How to Read and Understand Shakespeare

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must for Anyone Interested in Shakespeare I've taken several course on Shakespeares both in school and on the GC website. This is by far the best course. Unlike other course on Shakespeare, it delves into the techniques the Bard used to create meaning—techniques that can be applied to any Shakespeare play to help a viewer better understand a Shakespeare play. Put simply, the course is rich with insights on both the technical aspects of the plays and their themes and worth the investment. Dr. Connor's delivery, meanwhile, is lively, engaging, and interesting. It keeps the viewer involved and interested through all 24 lectures.
Date published: 2020-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Now I understand Shakespeare! I have to admit, I hated to read in high school and hated to read Shakespeare. We only studied Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet plays. And those I remember only slightly. I was wondering if "How to Read and Understand Shakespeare" would be worthwhile to purchase. It certainly was! Professor Conner was a perfect lecturer. He mentioned that he acted, and it shows. He is very animate and his Shakespeare quotes flow off his tongue as though he wrote the plays' lyrics. If he was using a teleprompter, it sure doesn't show in his discussions. He presents as though you are the only one to which he is speaking. This course is not one that should be taken just to get a summary of each Shakespeare play. It is more than that. Professor Conner details the devices that Shakespear uses in his plays. These devices are common to all his plays or are specific to his tragedy, comedy, history or romantic play styles. He does use the essence of the plays to demonstrate these devices. There are about 40 of these devices that Shakespeare uses in his plays. For example, the "Fair is Foul" device is used in many of Shakespeare's plays. I don't want to list all of his devices, because that would take the pleasure out of listening to the lectures. When I say, "listen" I mean that you could watch or listen (to the audio version) to this course and get most of the ideas. This is the first course, out of 55, which I have taken, that I can say this. Usually, it is better to watch the video version of the Great Courses. However, I think watching and listening to Professor Conner is at least 50 percent of the value of this course. Professor Conner's take on the meaning of Shakespeare's plays and the words Shakespeare used, has given me a new perspective on the three plays of which I was familiar. For example, "To be or not to be..." is expressed by Hamlet because of a religious motif Shakespeare was using. I had not heard that explanation, before. It makes sense, after listening to Professor Conner's synopsis. He, also, details what makes a tragedy different from a comedy and why some plays are part tragedy and part comedy, or neither! Professor Conner does not discuss all Shakespeare's plays, only those that he considers are representations of the ideas of Shakespeare. I hope Professor Conner would consider a second course to discuss the remaining Shakespear plays, that he didn't cover in this course. I could go on, but, if someone is interested in Shakespeare, at all, I would highly recommend this course. It was a joy to watch and learn about Shakespeare and his plays.
Date published: 2020-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Covers the idea of the course perfectly The professor is fantastic. He explains Shakespeare and his plays at a level that is so easily understood & relatable. He has inspired me to read & view the plays he discussed (even at this senior stage of my life).
Date published: 2020-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Marvellous journey through Shakespeare The professor is extraordinarily well versed in all things Shakespeare and he makes the plays come alive . Most importantly he provided a toolkit of super tools to analyze and understand Shakespeare plays .
Date published: 2020-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent throughout Dr. Conner is articulate, easy to listen to, and exceedingly knowledgeable. I recommend his course on Shakespeare without reservation. Superb!
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great course! I really learned a lot about how to appreciate Shakespeare both in the written word and in theaters. I love the way the Professor used "tools" to make the Bard's plays more accessible.
Date published: 2020-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shakespeare comes alive and becomes understandable Professor Connor does an excellent job of translating Shakespeare and pointing out various devises used in the plays. I am a homeschool mom and I have three high school students taking this class. They all stated that this class is not only interesting and entertaining, but also very helpful in understanding Shakespeare's works.
Date published: 2020-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to read and understand Shakespeare This is one of the best courses I've taken from the Great Courses. I don't know much about Shakespearean plays. I find Professor Conner's lectures engaging and illuminating. He is an excellent professor with deep knowledge about the subject, and presented all the material in scholarly manner, but never a dull moment. His voice and lecture style is excellent as well. I usually listen to only one lecture at a time and can't wait for the next one to begin. He also inspires the students to want to learn more on their own and give us the space for our own interpretation with his guidance. I love this course so much, that after I finished it, I was so excited to find a new course taught by Dr. Conner on Irish identity. I'm only at the beginning of this new course, but already enjoying it immensely. I also learned that Professor Conner will be the new incoming president at Skidmore College. I want to wish him all the Best as he embarks on this new journey. We need educators like him to teach and inspire the younger generations.
Date published: 2020-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Introduction and Overview of Shakespeare I consider myself at best an intermediate student in Shakespeare. I've read most of the popular writing; Bloom, Greenblatt, the Arden Intro and more. Seen a half dozen plays live, and lots of films. Welles' Chimes at Midnight will always hold a special place in my heart for its perfect visualization of the single most heart breaking scene (to me) in the whole canon. And I learned a lot in this series of lectures. Particularly in the connections between plays and the concepts Shakespeare explores again and again in different variations. This may sound silly, but for me this series was very thought provoking and stimulated some good discussions between my Labradors and myself. I will say the use of the word Tools to describe his approaches to the plays is a little off-putting. If I use my 'Block to Love' Tool, I may also need my 'Altar' or Tomb' Tool. But the analysis is valid, in my view. With that single caveat, I would highly recommend this course to anyone, regardless of their level of experience with Shakespeare.
