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English 323 Summer Quarter ’06
Assignments and Updates

(Read Carefully-Assignments are posted beginning with the most current)

Assignments for July 13, 18, and 20: (Posted July 12 and E-mailed to class.)

Great to see so many of you last night at the play--and great to talk to some of you for a while afterwards. I really look forward to talking with you this coming Tuesday about what we saw, what choices they made in developing the production, and why they made the choices they did.

The main purpose of this message, however, is to clarify your assignment for July 13, and to explain both what I mean by an “electronic” paper, and how you will submit it.

First, as I've explained earlier, there is no physical class tomorrow, Thursday, July 13, because I myself am not in Seattle on Thursday—I’m at a conference in (of all places) Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Because I was going to be away, I had planned to use Thursday as the midterm day—you could simply submit your midterm essay by email.

But as I subsequently explained in my email of the July 7th, I found myself having to change the original plan. For between the holiday class we missed on July 4 and the class we missed owing to the play on July 11, I didn't think it would be fair to ask you to take a midterm. Things have been just a little too sketchy.

So I modified the “e-midterm” to an “e-response paper,” to be submitted tomorrow by email. I will read these while I'm in Tennessee. And the paper I would like you to write is simply a reflection on your reading of Shakespeare to this point this quarter. I ask you to do this because it will help me a good deal as we come out of these hectic past two weeks to have a clearer idea of what you are making of your experience as Shakespeare readers to this point.

Now. A few of you are old hands at Shakespeare-reading, and in your essay you can write about what you are seeing in Shakespeare, or not seeing, as you read him now.

But for those of you who are still relative newcomers to college-level Shakespeare reading, I'd like you to write about the difficulties you have been finding, the resistances you feel, the needs you see yourself having as you negotiate his pages. We've read two big plays, and have done so at a faster pace than I generally like in a class like this. So tell me the story of your reading and thinking to this point. Tell me what is hard or not hard, what has surprised you, what has disappointed you.

Be honest, be full. I want to be able to read this set of papers, think about your experience, and begin the second side of the course better informed both about where you are as readers and where as a group we need to go. As with all response papers, the criterion is “Engaged Critical Intelligence.”

As for submitting the e-paper, simply embed it in an email, and send it to me at by midnight on the 13th. I say “embed” because I would much rather you embed them than attach them. (Attachments require downloading that can be difficult when I’m at a remote site, and believe me, Chattanooga is going to be remote.)

How to embed your paper? Simple. First write your paper as you normally would—ending up with a draft in your word-processing program. Then, with the file open, type the command for “select all” (In Word that is control + a). (That will highlight all of your text.) Then type the command for copy (control + c). Finally, put your cursor on your email page and type the command for paste (control + v). ) (If this doesn't work, send me an email explaining what seems not to be working!)

Assignments for the week of the 18th and 20th:

I’ll see you on Tuesday the 18th; that class will have two foci: we will both debrief about the performance of Richard III we saw on the 11th, and we’ll look ahead to our next play, the first part of Henry IV.

The writing assignment for Tuesday the 18th:

If you attended R3-either with the class or on your own, write about what you noticed about how the Intiman Theatre staged their production of the play. In Reading and Writing English 323 on p. 34 there is a checklist of things to look for in a production. Use that to prime the pump, as it were, and then list as many choices you noticed as you can in two pages. What did they do at particular moments with lights, or movement, or costumes or sets?

(As one example, I noticed that almost every time Richard gave a soliloquy, he came forward to the little platform in front of the stage, and the house lights came up a bit—as if to make a little community between us in the audience and Richard in the play. For me the effect was to heighten both the comedy--Richard looked right at us, sometimes mocked someone in the audience even!--and to add to that sense of complicity between Richard and audience which is so strong and so creepy in the play.)

And for those of you who didn't go to the production, your task is to read on ahead into Act 1 of the first part of Henry 4. Having read the act, think about what you notice in Hal's soliloquy at the end of scene 2. Compare it to Richard's speech opening Richard III. As reflected in their talk, how are these two characters like? How do they differ? Use the details you notice about Shakespeare's choices in writing these lines to explain what you've seen. What metaphors does Prince Hal use? Which are like Richard’s? Which seem most important to watch as the play develops from here? Why?

Last thing: Assignment for the 20th (I know some of you need to know this well in advance, so I'm going to include it here even though it may seem a long way off):

The class will have looked at Hal's speech from 1.2 on Tuesday, and the task for Thursday will be to extend the implications of that speech to the whole of the first act, and especially to scene 3. In your response papers I'll ask you to focus your reading through the idea of "truth" in that scene. Pick (again!) ten lines from 1.3 which seem to you particularly interesting as a way to thinking about "truth." What exactly about those lines interests you, and what do they do as a way of developing what turns out to be a play-long conversation about the "true"?

We'll then read the rest of the play for the following Tuesday.




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