Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG340H1F L0101

ENG340H1F   L0101   M10, W10-12
Modern Drama to WWII
Instructor:Dr. P. Sheppard

Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA

Brief Description of Course:
This course explores twelve major plays of the first half of the twentieth century -- an era of rapid social and political change – in the light of new intellectual and artistic movements such as Naturalism, Surrealism, Feminism and Socialism. Using clips from filmed productions, we will delve into performance history to arrive at a better sense of what makes these seminal dramas as important today as in their own time.

Learning Objectives: This course aims to teach the student to analyze plays more accurately and profoundly, and to improve the ability to express this analysis in a clear, correct, logical, and specific manner. It is hoped that this course will hone the student’s skills in critical reading, thinking, speaking and writing, increasing the student’s subtlety and perception. In addition, the course will attempt to provide the student with some general knowledge about the Modern Age, eleven crucial playwrights and their particular theatrical milieu. The course will also acquaint and reacquaint the student with literary and theatrical terminology, conventions, expectations, and genres. Ideally, the student should end the year confident that he or she is better at evaluating plays, at understanding historical context, and at expressing him or herself effectively both orally, and in written form.

Required Reading: Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Ghosts; Strindberg’s Miss Julie; Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya; Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest; Yeat’s On Baile’s Strand (online); Synge’s Playboy of the Western World; Glaspell’s Trifles; Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author; Shaw’s Saint Joan; Brecht’s Galileo; O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

I have ordered the cheapest editions available at Bob Miller Book Room, 180 Bloor Street W, Lower Concourse. Ask for the course by name to purchase the correct editions. Please always bring the relevant playscript to class.

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA.

Method of Evaluation: One in-class essay (15%); one take-home essay (35%); one two hour exam (35%); participation (15%).

I will take attendance each class, and make note of oral contributions, to arrive at the participation mark. Attendance is important. Handing in an outline for the take-home essay is mandatory, and receives a 2% bonus on the essay mark if properly executed.

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