Course Theme: Love and Marriage
With a likely focus on one long poem, three or four plays, and a film adaptation, this class will examine love and marriage in the world of William Shakespeare. Through discussions of gendered identity and role reversals, seduction, crossdressing, marriage, adultery, sexual assault, and adolescent desire, the class should gain a greater understanding of early modern love in several of its conformist, quirky, and rebellious iterations. To give a more complete sense of queer desire and homosocial bonds, Christopher Marlowe’s play Edward II will be included on the syllabus as one of the dramatic works. These works are lusty and violent; they are comedic, tragic, and (vaguely) historical. Taken together, the texts reveal just how richly complicated love and marriage could be for the early modern subject. While some concordances and connections will be made to current identity politics, class discussions will often focus on the identity politics of the early modern world.