Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG444H1F L0101

ENG444H1F     L0201    M3-5
Advanced Studies Group 4
: Drama and Performance: Before 1485, After 1985
Instructor: Matt Sergi
Office Location:
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 812

Brief Description of Course: The most innovative performing artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have broken from modern performance traditions in exciting and daring ways. But to the scholar of premodern performance, those postmodern breakages often seem more like returns — to even older traditions that were in play before the early modern period. Consider some of the more radical performance practices or styles of present-day artists: immersive and site-specific theater; the transformation of public and private spaces; experiments in unwieldy or epic duration; camp; willfully uneven or asymmetrical aesthetics; crowding and community-based devising; uncomfortable up-close confrontation; the hyperreal or anti-realistic; bands on stage; beers in the audience; radical obscenity; presenting the utterly profane as sacred and the utterly sacred as profane. In our active and engaged discussions each week, students in this Advanced Studies section will consider one medieval English performance text alongside one present-day performance text. We will draw connections, resonances, and fruitful comparisons between the very old and the very new.

Our class will also provide intense training in reading early English language and in academic writing on drama and performance. By the end of term, each student will write a short term paper (about 3000 words) on a particular element of a performance text or practice that existed before 1485.

Required Reading:

First Three Authors/Texts:

Method of Evaluation:
Term paper, a conference-length scholarly research paper of about 2500-3000 words, (32.5%); Middle English comprehension quiz (17.5%); rough draft of term paper introduction (first page) (10%); in-class comprehension questions (15%); engagement and participation in class discussions (15%); actual attendance (10%)

Link to ARTSCI Calendar Course Descriptions.

Link to ARTSCI 2016-17 Timetable with Room Allocations.

Return to 400 Level Courses.

Return to 2016-17 Fall-Winter Courses.

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