M104 | Reading King Lear: From Shakespeare's Verse, Prose, and Language to Meaning


3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

In Person at
BCC, Room H-402

9/19, 10/3, 10/17,
10/24, 10/31, 11/7

Six Sessions 

King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, but how does his special use of verse and prose change our experience, and also reveal the moods and emotions of his characters? Using a text with original punctuation, we will examine how Shakespeare teases the words and language of his verse so as to compress thought, yet flow smoothly as some of the best poetry ever written. We’ll peek into his toolbox, as it were, and try to discover how he leads us—often invisibly—into the most profound depths of life and life’s meaning. In advance of the first class, the instructor will provide each participant with a pdf of the text of King Lear that he has edited (with modernized spelling but original punctuation). This is the text that will be used in class.

Carl D. Atkins, MD has published two articles on Shakespeare’s plays: “Shifting Heads to Solve a Crux in Comedy of Errors” Notes & Queries 2021;68 (4):400-402 and “Spiders’ Strings and Ponderous Things: Solving a Crux in Measure for Measure.” Studies in Philology 2010;107 (3):360-365. He has edited Shakespeare’s Sonnets: With Three Hundred Years of Commentary (Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007) only one of four variorum editions of The Sonnets ever published. He has also published two articles on The Sonnets in the journal Studies in Philology and the newly released edition of The Sonnets, Shakespeare’s Sonnets Among His Private Friends (October 2021)

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