SoSe 15: S-Surveying English Literatures:Restoration Comedy
Renaissance drama came to a sudden end in 1642, when the Puritans closed London's playhouses. Eighteen years later, after the end of the Puritan Interregnum, they were re-opened. The resurrected ... Lesen Sie weiter
Renaissance drama came to a sudden end in 1642, when the Puritans closed London's playhouses. Eighteen years later, after the end of the Puritan Interregnum, they were re-opened. The resurrected theatre scene, however, bore little resemble to its earlier counterpart. Gone were the Elizabethan arenas showcasing plays that drew a socially diverse audience. Post-1660 theatre was a theatre of the court that promoted exclusively aristocratic values in line with the newly restored monarchy. Relying on witty dialogue and elaborate deception schemes, the comedies, which dominated the Restoration stage, paid little heed to morality and instead celebrated the triumph of the rake and libertine while relentlessly ridiculing the middle classes. Moreover, the plays were unusually licentious and sexually explicit, fully exploiting the fact that women were, for the first time, permitted to act in public. After experiencing its heyday in the 1670s, Restoration comedy was revived in a toned-down form at the end of the century pointing - amidst much controversy about the morality of the stage - the way towards sentimental comedy.
The class will focus on three plays from the genre's first wave - William Wycherley's The Country Wife (1675), George Etherege's The Man of Mode (1676) and Aphra Behn's The Rover (1677) - and, while practicing basic skills and methods of drama analysis, explore the texts in connection to their socio-cultural context as well as theories of comedy and humour. Reading of the primary texts will be complemented by a selection of criticism and theory.
Participants will have to meet the standard requirements: regular attendance, response papers and a short presentation are obligatory, credits can be obtained by submitting a term paper.
Required texts: William Wycherley, The Country Wife; Aphra Behn, The Rover; George Etherege, The Man of Mode. Recommended edition: Scott McMillin, ed. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Comedy (Norton Critical Edition).
Mo, 20.04.2015 19:00 - 22:00
Dr. Jeff Thoss
L 116 Seminarzentrum (Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26)