Date published: 2020-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to Read And Undestand Shakespeare What Professor Conner know and teaches about Shakespeare's plays from a historical and humane context is incredible! I would recommend it to the novice on Shakespeare as well as to the expert. One of the better courses I've ever taken. Thank you Professor Conner!
Date published: 2019-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting and great explanations I have read all of Shakespeare and enjoyed it, but after taking these classes I understand so much that I missed before!
Date published: 2019-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure Intoxicating Inspiration Any person or any age with a longing to break through the language barrier of the great works of the Master Bard, William Shakespeare, will be totally delighted with the outstanding presentation by Professor Marc Conner - Shakespeare lover and lecturer extraordinaire. This is the second time I've bought Professor Conner's course on How to Read and Understand Shakespeare. because I wanted to spread the delight of this lecture and gave my first set to a friend, and now I want to go through the course again on my own. I can not recommend this course highly enough. It inspires one to think deeper and broader about Shakespeare's stunningly creative use of words and language devices. His metaphors and smilies leap out at us and grab us by their brilliance, with Professor Connor as our guide. One need not rush through the lectures. Go slowly, replay and re-listen, because the lectures are never dull, but always informing. Professor Connor has a hugely pleasing voice - a wonderful tone and delivery, and never irritates with those common speech disfluencies that many professors have that are so distracting from the content. Pure pleasure. Treat yourself to the best - take this amazingly fearless journey into the world of Shakespeare with an awesome world-class guide.
Date published: 2019-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor provides helpful strategies like entering the forest, warring parents, and e-books story lines to help students understand Shakespeare.
Date published: 2019-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Increase Your Love Of Shakespeare (More) I have listened to this 3 times already, and loaned it to my Renaissance-man friends. The professor is enthusiastic, clear, inviting, positive, and really knows his topic but makes it very accessible to us.
Date published: 2018-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding review and analysis Outstanding review and analysis of Shakespeare's 12 plays he covers.
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for Teachers "How to Read and Understand Shakespeare" has given me as a history teacher background that I didn't have and can incorporate to help out my fellow literature teachers providing not only historical context, but also historical accuracy and pointing out the historical inaccuracies.
Date published: 2018-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shakespeare Table Setting and Appetizer Professor Conner's lectures are enjoyable and insightful. The listening quality of his voice is great as is his enthusiasm for the subject. His performance of portions of the plays make one wish he was reading the full play to you rather than you reading it yourself. With the "tools" to better understand the structure and plot of the plays and the examples from many of the plays, you will want to revisit or discover Shakespeare. You will not be taught the meaning of many of the words/meanings that are not common to modern usage but knowing the direction the play and its characters are heading will make your journey easier.
Date published: 2018-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love to learn Making history come alive. The great courses are an amazing way to get history into my car!
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I was looking for something on line that could help me to know and understand more about Shakespeare and his work. This series of lectures is exactly what I was looking for. If you are completely ignorant as me about the subject, I strongly advise to follow each lesson related to a play while watching the play itself (I downlad them from the global theatre site but I assume there may be other good on line resources available). And it is also useful to have the text at hand.
Date published: 2017-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting and informative. Outstanding presentation. This course covers a lot of ground and it helped make some additional sense of recollections of previous performances I've attended and helped me appreciate the plays I've seen after viewing the lectures. I will refer to these lectures for a long time to come.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Marc Conner brings out your complete curiosity. I have been buying these courses for almost 20 years! Most of them are great. However, Marc Conner goes far beyond that high bar. I just finished his Irish History course and am now almost through his Shakespeare course...just fantastic. I would like to meet and talk with him someday.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gets to the heart of the plays I really enjoyed the series. The lectures really summarized the important themes well And gave me tools to apply to all the plays, even those not covered in detail.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I bought this course about a month ago. I like the lectures so well that I've listened to each one of the 24 twice. Dr. Connor has a very engaging style of presentation and I learned something in every lecture that I had not known before. I am not an expert on Shakespeare by any means, but I had previously read and studied in class 3 or 4 of the plays he focused on and found something fascinating in each lecture that was new to me. I initially thought his approach of using "tools" to understanding Shakespeare was a bit of a cliche, but actually found them useful. I also very much appreciated his talking about the different editions of Shakespeare's works and his pointing out the particular advantages and disadvantages of the editions he recommends. Taking this course led me to going back to Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest and reading them again in their entirety. The course truly enriched my appreciation of Shakespeare
