Crossing Borders on the Early Modern Stage|
Spring 2018 not offered
SPAN 302, THEA 322, ENGL 377, COL 314|
This course looks at the ways in which seven fascinating plays by Cervantes, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, John Webster, and Philip Massinger responded creatively to and still challenge narratives about a period in which many situate the origins of globalization. Written from 1580 to 1630 for the first public, commercial theaters of the Western world (in Madrid and London), these plays explore the anxieties, hopes, dangers, and pleasures generated by a century of displacements--of peoples, ideas, goods, capital, and diseases--that had transformed the look, feel, and taste of daily life even in remote villages of Spain and England. From Cervantes' use of Roman history to dramatize the contemporary wages of empire, to Massinger's and Cervantes' evocations of Christian captivity in Tunis and Algiers (which Cervantes experienced in the flesh for five years), to Lope's and Webster's markedly distinct versions of a celebrity murder (of the Italian Duchess of Amalfi, killed by her brothers for marrying the commoner steward of her household), to Shakespeare's and Lope's romantic comedy exploration of conflicting loyalties and shifting gender roles in a world of accelerated social mobility, these plays often resort to seemingly remote places (ancient Rome, Islamic Algiers and Tunis, Renaissance Milan and Naples) to examine the exoticism, immorality, internal conflicts, and injustices of the supposedly familiar worlds of their audiences in Madrid and London. Organized around the careful reading of seven key play-texts in English, together with historical, critical, and theoretical readings, this seminar will offer students multiple ways to approach early modern plays through printed and online resources and Wesleyan's Special Collections and Archives. We will pay particular attention to the local conditions that help explain why Spanish and English theatrical cultures were so similar despite divergent political and religious trajectories (their commercial orientation, for instance) and also why, on the other hand, even plays that drew on the same sources could differ so markedly (because, for instance, of the prominence of actresses on the Spanish professional stage in roles played by boy actors in England). Those interested in translation and performance will have opportunities to pursue them in class presentations, papers, and final projects.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(ENGL)(ENGL-Brit Lit)(FRST-MN)(HISP)
(a) Plays (required editions):
1. Cervantes, THE SIEGE OF NUMANTIA. Edition: Eric Bentley, ed., LIFE IS A DREAM AND OTHER SPANISH CLASSICS (Applause Theater Book Publishers, 1999 paperback edition or later reprint: ISBN-10: 1557830061, ISBN-13: 978-1557830067)
2. Lope de Vega, THE DOG IN THE MANGER. Edition: Victor Dixon, translator, THE DOG IN THE MANGER (Dovehouse Editions, Carleton Renaissance Plays in Translation, 1990 paperback edition or later reprint, ISBN-10: 0919473741, ISBN-13: 978-0919473744)
3. Shakespeare, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA. Edition: Pelican Series edition (revised paperback edition 2000, ISBN-10: 0140714618, ISBN-13: 978-0140714616)
4. John Webster, THE DUCHESS OF MALFI. Edition: Leah Marcus, ed., ARDEN EARLY MODERN DRAMA SERIES (1st paperback edition 2009, ISBN-10: 1904271510, ISBN-13: 978-1904271512)
5. Lope de Vega, THE DUCHESS OF AMALFI'S STEWARD. Edition: Cynthia Rodríguez-Badendyck, translator (Carleton Renaissance Plays in Translation, 1985 paperback edition or later reprint, available from the Toronto Center for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, ISBN 978-0-9194-7353-9)
6. Cervantes, THE BAGNIOS OF ALGIERS. Edition: Barbara Fuchs and Aaron J. Ilika, translators and editors, `THE BAGNIOS OF ALGIERS' AND 'THE GREAT SULTANA': TWO PLAYS OF CAPTIVITY (University of Pennsylvania Press: paperback edition 2012, ISBN-10: 0812222156, ISBN-13: 978-0812222159)
7. Philip Massinger, THE RENEGADO. Edition: Michael Neill, ed., ARDEN EARLY MODERN DRAMA (1st paperback edition 2010, ISBN-10: 1904271618, ISBN-13: 978-1904271611)
(b) Biographical, historical, critical, and theoretical readings will be supplied in a course packet, in class, or through Moodle
|Examination and Assignments: |
Three short (3-5 pp.) papers, one short oral presentation (3-5pp. or 5-10 minutes), the recitation of 15 memorized lines from a play, and one longer final paper (7-10 pp.) constitute 70% of the grade. English majors who choose the "Research Option" write one 5-page paper, one short oral presentation, and one 20-25 page research paper. Preparation for class (including regular short response papers), attendance, and informed participation count for the other 30%.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
There is no prerequisite for this course other than the desire to engage with literary and historical readings closely and imaginatively. Readings, written assignments and class discussions will be in English. Only COL students may take this course CR/U. English majors: This seminar fulfills the English Literary History 1 requirement, contributes to the fulfillment of the English British Literature concentration, and serves as an English "Research Option" seminar.
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