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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Tragedy and Modernity (ENLI11152)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaEnglish Literature Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course explores the attempts made by various schools of theatre to revive the concept of tragedy within modernity.

The crisis in enlightenment thinking triggers a debate about the possibility (or impossibility) of the tragic. The various schools of performance tackle this issue in differing and sometimes conflicting ways.

Athenian Tragedy provides a set of conventions and concepts that are reworked in modernist fashion. At the same time, it provides an example of the vexed relationships between modernity, tradition and classicism. As a reconfiguration of the sublime, the aesthetic or political, the tragic, as form and content, helps create new languages of performance.

Through the works of Ibsen, Strindberg, Yeats, Wilde, Brecht, Beckett, and Heiner Muller this course examines the types of tragedy formulated within modernity.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  15
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 14/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
- to familiarise students with classical as well as modern theories of tragedy
- to examine the significance of psychoanalysis for tragic theory
- to familiarise students of the significance of performance conventions
- to create awareness of movements of performance
- to create a comparative relationships between the different playwrights
- to assess the significance of tragic theory within general literary theory
Assessment Information
4000 Word Essay (100%)
Special Arrangements
MSc only
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week 1: Introduction / The impact of Nietzsche
Week 2: Tragedy and Naturalism I - Henrik Ibsen, Ghosts, The Wild Duck
Week 3: Tragedy and Naturalism II - August Strindberg, The Father, Miss Julie
Week 4: Tragedy and Poetic Drama I - W.B. Yeats, 'At the Hawk's Well' and 'Purgatory'; Oscar Wilde, Salome
Week 5: Tragedy and Poetic Drama II - Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night
Week 6: Tragedy and Epic I - Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and her Children, The Life of Galileo
Week 7: Tragedy and Epic II - Brecht and Walter Benjamin
Week 8: The End of Tragedy - Samuel Beckett, Endgame
Week 9: Samuel Beckett, Happy Days, Not I
Week 10: Post-Brechtian Tragedy - Heiner Muller, Medeamaterial, The Hamletmachine
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Further reading
¿ Friedrich Nietzsche (1954). The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Francis Golffing. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books
¿ John Drakakis and Naomi Conn Liebler (eds), (1998). Tragedy. London: Longman
¿ Miguel de Beistegui and Simon Sparks (eds), (2000). Philosophy and Tragedy. London: Routledge
¿ Walter Benjamin (1985). The Origin of German Tragic Drama, trans. John Osborne. London: Verso
¿ Theodor Adorno (1991). Notes to Literature, trans. Rolf Tiedemann. New York: Columbia University Press
¿ John Willet (1993), Brecht on Theatre. London: Methuen
¿ Parker and Sedgwick (eds) (1995). Performance and Performativity. London: Routledge
¿ Errol Durbach (1980). Ibsen and the Theatre. London: Macmillan
¿ George Bryan (1984). An Ibsen Companion. Westpoint: Greenwood Press
¿ James Walter McFarlane (1994). The Cambridge Companion to Ibsen. Cambridge: CUP
¿ Otto Reinent (1971). Strindberg: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
¿ Christopher Innes (2000). A Sourcebook on Naturalist Theatre. London: Routledge
¿ Peter Raby (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde. Cambridge: CUP
¿ Peter Thomson and Gledyr Sacks (1994). The Cambridge Companion to Brecht. Cambridge: CUP
¿ Walter Benjamin (1992). Understanding Brecht. London: Verso
¿ Richard Wolin (1994). Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption. New York: University of California Press
¿ Jonathan Kalb (1998). The Theatre of Heiner Muller. Cambridge: CUP
¿ Judith Butler (1990). Gender Trouble. London: Routledge
¿ ---------------- (2000). Antigone¿s Claim. New York: Columbia University Press.
¿ Olga Taxidou, Tragedy, Modernity and Mourning, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004
¿ Rita Felski (ed), Rethinking Tragedy, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserProf Olga Taxidou
Tel: (0131 6)50 3611
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)51 3988
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