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Shakespeare is usually taught in isolation from the other playwrights of the period, but this practice distorts our sense of his place within the wider context of playing in early modern England. This paper will examine the theatre of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period, placing Shakespeare's work alongside that of his contemporaries. This paper will examine the repertory both of Shakespeare's companies and of his rivals and will study the ways that Shakespeare participates in larger thematic, commercial and cultural trends in the early modern theatre.

A primary focus will be on the stagecraft of Shakespeare and his contemporaries: did they have a common theatrical vocabulary, and how can we reconstruct it? Did different companies have distinct working practices, and what approaches did they share? How did different playwrights shape similar material and sources?

Paper title Special Topic
Paper code ENGL474
Subject English
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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72 points from ENGL 311-368, EURO 302

Teaching staff

To be advised when next offered.

Teaching Arrangements
Seminar, lecture and discussion
  • Shakespeare, William. Complete Works, Arden (or any other reputable scholarly edition)
  • Six Renaissance Tragedies, ed. Colin Gibson. Available free from the Department; you may keep this copy
  • Fraser and Rabkin, The Drama of the English Renaissance, vols. 1 and 2; departmental copies will be made available to you for the semester. You must return these at the end of the semester. If you would like your own copy to keep, relatively inexpensive second-hand copies are available through and other online sites
  • Extra reading, including out-of-print plays (available on Blackboard)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • Gain knowledge of theatre history and how to critically evaluate historical sources
  • Be able to conduct original research. Be able to write about English at levels approaching professional standards
  • Be able to lead and participate in discussion at a high level

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system