English | Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama
L328 | 24764 | Ellen MacKay

Ellen MacKay

1:00p-2:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

This course is a study of some of the greatest hits of the
Restoration theatreóa period renowned for the extravagance, wit, and
raciness of its drama. Close and careful readings of the eight plays
on the syllabus will ground an inquiry into the relation of the
theatre to the volatile social milieu that it both constitutes and
reflects. In particular, the shifting conventions of the
professional stage will merit our sustained attention, given their
influence upon the style and sociality of a court culture that
relies heavily on performance to reconstitute itself.

We will read plays by Congreve, Farquhar, Dryden, Etheridge, Otway,
Buckingham, Centlivre, and Behn. Aphra Behn and Susanna Centlivre
share the distinction of being Englandís first professional women
dramatists. In addition to the selected dramatic literature,
readings will be assigned from the wider print culture of the
seventeenth century, and from scholarship that pertains to our

Beyond generous participation in class discussions, students will be
asked to sign up for two presentations (one on a scene from a play,
another on a work of criticism), both of which involve a written
component. There will be a midterm exam, and the course will
culminate in a research paper of 8-10 pages.