Shakespeare and Games
English 210W: Major Authors
Callaway Center S101
Tuesday, Thursday 8:30-9:45
Instructor: Dori Coblentz
Office Hours: Thursdays 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Online, and by appointment
Woodruff library basement coffee shop
It is a familiar complaint that today’s youth are wasting their time playing games when they should be working. The refrain that equates play time to wasted time goes back even before the famous “Protestant work ethic” to Petrarch and the early Renaissance. In this class, we will chart changing ideas of games, sports, and plays in relation to the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. We will use popular early modern poetry and prose to evaluate the role of playing in comedies and tragedies such as The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and Doctor Faustus. We will also read more recent work by game theorists like Jane McGonigal. Students will complete a substantial amount of written work, including a game proposal, ten in-class writing exercises, an analysis paper, and a research paper. Since this class is part of the Domain of One’s Own project, students’ work will include a web component. Students will complete a small personal website project (no prior web design experience needed) with a link to a group website that showcases a Shakespeare-related game. Each student group will be responsible for designing, making, and presenting on the game.
LO1: Ability to make an original contribution to a discourse after researching existing contributions (game project and research paper)
LO2: Ability to recognize and analyze how texts and performances make meaning. (in-class essays, final research paper)
LO3: Ability to recognize and reproduce generic conventions (in-class essays, research paper, websites and game project)
LO4: Ability to identify and adapt to audience, presenting arguments persuasively and engagingly (research paper, game project, and presentation)
LO5: Ability to analyze how texts influence and are influenced by their historical context (Exams, research paper)
LO6: Familiarity with major literary movements and works of early modern drama, poetry, and prose (Exams, research paper)
- Participation and Attendance (10%)
- Personal Website and Individual Portion of Game Project: (10%)
- Group Portion of Game Project Including Group Presentation: (10%)
- In-Class Essays: (10%)
- Paired Presentation (5%)
- Midterm Exam (10%)
- Final Exam (15%)
- Midterm Paper: (10%)
- Final Research Paper: (20%)
The Comedy of Errors (Folger Shakespeare Library) ISBN: 9780743484886
The Merchant of Venice (Folger Shakespeare Library) ISBN: 9780743477567
As You Like It (Folger Shakespeare Library) ISBN: 9780743484862
Doctor Faustus (New Mermaids) ISBN: 9780713673760
Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library) ISBN: 9780743477116
Arden of Faversham (New Mermaids) ISBN: 9780713677652
Reading and Writing About Literature, 3rd edition. (Bedford/St. Martin’s) ISBN: 9781457606496
Participation and Attendance:
I will gauge your participation in large part on the basis of the three reading questions you will submit each class. The questions are due on my desk at the beginning of each class period. They are designed to help you think about the texts under discussion that day as well as let me know if you understand them. I will collect, read, and return your questions usually without comments except for a check mark at the bottom to indicate credit. You must attend class to receive credit for that day’s questions.
Note: being well prepared for class means doing all of the readings, thinking about them, and having something to say about them. Summarizing each reading’s main argument and highlighting a few questions that it raises in your notes is a good way to come up with worthwhile things to say. The ability to participate in class discussion is an acquired skill, not a personality trait.
Website and Individual Portion of Game Project
This class is part of the Domain of One’s Own project. As such, you will be expected to create a website (no prior web design experience needed) to serve as a professional portfolio. Students will be required to make a site with a home page, coursework page, and a third page determined by the student (i.e. blog page, hobby page, etc.) Under the “Coursework” page, students will post a description of the game they make during the semester and an abstract of their final research paper.
Students will research games related to Shakespeare. They will cite at least two games that already exist, and propose a new game. The format will be: “In contrast to the existing Shakespeare games, my game does/teaches/explores x.” You will read everyone else’s proposal and decide which proposal to back. The five most popular games will form the basis of the game working groups.
Group Portion of Game Project
Throughout the semester, you will work with a group to create a game based on the proposal you chose. Games may be of any format such as a party game like Charades, a board game like Settlers of Catan, a card game like Magic the Gathering, or a D&D module like “The Temple of Elemental Evil.” A successful game will engage closely with the reading material and teach the people who play the game something about Shakespeare. An unsuccessful game will be simplistic (“take a shot every time this play uses the word ‘love’”) or not engage with the play (i.e. a Shakespeare Monopoly game that just changes the names of all the properties to generic Renaissance-y sounding ones.)
Your finished game must be playable and reproducible. You will put the components of the game onto a group website so that people can print, download, or do whatever is necessary to play the game for themselves. At the end of the semester, you will present your project to the class. On the date of your presentation, the group website for the game must be completed.
You will complete seven in-class writing exercises over the course of the semester, totaling 10% of your final grade.
Most class sessions will start with a student-led presentation. We will be using the PechaKucha format in which you play 20 slides continuously through while you speak for 20 seconds about each slide. Students will present in pairs, with each partner speaking for 10 slides. Presentations are of three types: a look at a play’s performance history, a historical exploration of a pastime featured in one of the plays, or a review of a Shakespearean game.
In this 1500-2000 word (5-6 page) paper, you will pick an image or motif that recurs in one of the plays we study. Then, you will draw some broader conclusions about the author’s use of the trope. Examples include: the moon, time, the forest, a particular animal, a season, etc.