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Analysis Excellent analysis and insights on 12 of Shakespeare’s plays; While the “tools” discussed for understanding Shakespeare didn’t help understand the language/text as much as they'd hope, they could help explain some of the plots or what Shakespeare was trying to achieve. Pluses: • Excellent literary analysis and insights on the following plays: 1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2. Romeo and Juliet 3. Twelfth Night 4. Richard II 5. Henry IV, Part I 6. Henry IV, Part 2 7. Henry V 8. Macbeth 9. Hamlet 10. The Merchant of Venice 11. Measure for Measure 12. The Tempest Minuses: • My one gripe is that the “tools” presented by the professor don’t seem to truly be tools to me. At least not what I was expecting going in. I thought they would've been focused on helping one understand the sometimes difficult text Shakespeare uses and would've involved translations of common words. Instead their helpfulness was more in explaining why Shakespeare did something specifically with one of his plots or what he was trying to achieve to help one appreciate the overall cohesiveness of his plays. If you often find yourself confused following Shakespeare plots then this course and the tools presented will truly help you appreciate the beauty and genius of Shakespeare by allowing you to see and understand the complexity of the plots. If you are looking for assistance on reading the plays such as meanings of words, text, and lines then this may not be the best course for you. But I could see anyone at any level taking alot from this course. I have read every one of his plays, have seen over 50 live performances, and read alot of critical analysis but I learned quite alot from this course and enjoyed the professor's style.
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! I've always loved Shakespeare, but quite often got lost in trying to follow the dialogue and plot. This professor clarifies things beautifully and in a very entertaining way.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Through the Instrument My Pate Made Way Whether you are a Shakespeare novice or a devoted fan, this fabulous course offers insights and approaches to increase your understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's craft and the stories and characters in the plays themselves. I have this course on audio. Professor Conner's presentations are outstanding: clear and straightforward, with easily understandable explanations and analysis, delivered with enthusiasm. His stated goal for this course is to make Shakespeare's plays more accessible (and less intimidating) to readers and viewers, and he succeeds. He does so through a detailed examination of a dozen plays, showing how Shakespeare repeatedly uses several "stock" plots, characters, settings, stagecraft, dramatic techniques, and themes, mixing and matching to build the basic frameworks and engines for his comedies, tragedies, histories, and romances. Professor Conner explains how each of these components works and how they fit together -- leading to a greater understanding of why things happen the way they do in Shakespeare's plays. Armed with this understanding of the components, we are then better able to appreciate how Shakespeare takes these basic pieces and customizes them, enhances them, gives them greater depth, beauty, subtlety, and power, transforming them from basic theater to, well, Shakespeare. Professor Conner refers ad nauseam to using "tools" as a roundabout way of identifying the standard components that Shakespeare employs in his plays -- like saying "our screwdriver helps us to take this apart" instead of saying "it is held together with a screw." I think that is a deliberate (if annoying) device to reinforce his message of active empowerment: _anyone_ can use this knowledge (Professor Conner's "tools") to look inside any of Shakespeare's plays and understand them without confusion or intimidation.
Date published: 2016-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from reading Shakespear the course is very interesting ,and very helpful in understanding the plays. I was not very pleased after I bought the course to see that the next week it was 50 dollars cheaper. I my thing twice before buying another course!
Date published: 2016-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent An excellent presentation. This is not the usual pedantic presentation I see too often. Very understandable and interesting.
Date published: 2016-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Finally I appreciate Shakespeare Professor Marc Connors’s tools are illuminating; his enthusiasm, infectious; his method, captivating. He has guided me from trying to read Shakespeare with opaque frustration to deep, personal enjoyment. I’ve gone from floundering without the least penetration, to underlined and margin noted appreciations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, Henry V, Macbeth, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest. He has given me the enthusiasm and tools to go on my own to appreciate King Lear and add Julius Caesar, Othello, and Anthony and Cleopatra to my literary bucket list. This guy doesn’t have any idea who I am, and yet he is one of the most respected teachers I have had in a life now spanning 60 years. Please, if you want to be able to read and obtain a personal appreciation of Shakespeare but have been discouraged in prior attempts, take this course.
Date published: 2016-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb Course! Hallmark of a great professor is his ability to deepen and expand my enjoyment and appreciation of an interesting subject--in this case the great literature of Shakespeare. Prof. Conner's insightful commentary on each of the plays he touches in this course should enrich your Shakespeare reading and playgoing. He focuses on a number of keys ("tools" he calls them) for gaining a richer understanding of the plays' structure, plots, staging and storylines. One example is the "block to love" (usually from a parent) that sets the stage for Midsummer Night's Dream or Romeo and Juliet. The comedy sees the loving pair together in the end and a happy order restored to the world. The tragedy sees this block unmoved and the lovers doomed (perhaps by fate?) to a sad and unhappy end. Prof. Conner illustrates these keys throughout the course; they will surely enhance my future enjoyment of the plays. I hope they do the same for you.
Date published: 2016-04-07
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How to Read and Understand Shakespeare
Course Trailer
Approaching Shakespeare-The Scene Begins
1: Approaching Shakespeare-The Scene Begins

