nl en

Literature 6B: Shakespeare: An Introductory Course


Admission Requirements



This is a general introduction to the work of William Shakespeare. We will study the following 12 plays: The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, Measure for Measure, Julius Ceasar, The Tempest. We will also read the narrative poem Venus and Adonis. We will look at Shakespeare’s use of language, dramatic structures and genre conventions, while also reading his work in its original historical and cultural context. Finally, we will consider the history of Shakespeare scholarship.

Course Objectives

The student will learn to analyse Shakespeare’s plays by looking at their formal and genre characteristics, and by relating them to their original cultural-historical context. The students will also gain a basic understanding of the history of Shakespeare scholarship.


The timetable will be available from July 1st on the Internet.

Mode of Instruction

Two hour seminar per week.


Paper (40%), written test (60%).


This course is not supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Stephen Greenblatt et al. (eds.), The Norton Shakespeare (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997). No other editions allowed. Paperback may not be available.

  • Kiernan Ryan, Shakespeare, 3rd ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002). Paperback.


Students can register through uSis.

Register for ‘Contractonderwijs’ via:

Contact information

English Department, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103c. Phone: 071 527 2144, or mail: