Brief Description of Course: The Tudors, who ruled England from 1485 to 1603, employed a range of strategies to consolidate prestige in the Crown, and thus in London. By 1603, London-based styles and conventions, particularly in dramatic performances, had largely eclipsed a diversity of other regional performance traditions, some of which faded out of fashion, and others of which were forcibly prohibited. But throughout the sixteenth century, even as the first commercial theaters began to pop up around London, marking an apparent renaissance of classical forms, other regions in England were performing old and new plays in ways that might strike us as more medieval. There is a significant discussion and attendance portion of this course mark. Be prepared to engage actively during every class session.
Our course in Drama to 1603 will cover performance texts and traditions across a variegated Britain between 1485 and 1603 — with frequent reference to the Records of Early English Drama, our readings will be organized by geography rather than chronology, taking us not only to Tudor-era London but also through sixteenth-century Cheshire, Yorkshire, East Anglia, Cambridgeshire, and Central Scotland. The plays we discuss will, appropriately, often be concerned with power, tyranny, violence, and upheaval.
Required Reading: Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Medwall, Fulgens and Lucres; Redford, The Play of Wit and Science; Stevenson (?), Gammer Gurton’s Needle; Fulwell, Like Will to Like; Lindsay, Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estatis; Shakespeare, Richard III; and a number of anonymous works, including the Chester Slaughter of the Innocents and Shepherds, the Towneley Second Shepherds’ Play and Judgment, the Digby Mary Magdalene and Killing of the Children, and Everyman.
First Three Authors/Texts: TBA
Method of Instruction: Lecture and discussion.Method of Evaluation: Philological analysis essay (25%); archival research report (30%); in-class comprehension questions (20%); engagement and participation in class discussions (15%); actual attendance (10%).