LIT 3041 () Studies in Drama: Theory of Comedy/Practice of Comedy Fall 2006
Class: MWF 12:50-1:40,
Office: Immediately after class, TUR 4111
Theory of Comedy/Practice of Comedy looks at why we think of certain plays as comic by setting up some of the best-known theories and criticism of comedy to frame discussions and readings of some of the best-known European comedies from classical Greece to the present. In turn we will use the comedies to test the helpfulness of the theories. That is, we will be considering the supposed motives and motifs of comedies, the supposed origins and techniques of comedies, some of the subgenres of comedies, and the multiple and sometimes conflicted effects of comedies in order to ask how they entertain us, what they represent, what they tell us, and so on.We will begin the course with a brief overview of criticism based on a collection of readings; then we will test three basic theories with Aristophanes' Lysistrata. After that we will alternate theoretical and critical frames with ancient to contemporary comedies in order to examine not only what the theories purport to explain but also the changes in comedies and in comic theories through time. We will conclude by reading some recent comedies but with all of these hypotheses and applications in mind as we attempt to compare and contrast the theories' helpfulness in understanding how these comedies work. We will cover the equivalent of a major critical piece or a comedy each week of the course.
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.
August 23 Packet: Bergson, Cook, Clark, Morreall
25 Packet: Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes; Schopenhauer, Hazlitt; Freud, Kris
28 Aristophanes: Lysistrata
6 Packet: Frye. Plautus: Miles Gloriosus (The Swaggering Soldier)
11 Packet: Gl'Intronati: Gl'Ingannati (The Deceived)
18 Packet: Barber, Bakhtin, Bristol
Shakespeare: Twelfth Night
27 Jonson: The Alchemist
9 Moliere: The Misanthrope
16 Packet: Corman
Packet: Etherege: The Man of Mode
23 Packet: Review Incongruity Theory of Schopenhauer, Hazlitt.
Goldoni: Mirandolina; La Locandiera (Mine Hostess)
30 Review Relief Theory of Freud, Kris
Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest
6 Packet: Esslin
Beckett: Waiting for Godot
9 Paper on Godot due by noon, Clark's Mailbox
13 Pinter: The Homecoming
20 Fo: Accidental Death of an Anarchist
December 1 Stoppard: Travesties
14 Thursday. Final Paper due by 9:00 a.m. Clark's mailbox.
Both the texts and the course packet are available at Goerings' Book Store.