Sophomore Seminars

Shakespeare, Playing, Gender


We will study some of the best- and lesser-known plays of Shakespeare, considering them against the background of early modern Europe and the New World. As the title suggests, the seminar will focus on theatrical and other kinds of "playing," including what Hamlet, within a vexed political and theatrical context, termed the "purpose of playing," and on ambiguities of gender and "playing gender" in particular. The seminar will include detailed study of The Taming of the ShrewTwelfth NightAs You Like ItA Midsummer Night's DreamAntony and CleopatraOthello, and other plays.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Patricia Parker

Patricia Parker taught at the University of East Africa in Tanzania, at the University of Toronto, and at UC Berkeley before coming to Stanford in 1988. Her works include Shakespeare from the Margins; Shakespeare and the Question of Theory; Women, "Race," and Writing in the Early Modern Period; Literary Fat Ladies: Rhetoric, Gender, Property; and Inescapable Romance (on romance from Ariosto to Wallace Stevens). Currently, she is working on several new books on gender and race, and editing new editions of Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. She has delivered the Gauss Seminars at Princeton, Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and other prestigious lectures around the world; and has received Guggenheim, NEH, Mellon, and other major fellowships. She is also the general editor of a major new Shakespeare encyclopedia—The Stanford Global Shakespeare Encyclopedia, which will be published online by Stanford University Press.