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

Postgraduate Course: Playing the World: Early Modern Theatricality, Then and Now (ENLI11251)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers the opportunity for students to engage with a number of early modern plays while exploring the significance of theatricality in both early modern and contemporary critical discourse and performance practice. The course will focus on some key examples of dramatic writing from the early modern period, and will develop students┬┐ understanding of theatricality in different historical moments. These works will be examined primarily as performance texts, and attention will be paid to modes of staging in early modernity and in our own time. It will seek to extend students' knowledge and understanding of the concept of theatrical performance, as that concept is developed both in the self-reflexive theatre of early modernity and in critical investigation of that theatre.
Course description How do the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries work in performance? How can their original function as performance texts be made visible for the contemporary reader, practitioner and theatregoer? In what ways are the possibilities and constraints of early modern theatrical practice acknowledged or exploited by the dramatic writers of the time? This course will help students to explore these questions through critical and practical exploration of some exemplary theatrical writing from the early modern period. It will seek to explore early modern plays as a set of active performance possibilities, and to develop an understanding of the concepts of theatricality and performance, as these are developed both in the self-reflexive theatre of early modernity and in contemporary performance practice. It will begin with a focus on the differences and continuities between early modern and contemporary performance possibilities and conventions, then move into the analysis of contemporary productions of early modern plays, before continuing through paired seminars and workshops focused on the key topics of drama and metadrama, performative gender, and the performance of power.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show a good knowledge of early modern practices of theatrical performance and contemporary styles of performing early modern drama
  2. Analyse early modern performance texts and contemporary productions
  3. Locate and evaluate a range of writing on early modern theatricality by modern and contemporary critics
  4. Plan and undertake the critical analysis of early modern texts through performance practice
Reading List
Playing the World: Early Modern Theatricality, Then and Now

Reading List

Primary Texts (Required)

William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ben Jonson, Epicene, or The Silent Woman
Philip Massinger, The Roman Actor

Secondary Texts (Further Reading)

