LIT 380: Shakespeare in Film

Syllabus and Course Policies


Course Meetings: Tuesday and Thursday, 7:50-9:05p, E1 034
Film Lab: Select Fridays, time TBA
Office Hours: Tuesday, 3:00-5:30p
aroback [at] hawk [dot] iit [dot] edu



The Norton Shakespeare. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. Vols. 1 & 2. New York: Norton. ISBN’s 9780393931440, 9780393929911, respectively (NS)

Crowl, S. (2008). Shakespeare and Film: A Norton Guide. New York: Norton. ISBN 9780393927658 (S&F)

Corrigan, T. (2012). A Short Guide to Writing About Film. Boston: Pearson. ISBN 9780205236398 (ASG)


McDonald, R. (2001). The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare: An Introduction with Documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. ISBN 0312248806 (BC)

A note on the readings

The readings in this class are mandatory, and you should consider them your homework. If you choose not to read or fall behind in your readings, it will become apparent through your other work in the course. Utilize your time management skills to keep up with the reading, as falling behind will hinder your performance in this course.

Shakespeare requires a great deal more time to read than modern prose as you must read glosses of unfamiliar words and explanatory footnotes. You will also need to reread passages a few times before they become clear to you, so plan your time accordingly.

Also note that you are required to read the introductions to each play in the NS. If you choose to use other editions, make friends with someone who owns the NS so you can read the introductions.



A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012), Dir. Gary Griffin, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, date TBD


  • Students should have an understanding of the context in which Shakespeare’s plays were performed for a period (Elizabethan) audience.
  • Students should understand the vocabulary and terminology associated with film/stage/print drama and should be able to converse intelligently about all three.
  • Students should be able to articulate the differences between productions of Shakespeare’s works and be able to perform detailed written analysis of those productions.
  • In addition to understanding the historical context of a work, students will be able to research and apply primary/secondary sources to construct an insightful analysis of a text.
  • Students should demonstrate knowledge of the issues and methods entailed in providing and evaluating evidence or intellectual justification of claims.

Watching Films

All required films are on reserve at Galvin Library. Simply go to the front desk with the call number of the film (next to films on the above list) and you can check the film out to view in the library. The library has film viewing stations with headphones, but you can also bring your laptop and your own headphones. You can also reserve a group study room to watch films in groups (have the person with the best computer bring a laptop, or check one out at the library).

Also, all of the films we are watching in class are available through Netflix if you want to request them and view them at home (make sure to leave enough time to request the DVD, and also keep in mind that there are limited copies so if everyone in the course requests a film, it will not be available).

In any event, don’t spend an excess of money buying a DVD copy of a film (some are in excess of $30) when you can watch the film in our film lab, in the library, or on Netflix. Likewise, do not download films from P2P file sharing sites, as that can result in serious consequences such as criminal charges and university disciplinary action if you use campus computing resources; besides, there are plenty of ways to view the films legally.

What is film lab?

Film lab is a place where you can view films with your fellow classmates. Since we are averaging only 2.5 hours per week in class, there is not enough time to view all of the films on the above list in class. Additionally, our 75 min. class period does not allow us to view films in their entirety. I’ll announce times and locations after we poll our collective interest and availability.

Your attendance at the film lab is optional, but recommended. You are responsible for watching all of the required films by the deadline on the syllabus; consider them required reading as I will ask you questions about them on the exams.

Attendance Policy

You attendance is requisite to your success in this course. You are allowed to miss two class meetings. After that, I will lower your grade.

I recommend that you make friends with someone in the class so that you can borrow notes in the event of absence (I will be happy to meet with you during office hours, but I won’t send you notes on readings or class discussions).

If you have a serious illness or other situation that requires a prolonged absence, contact your academic advisor and me as soon as possible in order to ensure that you will be able to pass this course. I will not excuse prolonged absences without communication on your part.

Excused absences are as defined by the university: illness or emergency. I will allow absences for conferences and professional development, but not for work, extra-curricular activities, or social events.

Required Technology

You will need a non-IE browser for the course (Firefox, Chrome, etc.). This page is our course website, not Blackboard. You’ll also need to know how to post to a WordPress blog. We’ll cover that in class.


You are expected to adhere to all IIT rules regarding academic honesty and conduct. Please familiarize yourself with the Student Handbook policies. Plagiarism is the appropriation of ideas without appropriate attribution of those ideas to the original author. Reordering words or sentences but conveying the same ideas as another author and representing those ideas as your own still constitutes plagiarism. If I detect any plagiarized content in your paper, you will automatically fail the assignment and, depending on the severity of the infraction, the course. Additional penalties may be imposed, such as academic sanctions and, in some cases, expulsion. If you are concerned that your work might constitute a breach of academic integrity, contact me prior to turning in your assignment and I will advise you. I will report plagiarism to the appropriate authorities in every instance and issue failing grades as necessary to prevent academic dishonesty.

The Writing Center (SH 232-233)

The Writing Center is a tutoring service that helps students develop writing skills critical to success in academic and professional pursuits. I strongly encourage any student to visit the Writing Center if you are having difficulty with any part of the writing process or if you simply want some feedback on your writing from another writer. Since you will be writing a great deal in this class (and, presumably, your entire life), it is to your benefit to take advantage of this free service to help you become a better writer.

Accommodation for students with documented disabilities

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must obtain a letter of accommodation from the Center for Disability Resources. The Center for Disability Resources (CDR) is located in Life Sciences Room 218, telephone 312 567.5744 or