BA Seminar: Dark Shakespeare

B.A. Seminar: Dark Shakespeare

Prof. Elisabeth Bronfen, Tuesday 16.15 -18.00



(1.) 21.2. Introduction


Returning from War: Much Ado about Nothing

(2.) 28.2. Mapping the characters


(3.) 6.3. The violent side of peacetime marriage rituals


(4.) 13.3. Continuation of War with other means

--- Michel Foucault. "Society Must Be Defended." Excerpts from his Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-1976.

--- Elisabeth Bronfen. "The Day after Battle. Much Ado about Nothing and the Continuation of war with other Means"


(5.) 20.3. From Here to Eternity. Fred Zinneman (1953)


Continual War: Macbeth

(6.) 27.3. Mapping the characters


(7.) 3.4. The dark side of the soul culture's death drive


(8.) 10.4. Continual War

--- Sigmund Freud. Culture and its Discontent

--- Julia Kristeva. Powers of Horror. An Essay on Abjection


(9.) 17.4. Phenix City Story. Phil Karlson (1955)


Courtroom Battle: Merchant of Venice

(10.) 24.4. Mapping the characters


(11.) 8.5. The rotten kernal of the law and antisemitism


(12.) 15.5. Courtroom Battle

--- Walter Benjamin. "Zur Kritik der Gewalt".

--- Elisabeth Bronfen. "Redressing Grievances. Cross-Dressing Pleasure with the Law"

--- Janet Adelman. Blood Relations. Christian and Jew in The Merchant of Venice


(13.) 22.5. What I have learned - Final discussion



We will be using the Arden 3 edition of Much Ado about Nothing (ed. Claire McEachern) and Merchant of Venice (ed. John Drakakis) and the Arden 2 edition of Macbeth.


All students will be asked to write a brief thesis for all the sessions. You may be called on individually to present it or be asked to feed it into the general discussion. This is meant as an exercise for you to prepare each class session efficiently in advance. All Students will, furthermore, be asked to do a written protocol of one of the sessions. 6 KP B.A. students will be asked in addition to write a paper on issues raised in the seminar. Ideally you would use the class sessions to develop ideas you might want to write on. The fourth session is meant for you to practice writing thesis statements.


Additional Reading:

The Norton Shakespeare edited by Stephen Greenblatt.

Zeno Ackermann, Sabine Schülting (eds). Shylock nach dem Holocaust. Zur Geschichte einer Deutschen Erinnerungsfigur. De Gruyter 2011.

Marc Shell. Money, Language, and Thought. Johns Hopkins University Press 1982.