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Shakespeare and Imagination

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor Helen Hackett (University College London) delves into the Elizabethan understanding of imagination and its effect on Shakespeare's plays. We begin with an overview of Elizabethan understandings of what imagination was. In the second module, we look at how Shakespeare plays with imagination and the concept of the playhouse as an imagination machine in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In the third, we look at the use of the chorus to demand the audience 'imagine' in Henry V. Finally, in the fourth, we look at how the portrayal of Hamlet reflects contemporary understandings of the link between imagination and melancholy.

About the Lecturer

Professor Helen Hackett is Professor of English literature at University College London. She is an expert on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in particular female writers and representations of women in Renaissance literature. Some of her recent publications include The Elizabethan Mind: Searching for the Self in an Age of Uncertainty (2022), A Short History of English Renaissance Drama (2012), and Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Myths (2009).