Consider four points of entry for understanding what's happening in a Shakespeare play. Learn how to approach a single dramatic scene, focusing on Shakespeare's richly metaphorical use of language. Begin to grasp the playwright's use of stagecraft, and how his plays require your own active participation and powers of imagination.

32 min
Shakespeare's Theater and Stagecraft
2: Shakespeare's Theater and Stagecraft

Here, envision theatrical London as it existed in Shakespeare's time. First, consider Shakespeare's fundamental intent to "hold the mirror up to nature"-to imitate the living world. Then learn about the colorful milieu of Elizabethan theater; its conventions of physical space, scenery, and costumes; and how the playwright created theatrical "reality" through language.

30 min
A Midsummer Night's Dream-Comic Tools
3: A Midsummer Night's Dream-Comic Tools

In his comedic plays, Shakespeare drew on the classical Roman model of comedy. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, see how he expands the form, using the archetypal plot devices of "blocked love," its resolution at either the altar or the grave, and the escape from urban life to the magical world of the forest.

34 min
A Midsummer Night's Dream-Comic Structure
4: A Midsummer Night's Dream-Comic Structure

This lecture explores key principles for understanding and appreciating Shakespeare's comedies. Grasp the thematic elements of a shift from friendship to romantic love and of severe testing of the characters. See how the three-part structure of the comedies leads inevitably to reconciliation and regeneration.

30 min
Romeo and Juliet-Words, Words, Words
5: Romeo and Juliet-Words, Words, Words

Shakespeare's primary tool as a playwright is words themselves as dramatic expressions of character and meaning. In Romeo and Juliet, see how Shakespeare ingeniously uses language to distinguish class and personality, and how he uses the poetic form of the sonnet in creating a sublime language of love.

