English 114B

Upper Division Coursework: English Drama from 1603 to 1700

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2008 Landreth, David
Landreth, David
TTh 3:30-5 170 Barrows

Other Readings and Media

"Beaumont, Francis. The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Jonson, Ben. Ben Jonson's Plays and Masques. Middleton, Thomas. Five Plays. Middleton and Dekker. The Roaring Girl. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Webster, John. The Duchess of Malfi.



The English theater was the first mass medium, an avowedly commercial, hyper-competitive, fad-driven industry of sound and spectacle, which both catered to and ruthlessly parodied the sophisticated, novelty-craving consumerism of the seventeeth century?s greatest boom-town: the sprawling, incomprehensible, luxurious, grotesque metropolis of London. The brilliance of the Jacobean drama displays itself in the players' drive to go over the top, to push past the limits of realism (and to surpass their competitors? plays) into the experiences of satire and sensation, in order to represent to their audiences the strangeness of their own city and society. The rapid transformations of urban form, of social status, and of luxury consumption continually remade the lived spaces of London and of its theaters into new shapes of both intimate sensual delight and alien sensual decadence, at once more and less than real.

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