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Literature 6B: Shakespeare: An Introductory Course


Admission requirements

Successful completion of Literature 1A, 1B, 2, 3 and 4 or equivalent.


This is a general introduction to the work of William Shakespeare. We will study the following 12 plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest. 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

Concise description of the course objectives formulated in terms of knowledge, insight and skills students will have acquired at the end of the course. The relationship between these objectives and achievement levels for the programme should be evident.


The timetable will be available by June 1st at the website.

Mode of instruction

Two-hour seminar per week.

Assessment method

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


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • William Shakespeare, Complete Works (eds. Ann Thompson, David Scott Kastan and Richard Proudfoot) (Revised edition: published September 2011) (Arden) No other additions allowed.

  • Russ MacDonald (ed.), Shakespeare: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, 1945-2000 (London: Wiley-Blackwell). Paperback.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange studentens cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Studentcounsellor Bachelor: Ms. S.H.J. Bollen, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103B.
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms. K. van der Zeeuw-Filemon, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


Students must read A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the first seminar.