32 min
Romeo and Juliet-The Tools of Tragedy
6: Romeo and Juliet-The Tools of Tragedy

Continuing with Romeo and Juliet, observe how the famous balcony scene shifts the action and sense of the play toward a new kind of character-driven tragedy. In the play's unfolding, note the role of the tension between fate and free will, and the arc of development whereby Juliet becomes a great tragic figure.

31 min
Appearance versus Reality in Twelfth Night
7: Appearance versus Reality in Twelfth Night

As one of his outstanding "mature" comedies, Twelfth Night reveals themes and elements that are keys to all of Shakespeare's plays. Discover how the comedy revolves around crises of identity, the need to distinguish external appearance from internal reality, and a reversal of power roles

32 min
Twelfth Night-More Comic Tools
8: Twelfth Night-More Comic Tools

In Shakespeare's encompassing vision of Twelfth Night, observe how the young characters' movement toward self-knowledge and mutual love contrasts with plot elements of isolation and rejection. See how the remarkable heroine Viola, a figure of grace, acts as an agent of redemption for the entire world of the play.

31 min
Richard II-History and Kingship
9: Richard II-History and Kingship

In his history plays, Shakespeare addresses profound issues of politics, philosophy, and religion. In Richard II, engage with core thematic elements that drive the history plays: the question of the "divine right" of kingship, the larger meanings of historical events, and the conflict between brothers-an emblem for civil war

33 min
Politics as Theater in Henry IV, Part I
10: Politics as Theater in Henry IV, Part I

Here, the dynamic of appearance versus reality illuminates the making of a king. In the dual world of the Court and the Tavern, witness Shakespeare's use of theatrical role-playing to reveal Prince Hal and Falstaff to themselves, and grasp how Hal's journey to kingship takes on the nature of a calculated "performance."

30 min
Henry IV, Part 2-Contrast and Complexity
11: Henry IV, Part 2-Contrast and Complexity

As an interpretive tool, define Part 2's stark differences with the preceding play, noting its shifting depictions of courage and honor, and its characters' reversals of fortune. Follow Prince Hal's dramatic metamorphosis as he assumes the throne, disavowing the dissolute life he lived and embracing the course of justice and order.

30 min
The Drama of Ideas in Henry V
12: The Drama of Ideas in Henry V

In plumbing the riches of one of Shakespeare's greatest history plays, assess Henry's ambiguous relation to God as he manipulates faith and religion to his political ends. Grasp also how Henry employs the dynamics of theater, brilliantly "staging" each of his critical actions, and how he defeats the expectations of his French foes.

30 min
Macbeth-"Foul and Fair"
13: Macbeth-"Foul and Fair"

In Macbeth, Shakespeare reveals a world in which everything becomes its opposite. Study how reversals of reality and meaning dominate the play, seen vividly in the recurring dynamic of betrayal and the politically charged tension between appearance and reality. See how the playwright uses "comic relief" to ultimately heighten the horror you've witnessed

32 min
The Tragic Woman in Macbeth
14: The Tragic Woman in Macbeth

Shakespeare's great tragic women are central to the functioning of his tragedies. Here, encounter the powerful figure of Lady Macbeth and observe how her arc of development as a character inversely mirrors her husband's. Grasp how Macbeth poignantly sounds the depths of meaninglessness as he confronts the abyss of his own making.

29 min
Staging Hamlet
15: Staging Hamlet

Discover how Hamlet's opening scene reveals many of the crucial themes of the play. Then delve into the use of acting as a major dynamic of the story, as Hamlet ultimately takes action through the devices of theater, staging a play to determine the course of his own fate.

30 min
The Religious Drama of Hamlet
16: The Religious Drama of Hamlet

A deep look at the religious and theological issues at work in Hamlet unlocks the meanings in Shakespeare's most celebrated play. Study three important moments of religious contemplation within the play, and see how Hamlet's hesitance to avenge his father's murder is enmeshed with his foreboding sense of the afterlife.

