SoSe 13: Medieval English Literatures-HS- Shakespeare: Romance and Gender
Andrew James Johnston
Romance is one of the most problematic generic terms ever to have been invented in the English language. And as far as Shakespeare is concerned, it is a latecomer anyway, since Shakespeare and his contemporaries would never have applied it to drama. Yet, especially if seen before a specifically medieval backdrop the term does actually make considerable sense in a Shakespearean context. After all, medieval romance self-consciously investigated, amongst other things, questions of gender through plots of adventure with fairy tale-like elements thrown in - and this is exactly what happens in Shakespeare's so-called 'romances'.
This course is interested in the way that two of Shakespeare's late plays, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Pericles, Prince of Tyre, negotiate questions of gender and genre within a self-consciously historicist literary framework. In order to investigate this issue we shall be reading not only the two plays themselves, but also their respective medieval sources, i.e. Geoffrey Chaucer's Knight's Tale and Apollonius of Tyre from Gower's Confessio Amantis. Gower's romance will be made available to students. As for the other texts, students are required to use standard scholarly editions in class, ideally the Riverside Chaucer and the Oxford Shakespeare.close
13 Class schedule