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EN2L9/EN3E1 Othello - 15 CATS

Convenor: Professor Carol Chillington Rutter


Taught by one weekly 2 hour seminar.

This module offers students the opportunity to study one of Shakespeare's earliest Jacobean tragedies in depth, in its own time, and from a number of discursive points of view. It reads Othello through the topics the play throws up: race, gender, masculinity, 'civility' versus the 'wheeling stranger', female duty, gossip. Locating Othello in history, it begins by looking at Shakespeare's source in Giraldo Cinthio then at a map, to plot the play's geographic co-ordinates in locations burdened with significance for early modernity. Thereafter it thinks about early modern forms of narrative: the traveller's tale, the personal history, the cultural documentary, slander. In the final two weeks of the module we re-historicise Othello by looking at some examples of what has been made of Shakespeare's play since its first performance in 1604. Each week's topic is supported by a portfolio of secondary reading.

The module is taught by one 2-hour seminar per week.

It is assessed (for both intermediate and finalists) by submission of an early modern style 'commonplace book'; and by one 2500-word essay (intermediate year); one 3500-word essay (finalists); or a creative project (intermediates and finalists).