Shakespeare: Poems and Early Plays
Spring 2022 - Dickey is old-fashioned. No slides, no lecture outline, he just starts talking and jumps from subject to subject within the plays. Lectures are informative but very laid back. He draws really great character diagrams on the chalkboard, will play Elizabethan-era music, and has really good ideas. Early plays is a great course, you learn to enjoy the Shakespearian English, everyone in your class is super smart, and it's a fun time — the group performances especially. The reading is a lot but I liked the quizzes and the final, I thought they were good tests of our knowledge, he's a fair grader as well. My number one recommendation to you is to ask questions during class. The man is a Shakespeare encyclopedia and it's all off the top of his dome. My most memorable moment in class was when I asked, "How did Shakespeare even come up with this genius plot conflict of a pound-of-flesh bond?" and he replied, "The answer is he didn't." That really blew my mind, and he proceeded on a really interesting tangent about the Italian short stories Shakespeare had read that influenced him and how he took some elements of their plots which make up many of the plot points in the Merchant of Venice. I would have loved more tangents like this from him, he's very clever and very witty. My consensus is Dickey is best for the comedies and Prof. Watson is best for the tragedies. Dickey loves the histories, but not many of the students care for them. I will give the disclaimer that people on Bruinwalk hail him as an extremely engaging lecturer, and that's not what I got in my experience, sometimes class could be boring, but point-blank he's an interesting guy and he's great to learn from. As I said, feel free to ask away about a text or really anything Shakespeare-related, he'll make it informative and a good part of the class. He teaches his special topics on Shakespeare adaptations, which I've heard is very good, I might take that with him as an elective. If you are interested, there's a great resource called, Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare and I think it's fantastic when it comes to the crazy amounts of Greek mythology referenced in Shakespeare's plays. (http://library.lol/main/5A63C986FAB1EC1CB8FBCDFA157CB3AD) — you can get it there if you're interested or borrow it from the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/asimovsguidetosh00asim/page/n7/mode/2uphttps://archive.org/details/asimovsguidetosh00asim/page/n7/mode/2up) for some nice analog yellow-colored pages instead of hideous white pdf ones. Finding a text with good footnotes is hard and expensive, I recommend using libgen.is to get the Cliffs full-text version of the play, which has in-line footnotes as opposed to the bottom of the page in cramped print. But some folks really like a paperback so go with what you're comfortable with.