31 min
The Women of Hamlet
17: The Women of Hamlet

Two crucial women illuminate the core themes and dynamics of Hamlet. Grasp how Gertrude, who speaks only in moderation, compellingly underlines the issues of loyalty and betrayal that drive the story, and how Ophelia, torn between irreconcilable male figures, becomes a sacrifice to the tragic forces of the play.

31 min
The Merchant of Venice-Comedy or Tragedy?
18: The Merchant of Venice-Comedy or Tragedy?

In this extraordinary play, Shakespeare explores the dark undercurrents of comedy to the fullest. Delve into the crisis of identity that each character faces, the theme of perilous risk, and the plot elements of loss and sacrifice that work against the play's comic structure.

29 min
The Arc of Character in The Merchant of Venice
19: The Arc of Character in The Merchant of Venice

Begin this lecture by tracing the historical background of Judaism in Elizabethan London, and how the portrayal of Shylock conforms to contemporary conventions of comic villains. Then see how Shakespeare breaks free of the stereotypes of his time, developing the character and the play as a penetrating meditation on justice and mercy.

31 min
Measure for Measure-Is This Comedy?
20: Measure for Measure-Is This Comedy?

With Measure for Measure, you enter the world of Shakespeare's "problem plays"-dramas that seem neither truly comic nor tragic. Here, observe how Shakespeare creates Vienna, the play's setting, as a place of hypocrisy, deception, and trickery, where nothing is what it seems and all the tenets of comedy are subverted.

30 min
Measure for Measure-Overcoming Tragedy
21: Measure for Measure-Overcoming Tragedy

This lecture uses the interpretive tools of both comedy and tragedy to mine the deeper meanings of Measure for Measure. Study how the playwright treats plot elements and character relationships that show the hallmarks of tragedy, finally overturning them in a surprising and transformative resolution of the story

31 min
Tools of Romance in The Tempest
22: Tools of Romance in The Tempest

At the end of his career, Shakespeare developed the form of drama known as his Late Romances. Here, learn how The Tempest exemplifies the three-part structure of the Romances, as the magical figure Prospero "stages" a series of trials for the shipwrecked characters, leading them through suffering to ultimate reconciliation.

32 min
The Tempest-Shakespeare's Farewell to Art
23: The Tempest-Shakespeare's Farewell to Art

Begin this lecture by investigating the spiritual significance of The Tempest's island setting as a testing ground for humanity's nobler nature. Then grasp how Shakespeare seems to speak directly to us through the figure of Prospero, whose final renunciation of his magical art mirrors Shakespeare's own farewell to playwriting.

30 min
The Tools for a Lifetime of Shakespeare
24: The Tools for a Lifetime of Shakespeare

The many interpretive tools you've studied leave you with the ability to engage meaningfully with any Shakespeare play. In concluding, look at three plays you have not yet studied in detail-Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar, and As You Like It-and see how the tools allow you to directly appreciate their structures, devices, and deeper meanings.

32 min
Marc C. Conner

Although the world urges us to read and love Shakespeare, his plays are difficult, demanding, strange-most of us struggle just to make sense of Shakespeare, let alone to see the many reasons why he is held in such high regard.


Princeton University


Skidmore College

About Marc C. Conner

Marc C. Conner is the President of Skidmore College. He earned degrees in English and Philosophy at the University of Washington (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude), followed by master’s and doctorate degrees in English at Princeton University. He was previously the Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English at Washington and Lee University and served as provost and chief academic officer from 2016 to 2020. He also taught at Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame.

Professor Conner is a specialist in modern literature, particularly Irish and American literature. He is a regular presenter at the major Irish studies gatherings, including the Lady Gregory–Yeats Autumn Gathering in Galway, the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, and the Trieste Joyce School. He serves as secretary/treasurer of the Ralph Ellison Society and presents regularly at the American Literature Association annual conference. At Washington and Lee University, he created a study abroad program in Ireland, and he has led adult education programs to Ireland and other Celtic lands. He also received the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award and the Anece F. McCloud Excellence in Diversity Award.

Professor Conner’s books include The Poetry of James Joyce ReconsideredThe New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First CenturyThe Selected Letters of Ralph EllisonScreening Modern Irish Drama and FictionScreening Contemporary Irish Drama and Fiction; and Global Ralph Ellison.

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