Summer 2020 - ENGL 311 D100

Early Shakespeare (4)

Class Number: 3916

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 12, 2020
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    Location: TBA

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 100 division English courses, and two 200 division English courses.



A study of the works of William Shakespeare performed before 1601. Students may take both ENGL 311 and 313 for credit towards the English major. Students with credit for ENGL 312 may not take this course for further credit without permission of the department.


Shakespeare is, today, strongly associated with print, but the plays were originally written to be performed and were only later sold as books. This course will actively compare Shakespeare as a script (an instruction manual for putting on a play) to Shakespeare as visual experience: a spectacle to be witnessed. Each play is paired with a self-referential adaptation—a film, television show, or in one case a comic book—that depicts not just the play but some part of the process of making a play. The adaptations have a variety of origins, from indie film, to Canadian cable TV, and even mainstream comic books. Week by week, we will investigate how they re-present specific problems and address certain questions about producing Shakespeare.

McKeller's Slings and Arrows gently mocks academic approaches to Romeo and Juliet. Taymor's Titus presents Titus Andronicus as a vicious game played by a cruel boy. Looking for Richard argues that Shakespeare belongs to the dramatists rather than the academics and tackles the problem of presenting this complex, historical play to a modern audience. Gaiman's comic-book adaptation of Midsummer Night's Dream looks behind the stage and places real faeries in the audience for Shakespeare's most famous faery story. Finally, Branaugh's Henry V transforms the play's chorus into a museum guide who leads the viewers into history. The goal in each case is to investigate the specific commentaries this adaptations make both on and in keeping with the original texts.


  • Participation 10%
  • Reading Journals 10%
  • Essay 1: Single-Text 25%
  • Research Paper Proposal 20%
  • Essay 2: Reserach Paper 35%


The course will consist of a single-text essay, a proposal for the research paper. The single-text essay is 1500 words. The proposal consists of an opening paragraph, outline of the proposed essay, and a bibliography (five sources). The research paper is 2000 words. The reading journals are a less formal response to the texts on the course, and the participation mark includes presence, discussion in class, office-hour visits, etc.



Henry V, Oxford Word Classics (ISBN 9780199536511)

Midsummer Night's Dream, Oxford Word Classics (ISBN 9780199535866)

Richard III, Oxford Word Classics (ISBN 9780199535880)

Romeo and Juliet, Oxford Word Classics (ISBN 9780199535897)

Titus Andronicus, Oxford Word Classics (ISBN 9780199536108)

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.