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LIT 36 — Shakespeare in Love

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 5
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 5
Units: 2
Tuition: $530
Instructor(s): Denise Gigante
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on May 29
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Apr 3—Jun 5
9 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 5
2 Units
Denise Gigante
Please Note: No class on May 29
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
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.

Sadie Dernham Patek Professor in the Humanities, Stanford

Denise Gigante has taught a wide range of poetry and English literature at Stanford since 2000. Her books include Taste: A Literary History, Life: Organic Form and Romanticism, The Keats Brothers: The Life of John and George, and two anthologies: The Great Age of the English Essay and Gusto: Essential Writings in Nineteenth-Century Gastronomy. She received a PhD from Princeton.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) William Shakespeare, The Sonnets (Signet Classic Shakespeare) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451527271 )
(Required) William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451526861 )
(Required) William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451528476 )
(Required) William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451526786)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost (Signet Classic Shakespeare) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451529503)
(Required)William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451526960)
(Required)William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (Folger Shakespeare Library) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0743482776)
(Required)William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451527134)
(Required)William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare, Signet Classic) Mass Market Paperback (ISBN 978-0451526793)