Shakespeare

Dr. Johnson famously writes that Shakespeare’s natural disposition is comedy, in which he “seems to repose, or to luxuriate, as in a mode of thinking congenial to his nature.” In this course, we will ask how true such a statement is by contextualizing Shakespeare’s major comedies within a broader framework that includes “problem” plays and contemporary city comedies by Jonson, Middleton, and Dekker. We will ground our readings in performance and will pair comedies with their filmic realizations, allowing us to consider global instantiations of Shakespearean comedy, as well as to ask how well comedy travels across cultural boundaries. Connections may include Twelfth Night; Some Like It Hot; Taming of the Shrew; Kiss Me, Kate; Beware of Eve; 10 Things I Hate About You; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Were the World Mine; Comedy of Errors; and Bhranti Bilas.