LIT 3041 () Renaissance Literature: Tudor/Stuart Drama Spring 2008
Class: MWF 12:50-1:40, TUR 2333
Office: Immediately after class
In this course we will concentrate on reading one play per week from the middle of Elizabeth's reign to the closing of the theaters in 1642. As we do so we will focus on a number of contexts in which to understand them--such contexts as production and casting, illusion/reality/representation, language, rhetoric, and style, the development of techniques and genres, the relationship to society, economics, and politics . . . . The class will read along lines of historical development, first tragedies, then comedies, and finally tragicomedies. The development of the course should be from lecture towards discussion, with students gaining independence and proficiency in understanding the period, interpreting the plays, and arguing articulately for readings both orally and in writing.Students will thus be responsible for contemplating as well as reading every play assigned before the class meets to discuss it, so that you can listen profitably to the lectures on the backgrounds and participate knowledgeably in discussions of the works.
Grades will be based on eleven unannounced quizzes and three papers. The brief unannounced quizzes will occur intermittently and take a variety of forms (40% of the grade); one may be dropped. The three papers will come due at the end of each of the three sections of the course. Paper I should argue for a detailed interpretation of some confined consideration of some assigned tragedy (about 2000 words, 15% of the grade). Kinds of topics could be theatrical considerations such as double time, doubling roles, disguisings, props, symbolic stagings, one or more soliloquys, asides, a song or cluster of songs, a critical scene, an induction, a play-within-a-play, parallel or contrasting scenes, multiple plots, repeated or outstanding devices including rimes, puns, riddles, orations, sound effects, emblematic effects, image clusters, symbolic complexes, repeated allusions. Paper II should argue for a detailed interpretation of some confined consideration of some assigned comedy as a synecdoche for the whole play (about 3000 words, 20% of the grade). It might expand topics into disciplinary considerations such as narrative or dialectical or logical argument or schematic development, history of ideas, theology, philosophy, history of social or economic or political attitudes, psychology and character development, feminism, gender, deconstruction. Paper III should present some argument about any non-Shakespearean play of the era not assigned to the class (up to 5000 words, 25% of the grade). This paper might present a contextual-critical introduction to some lesser known play or some topic suggested above. All papers need to be discussed with me well before they are due. All three papers should be tightly argued, fully exemplified and interpreted, and stylishly written. They must be typed.
This course abides by the University's policies on plagiarism and academic honesty. Except for grave illness or death in the immediate family, I neither accept late work nor grant incompletes. For a student to earn credit for the course, that student must complete all work.
January 7 Introduction
9 Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy
18 Marlowe: Tamburlaine the Great, 1
28 Arden of Faversham
4 Middleton?: The Revenger's Tragedy
11 Webster: The Duchess of Malfi
18 Middleton & Rowley: The Changeling
25 Ford: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore
28 Paper on a tragedy due by 9:00 a.m. Clark's mailbox
March 3 Greene: Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay
17 Dekker: The Shoemaker's Holiday
24 Beaumont: The Knight of the Burning Pestle
31 Jonson: The Alchemist
7 Jonson: Bartholomew Fair
17 Paper on a comedy due by 9:00 a.m. Clark's mailbox
21 Marston: The Malcontent
29 Paper on a non-Shakespearean play of the era due by 9:00 a.m.
Texts are available at Goerings' Book Store: English Renaissance Drama, ed. David Bevington et al.