class.

However, wholesale misapplication of the documentation process can cost a writer a lot of points, depending upon how much the errors obscure the clarity of the argument or obscure my ability to see which sources were used at specific places in the paper. If the documentation style is shoddy enough, it can even gain a charge of plagiarism.

Shakespeare’s Life and Times

I also evaluate the writer's style, and therefore I urge to you look carefully at the section below on "Dumped Quotes," which is an all-too-common style problem I see in student papers every semester. Further: the MLA Handbook , 6th edition, contains a valuable chapter on plagiarism that describes plagiarism effectively and also offers valuable advice on how to avoid "unintentional" plagiarism that is, plagiarism that happens simply because you were ignorant of the rules or imprecise in your paraphrasing.

If in your paper you quote from a British text, do take care to preserve the British spellings, but it is permissible and advisable, to avoid confusion for you to change the quotation marks to American quotation marks silently without alerting your reader that you are doing so. You are not changing the author's work, but you are merely making it readable to an American audience.

If you mention the author's name in your sentence, then you may put the page number alone in parentheses. MLA Style dictates that the parenthetical citation should follow as close in proximity as possible to the material it covers in other words, don't just put the citation at the end of the sentence, unless the entire sentence is meant to be covered by the citation. If the work is written by several people, use all their last names in the citation Jones and Smith Notice there are no commas between author and page number, nor is there any use of "p.

Harold Bloom Lecture on Shakespeare

If the author you cite shows up on your Works Cited in more than one entry, then place a comma after the author's name and give a shortened form of the title in order to signal to your reader which of the works you are citing at this time Marcuse, Survey If there is no author listed as is often the case for encyclopedia articles, dictionary entries, etc. If the work you are using quotes from yet another source, then mention the name of that source in your sentence and cite the work itself this way: qtd. Formalist criticism is "the rediscovery of metaphor and the full commitment to metaphor" Brooks 82 , according to one school of critical theory.

Brooks argues that Formalist criticism is "the rediscovery of metaphor and the full commitment to metaphor" The interest in metaphor--as the overriding effect of the criticism--is what distinguishes Formalism from other strands of critical theory Brooks Because the sun is daily swallowed by the sea only to be reborn in it Cirlot , "immersion in water" symbolically represents "a return to the pre-formal state, with a sense of death and annihilation on the one hand, but of rebirth and regeneration on the other, since immersion intensifies the life-force" Cirlot Copernicus studied canon law in the early stages of his university education at Bologna "Copernicus" The only exceptions to this rule are when a quotation uses a question mark or an exclamation point that is needed for the completion of the quotation itself, and in this case you place the mark inside the quotation marks, followed by the parenthetical citation.

It depends upon the quotation and your sentence:. Kat Ashley asked her interrogators if Elizabeth should "distance herself from Dudley? Does Weir prove her thesis that these Tudors were "individuals, who, in the final analysis, were people not so very unlike ourselves" Children xiv?

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This means that you cannot simply put a parenthetical citation at the end of a paragraph with the intent that it be meant to cover everything in that paragraph that came from some other source. Students often tell me that they have been told that you need not repeat the citation until the source itself changes, but this is not correct! Even if you must keep repeating the same citation that is, even if you have many successive sentences that quote or paraphrase from the same source , you may not leave a citation out of a sentence that contains any material whether quoted or paraphrased from a source.

Otherwise, you are asking your reader to read your mind to figure out what material came from the source and what material is your own analysis.