Aebischer, Pascale, Shakespeare's Violated Bodies: Stage and Screen Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004
Artaud, Antonin, The Theatre and its Double (1958)
Bakhtin, Mikhail, Rabelais and his World (1968)
Barish, Jonas, The Antitheatrical Prejudice (1981)
Bial, Henry, ed., The Performance Studies Reader, London: Routledge, 2004
Campbell, Patrick, ed., Analysing Performance: Issues and Interpretations, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996.
Carlson, Marvin, Performance: a Critical Introduction, London: Routledge, 1996
Barton, Anne, Ben Jonson, Dramatist (1984)
Berger, Harry, Imaginary Audition: Shakespeare on Stage and Page, University of California Press, 1992
Berry, Philippa Shakespeare's Feminine Endings: Disfiguring Death in the Tragedies.. London and New York: Routledge, 1999
Braunmuller, A. R. and Michael Hattaway. Eds. The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama. Cambridge: CUP, 1990
Bristol, Michael, Carnival and Theatre (1985)
Bulman, James, ed., Shakespeare, Theory and Performance (1996)
Burt, Richard, Licensed By Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourse of Censorship (1993)
Calderwood, James. Metadrama in Shakespeare's Henriad, Richard II to Henry V. Berkeley: U of California P, 1979.
Calderwood, James. Shakespearean Metadrama: The Argument of the Play in Titus Andronicus, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night┬┐s Dream and Richard II. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1971.
Calderwood, James. To Be and Not To Be: Negation and Metadrama in Hamlet. New York: Columbia UP, 1983.
Case, Sue Ellen. Ed. 1990. Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP.
Cave, Richard Allen, Ben Jonson (1991)
Cave, Richard, Elizabeth Schafer and Brian Woolland. Eds. Ben Jonson and Theatre: Performance, Practice and Theory. London: Routledge, 1999
Chambers, E. K., The Elizabethan Stage (1923)
Coyle, Martin, Hamlet (1992)
de Grazia, Margreta and Stanley Wells. Eds. Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. CUP, 2006.
Dillon, Janette, Theatre, Court and City 1595-1610 (2000)
Dollimore, Jonathan, Radical Tragedy (1984)
Dutton, Richard, ed., Ben Jonson (2000)
Dutton, Richard. Ed. Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre. OUP, 2009.
Eagleton, Terry, William Shakespeare (1986)
Escolme, Bridget Talking to the Audience: Shakespeare, Performance, Self. Abingdon: Routledge, 2005
Gurr, Andrew and Ichikawa, Mariko, Staging in Shakespeare's Theatres (2000)
Gurr, Andrew, Playgoing in Shakespeare's London (1987)
Gurr, Andrew, The Shakespearean Stage (1992)
Harp, Richard and Stanley Stewart. Eds. Cambridge Companion to Ben Jonson. CUP, 2006.
Hattaway, Michael. Ed. Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare's history plays. CUP, 2006.
Haynes, Jonathan, The Social Relations of Jonson's Theater (1992)
Hodgdon, Barbara, and W. B. Worthen. Companion to Shakespeare and Performance. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
Hodges, C. Walter, Enter the Whole Army (1999)
Howard, Jean, The Stage and Social Struggle in Early Modern England (1994)
Kahn, Coppelia, Roman Shakespeare : warriors, wounds, and women London : Routledge, 1997
Kastan, David, and Stallybrass, Peter, eds, Staging the Renaissance (1991)
Laqueur, Thomas, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990/2)
Leggatt, Alexander. Ed. Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Comedy. CUP, 2006
Levine, Laura, Men in Women's Clothing (1994)
Liebler, Naomi Conn. Shakespeare's festive tragedy: the ritual foundations of genre London: Routledge, 1995.
Lindley, David, ed., The Court Masque (1984)
Lopez, Jeremy, Theatrical Convention and Audience Response in Early Modern England Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003
Loxley, James, and Mark Robson, Shakespeare, Jonson and the Claim of the Performative. New York: Routledge, 2013
Loxley, James, The Complete Critical Guide to Ben Jonson (2002)
Loxley, James. Performativity London: Routledge, 2007
Martin, Matthew, Between Theater and Philosophy (2001)
Mason Vaughan, Virginia, Performing Blackness. Cambridge: CUP, 2005
McEachern, Claire. Ed. Cambridge Companion to Shakespearean Tragedy. CUP, 2006.
McLuskie, Kathleen, Renaissance Dramatists (1989)
Morris, Pam, ed., The Bakhtin Reader (1994)
Mullaney, Steven, The Place of the Stage (1988)
Orgel, Steven, Impersonations (1996)
Parker, Andrew, and Sedgwick, Eve, eds, Performativity and Performance (1995)
Parker, Patricia, ed., Shakespeare and the Question of Theory (1985)
Redmond, James, ed., Theatrical Space (1987)
Righter, Anne. Shakespeare and the Idea of the Play. London: Chatto and Windus, 1962
Salih, Sara, Judith Butler (2001)
Schechner, Richard, Performance Studies: an Introduction, London: Routledge, 2002
Shepherd, Simon, Drama / Theatre / Performance, London: Routledge, 2004
Smith, Emma and Garrett Sullivan. Eds. Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy. CUP, 2010
Stern, Tiffany and Simon Palfrey. Shakespeare in Parts. Oxford: OUP, 2007
Styan, John L., Drama, Stage and Audience, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975
Stern, Tiffany. Documents of Performance in Early Modern England. Cambridge: CUP, 2009.
Stern, Tiffany. Making Shakespeare: from Stage to Page. London: Routledge, 2006
Sullivan, Garrett, Patrick Cheney, and Andrew Hadfield, eds. Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion. Oxford: OUP, 2005.
Tennenhouse, Leonard, Power on Display (1986)
Vice, Sue, Introducing Bakhtin (1997)
Weimann , Robert Authority and Representation in Early Modern Discourse Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1996
Weimann, Robert and Douglas Bruster. Shakespeare and the Power of Performance: Stage and Page in the Elizabethan Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008
Weimann, Robert, Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition (1977)
Wells, Stanley and Sarah Stanton. Eds. Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Stage. CUP, 2002
West, Russell, Spatial Representations and the Jacobean Stage. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002
Womack, Peter, Ben Jonson (1986)
Womack, Peter, English Renaissance Drama (2006)
Woolland, Brian, ed. Jonsonians: Living Traditions. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003
Worthen W.B. and Peter Holland, Theorizing practice : redefining theatre history
Worthen, W. B. Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Worthen, W.B, A Companion to Shakespeare and Performance, Oxford: Blackwell 2005
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop skills in observation and analysis through their work on performance analysis; through their participation in seminars they will develop their communication skills; through collaboration in the workshops they will develop teamwork and leadership skills, as well as in devising practical modes of enquiry.
KeywordsEarly Modern Theatre,Performance,Shakespeare
Course organiserProf James Loxley
Tel: (0131 6)50 3610
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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