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OLLI Course | Sea-Change: Shakespeare, Capt. John Smith & the New World Republic

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

Richard Welsh will teach the course, "Sea-Change: Shakespeare, Capt. John Smith & the New World Republic." This course will be held on Tuesday afternoons from 12:45 - 2:45, beginning September 14 - November 2.

Course Description

Shakespeare’s late “tragicomedies” counterpose Europe’s dehumanizing aristocratic values to conceptions of humanity that seek the common good and dignify productive labor. They converge in remarkable detail with quasi-republican currents among Puritan activists (who also embraced the revolutionary new sciences) and similar impulses within England’s American colonial projects, where Capt. John Smith led in the sharpening cultural clash. In equal parts history and drama, Europe and America, we explore Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Smith’s popular writings, and contemporary Puritan texts, revealing their common, America-focused hopes for a truly “New World.”


  • Course Fee $50

  • Format: lecture, discussion, film, Zoom

  • Required Book: The Tempest, William Shakespeare, any edition

To Register

Please complete our Registration Form and email it to

Be sure to:

  • Mention that you are a member of a Maine Senior College

  • Select alternate courses/workshops as we cannot guarantee your desired course will have open seats when MSCN registration begins.

Email if you have any questions.

About the Instructor

After almost launching a career in something later called Evolutionary Psychology (MA, Cornell), Richard Welsh dedicated himself to issues-advocacy and election campaign work, moonlighting in historical and science feature journalism. This course, previously taught at OLLI and Midcoast Senior College, originates in a 23-year research effort, leavened by amateur acting and a long love of Shakespeare.

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