Performance and Discussion

Hamlet is undoubtedly one of Shakespeare's most important and beloved plays. It is full of intrigue, mystery, the supernatural, and features a variety of memorable characters. Besides all of this, it is Shakespeare's most theological play, though it is not often read as such.

It has often been argued that the text as we have it is an amalgam: too unwieldy, at four hours "traffic," to have been performed, it represents a number of scenes from which the players would have chosen as suited the needs of the particular performance. Whatever the truth of this, it is a monster of a play to get through.

And of course, it was not meant to be read, but to be played. Shakespeare is great reading, but he sings in performance. The right way to study a play is to inhabit it first, and only then to discuss it.

That is what we will do in this course: we will spend two sessions reading Hamlet together, with assigned roles that you are encouraged to prepare ahead of time. (Don't worry, you don't need to be a good actor: just have familiarity with your lines so that it is easier to read them without tripping over them. We will have a wide variety of reading talent!) Then, we will spend two sessions discussing the play in detail.

This is a rigorous study of Hamlet, which can only be done on the basis of an understanding of the poem that is internal to its world.

This course is for lovers of Hamlet, lovers of Shakespeare, lovers of literature, and lovers of good company and laughs. Join us as we study one of the masterworks of English literature as it was meant to be studied: in fellowship!

Next offering TBD

$150 / student
included in the membership package

  • Participating in a course led by Dr. Junius Johnson is a wonderful journey of exploration, seeking hidden gems in unexpected places. It is an opportunity to learn to look deeper than the surface, both in reading and in the mundane of life. A delightful feast for the mind that lasts far beyond the actual banquet.

  • I came to the C.S. Lewis’ Cosmic Trilogy class with an expectation of academic rigor, thoughtful teaching, and imagination-opening conversation. Dr. Johnson delivered this and more! He brought these texts alive in a way that I could not have imagined, and he made me think about implications for my life. This class took me far beyond a simple reading of the text, into a world of wonder and a desire for deeper understanding of the great mysteries of our world and the stories that we tell about them.

  • Every time I hear Junius Johnson speak, I walk away asking: "Did I forget how exciting and joyful the life of the mind can be?”