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International Summer School

Rethinking Shakespeare: Beyond the Bard

This module aims to explore the processes by which Shakespeare’s plays came into existence, how they achieved their unique status in English literature and culture, and how the image of the genius ‘Bard’ problematizes understandings of Shakespeare’s plays as part of Shakespeare’s own world and our own. Following global commemorative celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016, the module will include examining issues that surround memorializing the dead, both in Shakespeare’s own time and our own.

The module focuses its attention upon A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet and The Tempest. Through a combination of play-specific classes, performance workshops, and classes dedicated to the details of historical context students will examine:

• the contexts of the plays’ initial production and reception
• the implications of Shakespearean and modern performance practices in understanding Shakespeare’s plays
• myths that have become associated with Shakespeare , the origin of such myths and their influence over contemporary engagements with Shakespeare’s plays

Guided by experts from Exeter University’s English and Drama Departments, students will encounter the nuances and richness available within the field of Shakespeare Studies, which a static image of the isolated Bard simply does not allow.

The course includes going to see a play at the world famous Globe Theatre in London which will help you put performance theory into practice and visit the home of Shakespeare himself; Stratford Upon Avon!

Apply now

Applications for our 2024 are now closed. Please complete our Register your Interest form to get information on our 2025 programme, including dates and notification of our application window. 

Find out more about the Rethinking Shakespeare course from Dr Jo Esra, the module convenor for the course, as well as previous students on the programme.

Module at a Glance

Module Title Rethinking Shakespeare: Beyond the Bard
Module Code ISS3009
Module Convenor Dr Jo Esra
Credit Value 7.5 ECTS
Scheduled Teaching 24 x 2 Hour Sessions
Total Module Hours 150 Hours
Guided Independent Study

Pre-Reading Before Arrival
Preparatory readings for lectures and seminars
Researching, preparing and delivering a group presentation
Researching and completing two written assignments

Formative Assessment

Written Assignment on the importance of viewing Shakespeare ‘in context’ – 850 words – individual written feedback

Summative Assessment

Critical Commentary on an extract from one of the module texts – 1500 words – 60% of credit – written feedback

Group Presentation – 20 minutes – 40% of credit – verbal and written feedback

Sample Pre Reading

The Tempest – William Shakespeare

Sample Lecture Sessions

Supernatural Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Myth: 18th Century and Beyond

"The professors teach passionately and classes effortlessly involve perspectives that span different cultures and world views. The carefully planned day trips made me feel like I had seen all of England in less than a month. The most important lessons I took away from Exeter were those I learnt from the people I met. We quickly realized how vastly different but yet how similar we were. I fell in love with Shakespeare at Exeter. I made friends for life at Exeter. I would recommend the International Summer School to any student who desires a life changing summer."

Anukripa, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India