English 128

Modern Drama

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2016 Altieri, Charles F.
MWF 2-3 122 Wheeler

Book List

Puchner, Martin: The Norton Anthology of Drama; Weiss, Katharine: The Plays of Samuel Beckett

Other Readings and Media

There will be several plays available in Pdf on bcourses.  The Norton Anthology of Drama also comes with elaborate on-line resources.


This course will be a survey of Modern Drama, mostly in Europe and in the US from about 1880 to 2000.  We will read about 30 plays, and we will watch at least a couple of them.  Dramatists studied will include Ibsen, Chekhov, Pirandello, O'Neill, Yeats, Beckett, Pinter, Fugard, Kushner, and Albee. But since this is an English Department course, the emphasis will be on what writers accomplish rather than what actors or readers can make of those accomplishments.  I am especially interested in how dramatists interpret their fundamental materials--real human beings on stage, yet the unreality of theater as staged experience, the difficulties of making a story present rather than telling it, and the problems of addressing an audience by suggesting that concrete figures can represent fundamental needs and desires of audiences.  And the sequence of readings will tell stories about how realism is both necessary in the theater and continually felt as an oppresive limitation.  There will be at least one paper and a final.  Since teachers like plays need audiences, regular attendance is mandatory. 

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