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LIT 405-0 : Adaptation and Hamlet


Our culture privileges originality. We laud biologists who innovate with new pharmaceuticals; we praise books for their imagination; and we ask students to develop “original” arguments. Shakespeare’s culture had no such qualms. His plots were largely adapted from extant sources; he held no copyright on his written work; and he earned his living not from the composition of plays but from acting in and producing those plays in London. This course takes Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a case study in adaptation to interrogate ideas of intellectual property, artistic innovation, and originality. We will read Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy (one source for Shakespeare’s Hamlet), the play itself (in both the first and second quartos), and multiple rewritings of the play by contemporary authors. Texts may include Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, John Updike’s Gertrude and Claudius, Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine, David Wrobleski’s The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Ian McEwan’s Nutshell, and several film adaptations. (This course may count towards the British Literature, Film, Literature, and Visual Culture, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature and advanced graduate study certificate programs. This course may also count towards the Interdisciplinary Studies specialization in the master of arts in liberal studies and advanced graduate study certificate programs. It may also count as a literature course or elective in the creative writing program. NOTE: This course will be taught remotely on Zoom each week during the time designated.)

Winter 2024
Start/End DatesDay(s)TimeBuildingSection
01/03/24 - 03/16/24Tu
7 – 9:30 p.m. 50
InstructorCourse LocationStatusCAESAR Course ID
Evans, Kasey
Remote Campus
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