@Falrinn: I'm not saying you need to spend a semester on Shakespeare unless you are some kind of lit major, but any intro to lit course should include him. I'm also not saying that he's the stick by which all other authors should be measured. That's a bit silly since, as you say, there are many styles and most have some merit. My participation in this thread has been to answer the question posed in the thread title. This is why we study Shakespeare, and why we are correct to do so. I'm not trying to say he's any better or worse than any other author. I am trying to say he is a huge part of the history of literature, and to ignore him in a class that is an intro to literature is insane.