Special Topics in Language and Literature - Shakespearre: Now & Then


Shakespeare’s astonishingly experimental romance The Winter’s Tale has sponsored a fascinating series of literary, philosophical and cinematic reflections. This seminar examines the afterlives of The Winter’s Tale as “the book of second chances”. We will examine together the winter’s tales of Jane Austen (Persuasion), George Eliot (Daniel Deronda), Eric Rohmer (Contes d’Hiver), Jill Paton Walsh (A Desert in Bohemia), Elizabeth Taylor (A Game of Hide and Seek), Almodovar’s Volver and Talk to He, as well as the stunning films of the Dardennes brothers (The Child, The Son). None of these works are adaptations of Shakespeare; rather they are meditations on the themes of reconciliation, romance, time, wonder, childhood and change, (re)-marriage, and the power and possibilities of art that his play sponsors or initiates. What narrative possibilities are engendered by The Winter’s Tale? How do such possibilities morph across the philosophical forms of novel and film? And what thoughts do such works sponsor for thinking about the relation between ethics and the arts? This seminar will grant us the opportunity for a long and loving look at Shakespeare's greatest play, and an ever deepening encounter with it in the work of a fascinating range of novelists and filmmakers.

Area requirements for majors to be determined by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English. One course.