Shakespeare and Contemporaries

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Shakespeare and Contemporaries

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    English, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    "Shakespeare on Film" and "Genre and Literary Analysis"

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    After passing this course, you will: - be skilled at reading early modern literary texts; - be familiar with key aspects of the (cultural) history of early modern England; - be able to relate the literary text to aspects of the historical context; - be able to reflect on the ways this relation has been thought in literary theory.

    The overarching question we will be exploring in this course is "How does literature relate to its historical context"? The question asks after the relationships between art and power, between text and history, between aesthetics and ideology. In this course, we will be probing this question in the context of one of the most fascinating historical time frames - the early modern period. We will engage with the literary theory of 'new historicism' to approach this question.

    In the period we will be focusing on, roughly from the second half of the sixteenth century to the beginning of the 'long eighteenth century', England first encountered many of the bigger issues that the world is still grappling with today: globalization, colonization, capitalism, ecological crisis, gender trouble, urbanization, to name but a few. It was also a period of momentous religious change, civil wars, and the beheading of a monarch. We will examine how early modern literary texts relate to this historical context.

    Seminar. The seminars require your active participation; attendance in the course seminars is therefore compulsory. If you are absent at more than 3 seminars (20%), you cannot pass the course.

    The final grade for this course is based on Canvas assignments (50%) and a final exam (50%). You need to have a pass grade (5.5 or higher) for your final exam in order to pass the course.

    Basics of literary analysis and literary terminology.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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