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1160 Camino de Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe, NM 87505

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Grant Franks: Second Thoughts about Shakespeare’s As You Like It

As You Like It is a much-loved fixture in the Shakespearean canon, generally staged as a joyous woodland rom-com. However, if one dares to look a little more closely, – as the sophomore seminar that I co-lead did recently – doubts begin to surface.  The seeming frivolity of action is dogged by questions.  Why does a light comedy include patches of morose darkness like those in Jaques’s much-acclaimed “Seven Ages of Man” speech?  Is Touchstone really a “touchstone” in any genuine sense, or is his suggestive name just meaningless fluff?  In the romantic Forest of Arden, populated by shepherds speaking blank verse, why do Rosalind and Orlando conduct their offbeat courtship entirely in prose?  Most importantly, why is the major plot tension of Act I – namely, the murderous sibling rivalries of Orlando and Olivier and of the two dukes – virtually ignored during the middle of the play and then casually, almost carelessly, disappeared in Act V?

This lecture will not explain everything, but it aims to outline some interesting ways to puzzle over As You Like It.

Graduate Institute Summer Lectures are held live across both campuses and also live-streamed except for the July 12 "Second Thoughts about Shakespeare’s As You Like It" lecture, which will be live only.

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Password for Zoom feed: 425880

Note that the live stream is not available for July 12 lecture.

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