Starting with the Tudor and Stuart period in England, this graduate seminar centers on theatre’s controversial and contradictory place in the social transformations that took place in the early modern period and continued through to the Enlightenment. In the first part of the course we will use Jean Howard’s The Stage and Social Struggle in Early Modern England (1994) that examines the gap between overheated attacks on the stage and theatre’s actual role in class, gender and sexual conflict and read a range of plays from this period. The second half of the course will consider European theatre outside of England with scripts such as Lope de Vega’s The Dog in the Manger (1613-1615) and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s House of Desires (1683) and the little known Blame Not the Author written by an anonymous math teacher at a Jesuit college in Rome between 1613-1633. There will be opportunity for individual research on plays and performance as well as short summary presentations, or précis, on essays presented in seminar sessions.
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