LIT 71 — Shakespeare’s Greatest Comedies
Together, we will read four of Shakespeare's greatest comedies: The Merry Wives of Windsor, a feminist portrait of married life; Much Ado About Nothing, a depiction of two of the greatest lovers in the literary canon; Measure for Measure, a dark comedy that critiques the laws, civil and religious, that attempt to control love and desire; and Twelfth Night, arguably Shakespeare’s greatest contribution to the genre. Class sessions will include a combination of lecture and class discussion. We will devote two weeks to each play, giving us time to discuss larger questions while also examining Shakespeare’s language in depth.
No prior experience with Shakespeare is required. This course includes access to stage and film productions of each play. Some productions will be provided by the instructor. Students will have the option to rent the other productions from Amazon or a similar online platform. More details will be provided in class.
Abigail Heald teaches courses on Shakespeare, early English literature, and film. She taught for three years in Stanford’s Introduction to the Humanities Program. Heald received a PhD in English from Princeton and is writing a book on the relationship between art and emotion in Shakespeare’s work.
Lecturer in Literature, UC Santa Cruz
Textbooks for this course:
(Required) Wiliam Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, (The Pelican Shakespeare) (ISBN 978-0143128595)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, (The Pelican Shakespeare) (ISBN 978-0143131731)
(Required) William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (The Pelican Shakespeare) (ISBN 978-0143130185)