Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG340H1F L0101

ENG340H1F    L0101   T3, R3-5 
Modern Drama to WWII
Professor Maxwell Uphaus

Office Location: TBA
Email: TBA

Brief description of course: This course explores how ideas about the nature and purpose of drama changed in tandem with the major social, political, intellectual, and artistic transformations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We will survey the innovations in dramaturgical theory and practice pioneered during this period by Henrik Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, Anton Chekhov, Luigi Pirandello, and Bertolt Brecht; examine several early twentieth-century Irish plays as a case study of drama’s role in constructing and critiquing national identity; and consider the different ways in which historical dramas by George Bernard Shaw, C. L. R. James, and T. S. Eliot use the theatre as a means of reflecting on and reassessing the past in the light of the present.

Required Reading: Eight Modern Plays, ed. Anthony Caputi (Norton; contains Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, Chekhov’s Three Sisters, Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children); Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama (Norton; contains W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory’s Cathleen Ni Houlihan, J. M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, and Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock); Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (Broadview); George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan (Penguin); C. L. R. James, Toussaint Louverture (Duke University Press); T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral (Harcourt); W. B. Yeats, On Baile’s Strand (online).

First Three Authors/Texts: Eight Modern Plays (Ibsen and Chekhov); Wilde.

Method of Evaluation: Two essays (20% each); exam (40%); participation (20%).

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