Heather: “It's just like Hamlet said, "To thine own self,
Cher: “Ah, no, uh, Hamlet didn't say that.”
Heather: “I think that I remember Hamlet accurately.”
Cher: “Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn't say that. That Polonius guy did.”
Amy Heckerling, Clueless
Cher Horowitz's Gibson quotation attests to the way many people
encounter Shakespeare’s tragedy: via film. In English 200, not only
will we examine cinematic and novelistic interpretations, revisions,
and expansions of Hamlet, but we will also analyze the
play itself. By doing so, we will develop strategies for reading
and writing about fictional texts. Throughout the term, we
will focus on several approaches to literature and film: close reading,,
structural and thematic analysis, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory.
During the first week, we will develop our own interpretations of
Hamlet before moving to other “readings ”of
the play, including Aki Kaurismäki's 1987 film Hamlet Goes
Business, Laurence Olivier's 1948 film Hamlet, and
John Updike's novel, Gertrude and Claudius. As we
explore the ways other artists have interpreted, recreated, and
expanded upon the original text, we will reconsider and revise our
own understanding of the play.
Students in the course work toward several goals: learning how
to closely analyze the characters, language, structure and themes
of fictional texts, using theoretical concepts to interpret literature
and developing as critical thinkers and writers who can formulate
substantive arguments and explore those arguments with evidence.
Course activities promote active learning, with most class sessions
incorporating a mix of mini-lectures, discussion, and group work.
The course design--which includes frequent non-graded and graded
writing--reflects the importance of writing as a means of learning.
Students will write to think through particular questions or passages
as well as to articulate what they already know. My role is to provide
the tools and resources you will need to advance your own thinking
and writing. I will pose questions, design activities to help
you think through these questions, and respond to your ideas.
Your role is to do the hard work—the critical reading, discussion,
and writing. You will analyze texts, generate ideas via writing
as well as electronic and face-to-face discussions, develop presentations
with your peers, construct written arguments, and use feedback to
revise those arguments.
English 200 is computer-integrated, with students moving between a wired seminar room and a computer lab during most class meetings. The lab setting allows students to view and offer feedback on their peers' work, collaborate on group activities, and conduct online research. However, technical savvy is not a course prerequisite; students will receive instruction in all technical tools used in the classroom.
| Page Last Updated 7/21/10
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