Shakespeare the Poet


Course Description

Shakespeare the player. Shakespeare the playwright. Shakespeare the poet. The strands of his prodigious output are difficult to tease apart. In this short course, we will look at the narrative poems, which constitute only a small segment of his works but show us facets of Shakespeare beyond the many shining passages in the plays and the stirring beauty of the sonnets.

What made Shakespeare turn to stand-alone poems? Why and how did he draw inspiration from stories of the ancient world? How do these poems reflect both ancient and Renaissance concerns about the natures of desire, love, and power? What role did the politics of 16th-century patronage play? We will examine Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, A Lover’s Complaint, and The Phoenix and the Turtle. For context, we will briefly survey what is known of Shakespeare’s life and times, including an element we can certainly relate to today—the regular outbreaks of the Plague, which closed the playhouses and transformed daily life.

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 18 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Tuesday 19 January 2021

Course Length: 6 weeks, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Kathleen Dunn, Kathe Lieber, +1

Degree Credit: Half-credit

Course Fee: 

$120.00 (standard tuition)

$80.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$145.00 (standard tuition)

$105.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Degree students, course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers should not register online. 

Degree students must schedule an appointment with the Admissions and Accreditation Committee to register for courses at

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers from cancelled Spring 2020 courses, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

If you are a RETURNING student

If you are NEW to TMI