MCT Language Arts Level 8: Shakespeare and the 18th Century

  • Instructor Michael Clay Thompson
  • Code MCTL8
  • Student Ages 13-18
  • Terms Fall Semester 2023
    Spring Semester 2024
    Full Year


Offered exclusively through the Royal Fireworks Online Learning Community is Michael Clay Thompson’s Level 8, which is a full-year, college-style, advanced literature seminar. It will not have weekly email assignments but will involve close reading and discussion of superb literature. There will be one interpretive essay due at the end of the first quarter and an MLA research paper about the literature at the end of each semester. This course is at the highest academic level. A semester grade will be based on class participation and writing.

Prerequisites: The literature is sophisticated, both academically and in its content. Only students who are ready for both the academics and the powerful ideas, including Elizabethan frankness, should participate. Students should have completed MCTL7 to be eligible for the course, although motivated students can take MCTL7 concurrently with MCTL8. Students who have never taken an MCT course will be admitted upon the instructor’s approval if their preparation is appropriate.

Live Classes: Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Fall semester runs from the week of August 14th to the week of December 11th, 2023; spring semester runs from the week of January 8th to the week of May 6th, 2024.

Student Expectations: Students will be expected to complete the readings prior to each week’s live class. All students are expected to be present in class, to participate in the discussion rather than simply to listen, and to have their cameras on so that everyone can see one another and discuss. This is a seminar; it is no place for unseen observers; it is a place to think together and discuss powerful literature.

Student Support: Michael is available via email.

Materials: Students will need A.C. Bradley’s Shakespearean Tragedies; the Folger Library editions of Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, and Hamlet; John Milton’s Areopagitica; Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe; Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels; and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman. It is important that all students have the same editions of the books so that they can navigate common page numbers. Once students enroll, Michael will send out a list of the required editions.


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