022) Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: The Invention of Romantic Love
 

Love-at-First Sight; Young Love-First Love; Love-to-Die-for; Enemies-Turned-Lovers; Lovers-Against-Parents, Lovers-Against-Society: Romeo and Juliet embody what would become the dominant tropes of romantic love for the next four centuries.  In this course, we explore how Shakespeare’s iconic love story—with its generational conflict; fractious and vengeful factionalism; and unyielding societal strictures—both shape and challenge modern concepts of romantic love. Each hour-long session focuses on an act (or part thereof), with excerpts of films and video-recorded stage performances, including Franco Zeffirelli’s film (1969), and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production at Stratford-upon-Avon (2018). Following each class (gratis to course registrants), there’s an optional half-hour session, in which participants may perform (or just listen to) a dramatic reading of the part discussed in class. The instructor will host (optional) class trips to local Shakespeare productions, and to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.