In this 2,500-3,000 word (8-9 page) paper, you will build on one of the insights you turned up either in one of the writing exercises or in the midterm paper. You will look to the existing discourse to see what other people have made of the trope, and you will find a way to make an original argument that builds on the research of others.
|A+ (98-100%)||B+ (88-89%)||C+ (78-79%)||D+ (69-70%)|
|A (93-97%)||B (83-87%)||C (73-77%)||D (63-68%)||F (50-59%)|
|A- (90-92%)||B- (80-82%)||C- (70-72%)||D- (60-62%)|
“A” papers have an original and compelling thesis that is clearly articulated and supported effectively with relevant evidence. The structure is logical and engaging, and the paper is free from grammatical and mechanical errors.
“B” papers meet the requirements of A papers, but in fall short in one or two respects
“C” papers have a thesis of average quality, an argument that is fully presented to the reader, but obscured by problems with grammar, mechanics, or organization.
“D” papers have a poor thesis or do not have a thesis at all, lack organization and clarity, and contain many stylistic, grammatical, or proofreading errors.
“F” papers have no thesis, poor organization, and many grammatical, stylistic, and proofreading errors.
Policies and Resources
Essays should be submitted by email to email@example.com before class on the days they are due. Please use .doc or .docx format and enable “Show Markup” under the “Review” ribbon. We will review and use MLA format for your essays. Essays should be in 12-point, double-spaced Times New Roman font.
Because this is a writing-intensive and discussion-oriented course, it is important for you to be at every class meeting with your readings completed and your discussion question written. If you cannot meet a deadline you must contact me before the class in which it is due to discuss the situation. For each class period late, a full letter grade will be lowered (i.e. by 10%) unless you have made prior arrangements with me.
Classroom and Online Environment
Arrive on time – excessive tardieness will affect your participation grade. You are welcome to use your laptop, but only use it for notes and other class-related things. Lower the screen during discussion. Exercise common courtesy such as paying attention when others are talking and not interrupting.
As a Domain of One’s Own class, we will be composing in multimodal environments throughout the course. I encourage you to bring a laptop to every class. Laptops are required on Writing Workshop and In-Class Essay days. If this requirement poses a hardship, please talk with me about possible accommodations.
Obviously, cheating will not be tolerated in this class. Cheating in any part of the course may lead to failing the course and suspension or dismissal from the university. If in doubt, please consult me.
If you are in need of a classroom accommodation, please make an appointment with me to discuss this as soon as possible. For more information, please visit http://www.ods.emory.edu/
Domain of One’s Own
This class is part of the Domain of One’s Own project. As such, major assignments or portions thereof will be published to the web and available to audiences beyond the class and university. More information and documentation can be found at docs.emorydomains.org
|Week 1||What is a Game?|
“Theater and Society”
Jane McGonigal: “Reality is Broken” from Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
|Week 2||Games of Self-Presentation|
|End of add/drop/swap period
Creative Commons: “About,” Licenses,” “Projects”
Jonathan Coulton: “Re: Your Brains” on Thing a Week Two
WordPress documentation: “Getting Started”
|Reading and Writing about Literature pages 1-20; 96-110
Personal Website Due
Shakespeare’s sonnets 1-3: “motives to procreation as the way to outlive time”
Signup for paired PechaKucha presentations opens at 7 a.m. on class forum
In-class essay 1
|Week 3||The Early Modern Stage|
|Folger introduction to As You Like It, pages XV-LV|
|Deadline for letter grade/Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory Changes
As You Like It, Acts I-II
Reading and Writing about Literature, Chapter 7: “Writing about Plays”
|Week 4||Courtly Pastimes|
|As You Like It Acts III-IV
In-class essay 2
Paired Presentation 1 (Gillian on performance history)
|As You Like It V
Paired Presentation 2 (Jasmine and Jessica on performance history)
|Week 5||Fun in Faversham|
|Arden of Faversham appendix pages 113-123
Paired Presentation 3 (Solah and Sam performance history)
|Arden of Faversham scenes II-IX
Paired Presentation 4 (Kimani and Natalia, pastime history)
In-class essay 3
|Arden of Faversham X-epilogue
Gina Bloom: “‘My Feet See Better Than My Eyes’: Spatial Mastery and the Game of Masculinity in Arden of Faversham’s Amphitheatre”
Paired Presentation 5 (Skyler and Akash game review)
|Reading and Writing about Literature, Chapters 3 and 4: “The Writing Process” and “Common Writing Assignments”
Paired Presentation 6 (jau4 and Andrew – game review)
|Week 7||Gambling and Gondolas|
|Merchant of Venice I-III
Paired Presentation 7 (Daniel and aelaure, performance history)
|Merchant of Venice IV-V
Paired Presentation 8 (Emmy and Selina – pastime history)
Paper 1 due
In-class essay 4
|Week 10||Pranks on the Pope and other Practical Jokes|
|Game proposal forum posts due
Doctor Faustus scenes 1-6
|Doctor Faustus scenes 7-12
Game Group work
Paired Presentation 9 (mavilla and Hiba performance history)
Votes for proposed games due
|Doctor Faustus 13-epilogue
Paired Presentation 10 (Yirong and Ricky, game review)
In-class essay 5
Reading and Writing about Literature, Chapter 8: “Writing a Literary Research Paper”
|Asynchronous Virtual Class – email group members or meet in person to develop your game|
|Week 12||Ephesian Entertainments|
|Comedy of Errors I-III
Paired Presentation 11 (ablower and Jose on performance history)
|Comedy of Errors IV-V
In-class essay 6
Presentation on pastime history, Linh
|Week 13||Vengeance in Verona|
|Romeo and Juliet I-III
Paired Presentation 12 (Devan and Mashal – pastime history)
|Game drafts due in class for playtesting|
|Romeo and Juliet IV-V
In-class essay 7
|Play games! Extra credit for game voted best.
Final Paper Due
|Final Exam 3:00-5:30|