Middlebury

FYSE 1491

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's 'Nasty' Sonnets
Of the sex triangle that structures William Shakespeare’s enigmatic series of sonnets, Stephen Booth has quipped: “Shakespeare was almost certainly homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual.” Of the 154 poems, most people know only one or two of the most innocent (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), but the series as a whole has scandalized prudish readers for centuries with its confessions of heterosexual lust, homoerotic love, envy, jealousy, misogyny, racism, abjection, pride, and some moping—all in some of the most exquisite verse ever composed in English. In this course we will examine, discuss, and write about the language of Shakespeare's sonnets and their literary historical context as well as the range of critical theories (and sometimes utterly wacky notions) about their mysterious contents, including those from the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and William Wordsworth. This is a feminist, queer-friendly, sex-positive course. 3 hrs. sem.
Subject:
First Year Seminar
Department:
First-Year Seminar Program
Division:
Interdisciplinary
Requirements Fulfilled:
CW LIT

Sections

Fall 2019

FYSE1491A-F19 Seminar (Billings)

Fall 2017

FYSE1491A-F17 Seminar (Billings)