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EN3325 Theatre and the City, 1590-1730

Summer Reading List

(2013-14)

Course Convenor: Dr Deana Rankin

This course explores the connections between the rise of London as a metropolis and the flourishing of English drama in the Renaissance and Restoration. It examines how the stage shows the city; how, as the city evolves, urban space is repeatedly represented and problematized for the entertainment of its citizens. It does so by way of engaging with selected theoretical readings on the city and public space.

We will read six pairs of plays (one play per week) which open up questions of commerce, gender, city limits, liminal space, underbellies and architecture in the urban space. 

PLEASE READ AS MANY OF THE PLAYS LISTED BELOW AS YOU CAN.  IT IS ESSENTIAL TO READ THE FIRST SIX BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF TERM.

Many of the plays are found in the following anthologies (often available second-hand). Otherwise use any good edition (eg. Oxford Classics, New Mermaids, Revels). Kindle and e-texts are also readily available on the web, but do make sure your supplement them with some good annotations from a reputable edition.

  • D. Bevington et al (eds.) English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology (New York, 2002)
  • A.F. Kinney (ed.) Renaissance Drama: An Anthology of Plays and Entertainments (Oxford, 1999)
  • D. Womersley (ed.) Restoration Drama: An Anthology ed. (Oxford, 2000).

THE PLAYS

Renaissance

  • Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1599);
  • Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair (1614)
  • Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, The Roaring Girl (1607-10);
  • Ben Jonson, Epicoene or the Silent Woman (1609)
  • Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (1592);
  • William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, John Ford, The Witch of Edmonton (1621)

Restoration

  • William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675);
  • Sir George Etherage, The Man of Mode (1676)
  • Aphra Behn, The Rover (1677);
  • William Congreve,The Way of the World (1700)
  • George Farquhar, The Beaux’ Strategem (1707);
  • Susannah Centlivre, The Busie Body (1709)

Epilogue:

  • John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (1728) 

SECONDARY READING:

Essential to read before term starts:

While this deals mainly with modern urban theatre, it introduces some of the key theoretical questions which we will address with regard to early modern theatre.

You might also want to borrow one of the following from a library and explore some of the theory in advance:

  • Bachelard, Gaston, The poetics of space, trans. Maria Jolas (Boston, 1994
  • Bridge, Gary and Watson, Sophie (eds) The Blackwell City Reader (Oxford, 2010) 
  • Lefebvre, Henri, Writings on cities (Oxford, 1996)

   
 
 
 
 

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