English 203

Graduate Readings: Poetry, Theater, and Visual Culture in the Renaissance

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2010 Altman, Joel B.
Altman, Joel
TTh 2-3:30 223 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Jonson, B.: Five Plays by Ben Jonson, ed. Wilkes; Nashe, T.: The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works, ed. Steane; Shakespeare, W.: The Winter’s Tale, ed. Orgel; Shakespeare, W.: Sonnets and Poems, ed. Mowat and Werstein; Spenser, E.: Edmund Spenser’s Poetry, ed. Maclean and Prescott; Webster, J.: The Duchess of Malfi, ed. Gibbons; Course Reader


This course will be structured as a scholarly detective story, driven by a question that has never been satisfactorily answered: how did “that rare Italian master, Julio Romano”—prized pupil of Raphael; designer of sexually explicit engravings for the scandalous sonetti l ussuriosi of Pietro Aretino; supervisor of artistic works at the court of Federico Gonzaga, first Duke of Mantua--enter the Shakespeare canon as the alleged creator of a simulated statue in The Winter’s Tale, the only Renaissance artist Shakespeare mentions by name? Lines of approach will be biographical, religious, intertextual, and aesthetic. In pursuit of an acceptable answer we’ll map a multi-media, trans-national cultural movement, studying the relationships among written, aural, and visual arts in the Renaissance—poetry, prose fiction, drama, masque, erotica, engraving, painting, scenic design, sculpture, and architecture—focusing on the English-Italian connection. We’ll consult primary sources by Aretino, Greene, Jonson, Marston, Nashe, Shakespeare, Spenser, and Webster, as well as 16th and early 17th century writers on the visual arts; and secondary sources by recent literary, theater, and art historians. One short paper (8-10 pages) and one long paper (about 20 pages) will be required.

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