400 years after his death, English playwright William Shakespeare remains today as one of the gold standards of college educations around the world. An astounding poet, an innovator in genre, a profound investigator of human psychology, and a restless source of social and political interrogation, Shakespeare serves as an excellent benchmark to young high school or college students for Western art and intellectual thought. Whether individual students end up majoring in literature, engineering, education, or business, a basic knowledge of Shakespeare can improve faculties in problem solving, interpretation, articulation, and an overall understanding of the complexities and ambiguities of the human experience.
Within a week’s time, this summer course takes on two Shakespeare plays, a comedy and a tragedy, the madcap The Comedy of Errors and the supreme Hamlet, and uses these plays as a means to examine the multiple ways in which Shakespeare over the centuries has been, time and time again, admired as a masterful poet, thinker, storyteller, social critic, and cultural lodestar. In order to take on two Shakespeare plays in five days—a feat that shouldn’t be scoffed at—we will split each day into two parts, a morning session and an afternoon one, and read together and discuss the plays in relation to five different ways of reading Shakespeare’s dizzying intellectual and artistic achievements. To read Shakespeare with peers, in short, is to share the experience of intellectual and aesthetic wonderment.
**There will be NO formal outside or inside assignments in this class other than daily discussion participation and informal writing responses at the end of each day. This is an outreach course that is meant to introduce students to the discursive climate of the college classroom and the free exchange of ideas, and therefore is not meant to intimidate or slam students with extra work over the summer. That is to say, it is my intention as an instructor for this course to be an introductory guide and facilitator to the college experience (alongside Shakespeare) and the university’s aim to enrich a student’s education.
This class is also excited to bring students to a live performance of one of Shakespeare’s plays. On Thursday, June 15th, we will attend the Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s performance of The Comedy of Errors at the University of Memphis. Outreach will cover travel expenses for students to from the destination.
Jacob Agner is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the English department at the University of Mississippi, and he is in the midst of his dissertation on twentieth century American crime fiction and film that he calls “country noir.” He has published three essays on authors like Eudora Welty and Cormac McCarthy, and is currently working on an essay involving writers as diverse as William Faulkner, James Ross, and James M. Cain. In his time at UM, he has worked in a broad range of college classrooms—from American literature surveys to senior seminars in fiction and film. As a teaching assistant, he has taught at this point approximately 180 students in Shakespeare courses alone.
Upon successful completion of Outreach’s Shakespeare Week course, students should be able to do the following:
1. Daily Attendance and Informal Wrap-Up Responses
There is no grading assignment in this week-long course. This is an opportunity for young students to feel out the college classroom and formulate thoughts about two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays without major pressure or repercussions. The only writing prompt is, at the end of each day, we will conduct a wrap-up writing response to the day’s reading and discussion. These are meant only to let students synthesize what they’ve thought about throughout the day.
Since there are hardly any other assignments, participation will be crucial to the success of this course. That is to say, in a college literary seminar, discussion and participation are the main means of productivity and education. Without the discussion of engaged students, this course, simply put, will not be as enjoyable as it could be.
Residential students accepted to the program will be housed with Summer College for High School students in the Residential College South. Adult staff, as well as selected student counselors who serve as mentors to the participants, will supervise them.
Commuters must be dropped off at the designated spot each morning by 7:45 a.m. and picked up at the designated spot by 2:45 p.m. each afternoon. *Commuters will eat lunch on campus each day, and lunch is included in the total cost.
*Subject to change depending on program activities.
Due to their age, Creative Writing Camp students are not allowed access to the Student Health Center on campus. Students requiring non-emergency medical care between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. will be transported to an urgent care facility with parent’s approval. There is no after-hours medical clinic in Oxford, so students requiring medical care after 7 p.m. and before 9 a.m. are transported to the emergency room at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi with parent’s approval.
Due to their age, Shakespeare Week students are not allowed access to the Student Health Center on campus. Students requiring non-emergency medical care between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. will be transported to an urgent care facility with parent’s approval. There is not an after hours medical clinic in Oxford, so students requiring medical care after 7 p.m. and before 9 a.m. are transported to the emergency room at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi with parent’s approval.
Online Registration Step-By-Step
We value the safety and well-being of all our participating students. In case emergency medical attention is required, ALL Pre-College Program camps require parents to submit medical forms on behalf of the student. Please DO NOT forget to return this form to the Pre-College Programs office as this will hold up the registration process for your student. If you have already submitted the medical form to the Office of Pre-College Programs for a camp this summer, you will not have to submit it again.
Registrations may be cancelled up to two weeks prior to the selected week for an 80% refund. Refunds are not available if cancellation occurs less than two weeks prior to the selected week.
For additional information, please contact:
Outreach and Continuing Education
Office of Pre-College Programs
The University of Mississippi
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-1848
E.F. Yerby Conference Center, Room 2
Grove Loop at University Avenue