Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG341H1S L0101

ENG341H1S   L0101   M10, W10-12
Modern Drama Since WWII
Instructor: Dr. P. Sheppard
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA
Email: philippa.sheppard@utoronto.ca


Brief Description of Course: This course investigates twelve major plays of the turbulent post World War II era -- an era of rapid social and political change – in the light of new intellectual and artistic movements such as: Absurdism, Feminism, and Post-Colonialism. Clips from filmed productions will act as a springboard for discussions about changing modes of performance in these exciting works of drama which are 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 and Post-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 term 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: Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Miller’s The Crucible, Osborne’s Look Back In Anger, Beckett’s Endgame, Happy Days; Pinter’s The Homecoming; Churchill’s Vinegar Tom; Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman; Friel’s Translations, Shepard’s True West, Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Stoppard’s Arcadia.

I have ordered the books for the course 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. Make-up in-class essays only provided for illness or bereavement (with appropriate documentation submitted).

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