English | Elizabethan and Seventeenth-Century Drama
L308 | 24763 | Ellen MacKay
L308 24763 ELIZABETHAN AND SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY DRAMA
4:00p-5:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.
TOPIC: “Staging England and Anti-England”
By exploring a selection of the representative drama of Tudor and
Stuart England, this course will investigate how Englishness and its
antithesis is performed upon the early modern stage. This focus will
help us to consider the way identity categories like gender,
religion, race, ethnicity, and class are influenced by national
characteristics, and how foreignness is coded by use of those
categories. At the same time, we will consider how the ethos and
even the landscape of early modern England are theatrical inventions
that take on real life in an emerging national consciousness.
The plays selected for reading will span the high Elizabethan to the
late Caroline periods, and will include city comedies, histories
(both folkloric and recent), a travel adventure, and social satires
written by a range of dramatists, from Marlowe to Ford. In addition
to the eight plays on the syllabus, we will read critical essays
that speak to the literature and the issues under our consideration
from a range of theoretical perspectives. To enrich our
understanding of the environment from which that drama emerged, we
will also read primary materials drawn from Early English Books
Online and the Lilly Library. Particularly interesting to our
project will be traces of the visual culture of early modern
England, which we will read as carefully as our written texts.
Students will be expected to participate in class discussions and to
lead them on the two occasions in which they offer presentations
(one on a play selection and another on a critical essay). The
course will include short quizzes, an editing project, and a
research paper of 8-10 pages.