English 244 - Winter, 2015


Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
CRN: 93573
Time: W 12:10-3:00
Location: 248 Voorhies
Breadth: Earlier British
Focus: Interdiscipline, Theory


    Topic: Adapting Shakespeare in Digital and Analog Media

    Traditionally, the field of Shakespeare adaptation studies has focused on theater, film and video. Increasingly, however, scholars have turned their attention to media forms that, less explicitly associated with performance, do not obviously suggest themselves to be good contenders for adaptations of drama: graphic novels, digital and analog games, songs, even tweets. This course begins with film and video adaptations and then moves outward to consider how Shakespeare’s plays are rendered in popular culture today on computer screens and mobile devices (via YouTube, Twitter, videogames), in alternative print media (comic books, choose-your-adventure novels, board games), and in non-theatrical performance forms (live action role play games [LARP] and popular music). We will also spend a week studying adaptations geared toward youth culture (including a LEGO Midsummer Night’s Dream collection of the plays) and another week exploring digital humanities projects that have been productive for Shakespeare scholarship and teaching.

    Among the questions we will consider: What is gained and lost for Shakespeare adaptation studies in the shift away from film, and to what extent has that shift really occurred? How does the process of adaptation affect the meaning of Shakespeare’s plays, and what is the relationship between an adaptation and its “source”? How can Shakespeare help us think anew about the process of adaptation and the range of media forms through which it is done? To what extent do aspects of Shakespeare’s original medium, theater, transpose to other media forms, and to what extent can our skills as close-readers of drama be adapted to analyzing Shakespeare in other media?

    In addition to being useful for students of early modern literature, the course will appeal to anyone interested cross-temporal literary adaptation, the digital humanities, and media studies (especially digital and game studies).


    Hamlet, Shakespeare
    A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare
    Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare
    Othello, Shakespeare
    Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
    Twelfth Night, Shakespeare
    To Be Or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure, Ryan North
    Kill Shakespeare, Anthony Del Col et al.
    Much Ado About Nothing, Josh Whedon
    and more...