Skip to main content

ENG395H - Shakespeare’s Masterpiece? Revisiting King Lear


Subject code


Course Number




S. Freedman

Course Long Title

Shakespeare’s Masterpiece? Revisiting King Lear


Reading King Lear today means exploring its histories of (mis)appropriations and cultural reception. In order to explain the play, critics and scholars have been drawn to major historical events in Jacobean England (e.g., the Gunpowder Plot of 1604 or the London plague of 1603), often incorporating these analyses into their critical approaches, such as new historicism, Holocaust literature, ecocriticism, and textual instability. This course considers King Lear both textually and culturally, asking: How does the aesthetic upholding of the play as a "masterpiece" inform, trouble, or extend its long reception history? How do past explanations impress themselves upon contemporary interpretations? Recommended background: ENG 213, 214, and 239.

Writing Credit


Departmental Course Attributes - Major/Minor Requirements

(English: Pre-1800)

Class Restriction

Exclude First Years