English R1A

Reading and Composition: Modern Theater of Attractions

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2005 Joseph Ring
TTh 9:30-11 237 Cory

Other Readings and Media

"Beaumont, F.: The Knight of the Burning Pestle

Chapman, G., B. Jonson, and J. Marston: Eastward Ho

Jonson, B.: The Alchemist, Bartholmew Fair

Marlowe, C.: Doctor Faustus

Shakespeare, W.: Hamlet, Julius Caesar

Crews, F.: The Random House Handbook

Course Reader "


Theater historians of Shakespeare?s London often observe the intense demand for innovation and novelty a diverse but sophisticated playgoing public exerted on rival theater companies vying for its interest. Confined to the frontier zone of the suburbs along with bear- and bull-baiting sports arenas, public playhouses were also regarded by authorities as dangerous and potentially subversive forms of popular entertainment. In this course, students will be exposed to some of the range and diversity of early modern London plays produced within and reflective of this theatergoing atmosphere of novelties, thrills, spectacles, and dangerous attractions. Although something of a loose collection, the plays we will read all in some manner self-referentially stage the act of looking, and thus acknowledge the beholder?s presence within a context of visual curiosity and fascination with seeing. By thus confronting the spectator with his or her own image, these plays-as-attractions pose a variety of modes of spectatorship, from the totally gullible to the ultra-sophisticated and cynical. This course is similarly designed to teach you how critically to reflect on these plays as texts. To this end, this course will teach you how to work with principal modes of academic rhetoric?description, analysis, and argument. Students will be required to write a short diagnostic essay and two formal essays, both of which they will substantially revise.

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