Department of English

University of Toronto

2000-Level Courses

2000-Level Graduate Courses - 2013-2014

Cultural Identity And The Early Modern Theatre
M. Rubright

ENG2280HS* * Added June 30, 2013; rescheduled from Summer 2014
Mimesis and Representation in the Renaissance
J. Patrick

Course Description
This course will examine selected late renaissance and early modern texts from Montaigne to Defoe. The texts have been chosen to explore a problem in literary history and theory: the emergence of several different kinds of representation from within the traditional practices of literary imitation. Theoretical writing on literature will be selected from a broad chronological range (from Plato to Derrida); as well, current writing on the topic will be used to stimulate and guide discussion. The course will concentrate on some of the following topics: the iconoclastic controversy of the sixteenth century; the beginnings of the novel in prose narratives of the late renaissance; artistic perspective and the norms of representation; the rise of representative government; authority and representation; representation and revenge; allegory and representation; representation and gender; paradoxes of reflexivity—the representation of representation, ekphrasis, “mise en abîme” (etc.); narcissism and the origins of psychoanalysis as a theory of representation; literary character and the question of subjectivity.

Reading List
Some of the texts below will be taught mainly in selections:
Petrarch, “The Ascent of Mont Ventoux”; Montaigne, “On Practice”; “On Experience” Shakespeare, Hamlet; Cervantes, Don Quixote, Part One; Descartes, Discourse on the Method; Calvin, Institutes (sels.); Hobbes, Leviathan (chs, 16-19 only); Milton, Paradise Lost, Bks. 1-2, 4-5, 9; prologues to Bks. 3, 7; Marvell, political poetry; Behn, Oroonoko; Lafayette, La princesse de Clèves; assorted theoretical texts.

Method of Evaluation
Essay / Research Paper, due at the end of term; value 50%; Three short (4-5 pages) seminar presentations (10% each): value 30%; Participation: 20%.

Monday / 9:00 am to 11:00 am (2 hours)
Birge Carnegie Library Victoria College, Room BC 20

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Early Modern Nationalism And Milton's England
P. Stevens

Historicizing Shakespeare’s Language: Discourse Analysis and Early Modern Studies
L. Magnusson

Course Description

Powerful claims have been made for how Shakespeare extended the resources and tapped the potential of the English language, from Francis Meres’ 1598 comments including him among poets by whom “the English tongue is mightily enriched, and gorgeously invested in rare ornaments” to Frank Kermode’s renewed assertion in 2001 that “the life of the plays is in the language.” Nonetheless, new historicism was dominant, scant attention was paid to verbal artistry. Criticism has recently taken up the challenge to bridge the gap between cultural history and close analysis, and this seminar will explore important questions about what a newly historicized engagement with the complex language of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry might look like. For instance, should it attend primarily to the sociohistorical contexts of verbal exchanges, finding ways to substantiate Bakhtin’s claim that the “internal politics of style” is partly determined by the “external politics” of social relationships, class structures, or gender ideologies? Should it place a strong focus on dialogic interaction, on how social relationships and corresponding subjectivities are built up through language? Should it engage with the history of the English language itself, focusing on linguistic changes like the huge influx of new words in Shakespeare’s time or contemporary interest in grammatical categories like the “potential mood”? Should it use old tools or new tools, Elizabethan rhetoric or modern-day discourse analysis? Among other topics, our seminar will consider how Shakespeare's works appropriate and re-accent social discourses of his time: for example, the abject language of service in the Sonnets, or the elite verbal bonding practices (scoff power and scoff proofing) of London speech communities like the Inns of Court in Love’s Labour’s Lost. We will look at Shakespeare's fascination with the rhetoric and power dynamics of ordinary conversation, with the language training of humanist grammar-schools, with everyday miscomprehension as a motor for language innovation, with different ways that orality and print literacy were affecting language exchange. The main focus of the course will be on a quest for productive methodologies and innovative analytical practices. While Shakespeare’s texts will serve as examples, this inquiry into method should have wider application to the language of other literary and social texts. The course will bring to its reconsideration of Shakespeare’s language an interdisciplinary gathering of readings, including Bakhtin on dialogism, Bourdieu on economics of linguistic exchanges, Brown and Levinson on politeness, as well as readings in the history of early modern English, discourse pragmatics, and rhetoric.

Course Requirements
The course will be conducted primarily as a seminar. To explore the material as fully as possible and to practice professional skills, seminar member will exchange email responses to selected class readings with other members, engage in a “try-out seminar” to experiment with new or unfamiliar tools for close analysis, and present a short colloquium paper (written version 12-15 pages).
If reading ahead, choose among Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, Sonnets (Norton); M. M. Bakhtin, from The Dialogic Imagination (1981), pp. 250-300, 324-58. A collection of methodological readings will supplement the Shakespeare text.

Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements
In-class seminar 25%; course paper (colloquium and written version) 45%; frequent short “issue” sheets 20%; class participation 10%

Tuesday / 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm (3 hours)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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Disguise on the Early Modern Stage*
L. Thomson
(*Course Description revised July 2nd) 

Course Description

The device of disguise is ubiquitous in early modern plays, regardless of authorship, company, or venue. This course will consider examples of physical disguise through a change in appearance in a number of interrelated theatrical and thematic contexts to better understand the reasons for its use and popularity. Broader contexts for consideration include: contemporary concerns about appearance versus reality; disguise in morality plays; convention and invention; the manipulation of playgoer response; dramatic form and genre. More specific topics to be considered are the kinds of character who adopt disguise; the reasons for disguise; the relationships between disguised characters and playgoers; disguise in relation to gender and class; the thematic significance of disguise; disguise as a plot device; the performance of disguise; the removal of a disguise.

Course requirements
15-minute seminar presentation and leading of discussion (20%), annotated bibliography for the seminar (20%), informed and regular participation in class discussion and responses to seminar presentations (20%), 15-page research paper (40%).

Plays to be studied (subject to change)
Gallathea (Lyly, 1585), Mucedorus (Anon., 1590), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare, 1601), Measure for Measure (Shakespeare, 1604), The Revenger’s Tragedy (Middleton, 1606), King Lear (Shakespeare, 1606), Epicoene (Jonson, 1609), Cymbeline (Shakespeare, 1610), Bartholomew Fair (Jonson, 1613), Swetnam the Woman-Hater (Anon., 1618).

*I will take advantage of the option to hold a make-up class for the one lost on November 12th. This make-up class will be Friday, December 6th.

*A list of secondary readings and a bibliography will be provided at the start of the course. The final essay can include a play or plays not on the course.

*While there are no prerequisites, previous study of early modern drama/literature is strongly recommended.

Tuesday / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (2 hours) (NB: there will be a make-up class Friday, December 6th, 1-3pm in Room JHB718)
Room JHB718, Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George

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