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For Tuesday: de Sousa, Love: A Very Short Introduction, Chapter 2, “Perspectives”

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Answer TWO of the following in a short response, at least a few sentences so I can see you thinking through the questions. Please avoid one-sentence responses and try to be specific—quote a passage if necessary. It’s okay if you don’t really know what to say; by writing, you’ll work your way through to a potential response. My goal is that you engage with the ideas rather than passively skimming the text.
Q1: Though we like to assume that love is universal and unchanging, why do we know that to some extent, love is a social construction? Not the emotions, perhaps, but the rules we give ourselves—and others—regarding how, where, when, and with whom is it conducted? Is one form of love truly more natural than another?
Q2: In Chapter 1, de Sousa called love a “condition” and a “syndrome.” In Chapter 2 he goes on to call it a “pathology.” What does he mean by this, and how does Shakespeare’s Sonnet 147 help explain this?
Q3: Despite many differences in culture, the ancient Greeks always bel…

For Thursday: de Sousa, Love: AVSI, Chapter 1

Two quick notes:

1. Be sure to read Chapter 1 of Love: A Very Short Introduction. I won't give you any questions this time, but we will do an in-class response when you get to class. So read carefully and take note of some of his big and recurring ideas. I'm only going to ask you to write about something obvious, not one of the hidden details (this time, anyway!). 

2. I made a slight error on the syllabus, which one of our students was clever enough to catch. Since I only have one TR class this semester, I goofed on the schedule and assigned work during Spring Break! Obviously, I need to fix that, so here's the amended schedule starting in March:

T 19:    Spring Break R 21:    Spring Break
T 26:    Sousa, Love, Chapter 4, “Reasons” R 28:    Shakespeare, Othello, Act 1
APRIL T 2:      Shakespeare, Othello Acts 2-3 R 4:      Scissortail Creative Writing Festival [no class]
T 9:      Shakespeare, Othello, Acts 4-5 R 11:    Wells, Shakespeare, Chapters 6-8
T 16:    Shakespeare,…

Welcome to the Course

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Welcome to our official course blog for English 3213, Love (and Sex) in Shakespeare! This semester, we'll be reading a series of poems and plays to determine how Shakespeare performed the idea of love for his various audiences, and how posterity has modeled its own ideas of love--love idealized, love pursued, love gained, love lost--through his example. The class will also take time to discuss what love means for us today, and how we consciously create it in our (and Shakespeare's) image. My goal is that the course challenges the way we've been taught to view Shakespeare's characters and plots, and will help you see the Shakespearean influence in every Romantic comedy and Hallmark card. And maybe, even in your own relationships!

Be sure to get the books for class as soon as possible, particularly de Sousa's little volume, Love: A Very Short Introduction, since we'll start reading from it immediately (with questions to follow on Thursday). I look forward to spend…

Final Exam Information

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Final Exam for Shakespeare: Thursday, May 10th @ 11:30 
I’m going to take select passages from Bevis and van Es’ book and ask you to respond to them using two of the plays from class—so bring 2 books at least! You can use more plays if you like, but youmust demonstrate knowledge (through quotation) of at least two plays to respond to these ideas about comedy, character, conventions, time, and satire. You can also bring Bevis and van Es’ books with you if you want to explore the context of a passage or simply quote from them as well. But the gist of the exam will be several short essays using Shakespeare’s text as support. Remember, the exam is worth 15 pts. out of 100 pts. total for the class, so as long as you show awareness of the ideas we've been discussing all semester, and feel confident about at least two of the plays, you should do well. 
Good luck!

For Tuesday: The Tempest, Acts 3-4

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As you finish The Tempest, here are a few ideas to consider:

* Much of The Tempest reads like a play-within-a-play: how does Shakespeare achieve this quality? When do we feel we're watching the actors play roles inside their own, and when do we seem to be watching the "real" action?

* Caliban claims that "They all do hate him/As rootedly as I" (3.2). Is Caliban lying here? Is Prospero a much hated tyrant who the entire island wishes to dethrone? How might this compare with the reasons he was booted out of Milan many years ago?

* Though playing a somewhat comic role in a comic sub-plot, how does Shakespeare make Caliban surprisingly round in these acts? Why do you think he does so, since it slightly serves to unbalance the comedy of the plot?

* Why does Prospero threaten Ferdinand numerous times not to sleep with Miranda before their wedding night? Why would he assume Ferdinand would do so? (could he be setting him up??)

* What do you make of the elaborate play (or …

Short Paper #2: The First Review

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Such deadpan ironies can make comedy the defender of the finer feelings which it offends. Perhaps it even elicits feelings in the reader by affecting to disregard them…A dark comedy may be the best answer one can muster when faced by this messy state of affairs. Any single life should be taken seriously, but not too seriously” (Bevis 100).
Shakespeare is often taken too seriously, which is such a shame—he’s too funny (and insightful) for that! For this short paper, I want you to write a satirical review of one of the plays—either All’s Well That Ends Well or The Tempest—pretending that you’re the first critic to ever see the play. With that in mind, try to imagine how such a critic would be confused by this “comedy” and the “happy endings” or “solutions” it offers us. Throughout your review, try to be ironic—try to use the critic’s confusion, anger, frustration, or even delight—to help us understand the point of the play itself. In other words, don’t tell us what you like about the pl…