Department of English

University of Toronto

3000 Series Course Descriptions

ENG3041HS
Acting Theory and Practice before Stanislavsky
T. Robinson 

Course Description:
The curious process of an actor's transformation-the means and methods by which a player communicates character and feeling on stage-was a major problem that captivated top eighteenth- and nineteenth-century minds. British, German, French, Dutch, and Italian thinkers sought to understand this process and to probe its representational limits. This course examines key documents within a vast body of literature produced on acting theory and practice in the two centuries prior to Stanislavsky-a time when the figure of the actor was a central visual object in an already visual culture. We will read acting theory alongside theatre reviews, illustrations, representative dramas, and criticism. We will examine the stage practices of actors such as Thomas Betterton, David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, John Philip Kemble, Edmund Kean, and Ellen Terry. We will also consider shifting histories of affect and emotion, in addition to concerns such as embodiment, visual culture, celebrity culture, theatre history, aesthetics, and politics. What, we'll ask, can literature focused on the ontology of the actor tell us about the profound cultural and epistemological impact of the actor's art during this period?

Course Reading List
Primary readings may include selections from the following (with foreign language texts available in translation): Charles Gildon, The Life of Mr. Thomas Betterton; Aaron Hill, The Prompter; Francesco Riccoboni, L'art du théâtre; John Hill, Essay on the Art of Acting; Samuel Foote, A Treatise on the Passions, So Far as They Regard the Stage; Roger Pickering, Reflections upon Theatrical Expression in Tragedy; Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien; Johann Jakob Engel, Ideen zu Einer Mimik, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Regeln für Schauspieler; Heinrich von Kleist, Über das Marionettentheater; Sarah Siddons, Remarks on the Character of Lady Macbeth; Johannes Jelgerhuis, selections; Henry Siddons, Practical Illustrations of Rhetorical Gesture and Acting; Leigh Hunt, selections; William Hazlitt, selections; Charles Lamb, On the Tragedies of Shakespeare; François-Joseph Talma, Mémoires de Lekain; François Delsarte, on the Delsarte System, among other possibilities. Secondary criticism may include work by Lisa A. Freeman, Jonathan Mulrooney, Gill Perry, Joseph R. Roach, Lynn M. Voskuil, Jed Wentz, Shearer West, and others.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Attendance and Informed Class Discussion (15%); Archival Research Exercise (15%); In-Class Seminar Presentation with Handout (15%); Final Project Proposal with Annotated Bibliography (10%); Final Project/Research Paper (45%)

Term: S-TERM (January 2022 to April 2022)
Date/Time: 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, Fridays
Location:
RM JHB 616 (Room Change) (Jackman Humanities Building, University of Toronto, 170 St. George Street) NB: Makeup class Apr 22.
Delivery: IN-PERSON

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ENG3337HS
Comedy and Sentimentality in Eighteenth-Century Literature
S. Dickie

Course Description:
This course juxtaposes two contrary modes of eighteenth-century literary culture. On one hand, we will read a number of well-known sentimental novels (Richardson's Pamela and Sterne's Sentimental Journey) as well as a range of non-novelistic sentimental texts. On the other hand, we will explore a set of eighteenth-century comic texts and the everyday humour that they reflect-a coarse, cruel, and often misogynistic humour that is completely unfamiliar to modern readers. Many of these texts directly parody the rising tide of sentimentalism, making fun of the very idea of tender feelings. These include Fielding's well-known travesty of Richardsonian sentimentality in Shamela, but also a range of lesser-known texts: short travestic tales that exaggerate sentimental conventions to the point of absurdity; mock-epistolary correspondences between rustic idiots; and mock-sentimental elegies for senile old women or dead insects. Such texts foreground, in the most unmistakeable way, the sheer risibility of sentimentalism to so many of those who witnessed its emergence. One major theme of the course will be the promise of the archive-of all the minor, ephemeral publications of the age - to dispute literary-historical commonplaces and to produce new readings of major texts.

Course Reading List
Available from U of T Bookstore: Richardson, Pamela (Oxford, ed. Keymer & Wakely), Sarah Scott, Millenium Hall (Broadview, ed. Gary Kelly), Sterne, Sentimental Journey (Oxford, ed. Parnell & Jack), custom Course Reader (CR).

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Five short discussion-starters: 20%; Essay Proposal and Annotated Bibliography: 20%; Final Paper: 45%; Participation: 15%.

Term: S-TERM (January 2022 to April 2022)
Date/Time: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Tuesdays
Location: 
RM JHB 718 (Room Change) (Jackman Humanities Building, University of Toronto, 170 St. George Street)
Delivery: IN-PERSON

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