ENGLISH 310 -- The Age of Shakespeare: Comedies and Tragicomedies
Course Information Semester 2, 2019
Time: T & Th 9-10
Professor Tom Bishop Dr Sophie Tomlinson
This introduction to the golden age of English theatre involves detailed study of some exmaples of Shakespeare’s comedies and that his contemporaries. Lectures will address the origins, nature, and kinds of comic drama. You will be encouraged to think across texts as well as to engage in close analysis of individual plays, as both verbal works and scripts for performance. Shakespeare’s early work is represented by The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, his mature romantic comedies by As You Like It. Measure for Measure represents one of his mid-career ‘problem’ plays, and his late ‘romance’ style is exemplified The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. Two plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries in the comic mode, MIddleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside and Fletcher's The Tamer Tamed (which looks back to Shakespeare's own play) will provide comparisons with his work .
A full and detailed syllabus will be available later in 2019.
Aims and Outcomes
By the end of this course students should
- have an enhanced ability to read and understand early modern English verse and prose;
- be aware of traditions of stage performance in early modern England;
- be able to recognize and discuss some important features and changes in English society and culture across this period;
- have familiarity with typical features and structures of early modern comedies;
- have an improved ability to discuss and compare literature from this period using critical and scholarly resources.
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