Beyond Literary Landscapes—Shakespeare’s Comedies

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This week’s column begins a two-part series focusing on two types of William Shakespeare’s plays, namely comedy and tragedy.  As a brief introduction, we begin with the major comedic works of the playwright.

Born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, William Shakespeare was an “English poet, dramatist, and actor often called the English national poet and considered by many to be the greatest dramatist of all time.”

Considered an Elizabethan playwright, Shakespeare wrote “during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (1558–1603).”  It should be noted that this term only refers to a timeline, not any writing characteristic.  This time period was also known as the golden age of drama.  Some of his contemporaries included Ben Johnson and Christopher Marlowe.

His plays continue to be read, studied, and performed throughout the world.  In addition to these theatrical works, Shakespeare was also well known for his sonnets, of which the prolific author wrote an impressive 154.


Although known for a variety of plays and poetry, some of William Shakespeare’s most famous comedic works include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Taming of the Shrew.

Additional works include All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, and The Comedy of Errors.


Shakespeare’s comedies are mostly set in the United Kingdom.


These works were published in the 17th century.


Shakespeare’s comedies may be interesting reading material for AU ENGL students, as well as those students who would like to learn more about early dramatic comedy.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Shakespeare’s Comedies are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in this topic may consider enrolling in ENGL 324: Shakespeare I, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “an introduction to the age of Shakespeare and his plays.”  (Please note that ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays, or ENGL 325: Shakespeare II are required as prerequisites).  For those interested in reading additional works, consider ENGL 325: Shakespeare II.  Happy reading!

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