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LIT 36 — Shakespeare in Love

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Date(s): Mar 30—Jun 1
Duration: 10 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Apr 12
Unit(s): 2 Units
Tuition: $405
Format: On-campus course
Status: Open
Love—requited and unrequited, faithful and false, heterosexual or between men—was a topic that obsessed Shakespeare throughout his career. “Fancy,” as he has one of his lovers say, “is alone high fantastical.” Fluid, ever changing, fresh and quick, love is the stuff of imagination. Who can define it? In As You Like It, one of his comic characters (a shepherd) tries: “[Love] means being filled with fantasy; with passion and wishes; with adoration, loyalty, and devotion. It means being humble, being patient, being impatient, being pure, being put-upon, being obedient.” Shakespeare gives all these moods and attitudes shape.

This course will begin where Shakespeare begins writing comedies, with The Comedy of Errors. We will then intersperse the reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets (nos. 1–154) with three comedies in which love figures as a principal theme: Love’s Labour’s Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, and All’s Well That Ends Well. The final three weeks will be devoted to different kinds of love as they appear in the Henry sequence. Against the stately backdrop of history, we will examine the betrayed love of Sir John Falstaff for Prince Hal, the lighthearted banter of the knight and Mistress Quickly, and Henry V’s wooing of Catherine of Valois.

Denise Gigante, Professor of English, Stanford

Denise Gigante has taught British literature of the 17th through the 19th centuries, and a wider range of poetry, at Stanford since 2000. She has also taught “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human” and “Shakespeare: Comedies and Tragedies” for Stanford Continuing Studies. She received a PhD from Princeton.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors (ISBN 978-0451528391)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Love’s Labor’s Lost (ISBN 978-0451529503)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (ISBN 978-0451526816)
(Required) William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well (ISBN 978-0451530011)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 (ISBN 978-0451527110)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2 (ISBN 978-0451528537)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Henry V (ISBN 978-0451526908)
(Required) William Shakespeare, The Sonnets (ISBN 978-0451527271)