English 166

Special Topics: Classical & Renaissance Drama

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2018 Knapp, Jeffrey
TTh 3:30-5 300 Wheeler Pre-1800 Requirement
Renaissance and Early Modern
Special Topics

Book List

Aeschylus: The Oresteia; Aristophanes: The Clouds; Euripedes: The Bacchae; Marlowe, Christopher: Doctor Faustus; Plautus: The Menaechmus Twins; Seneca: Thyestes; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet; Shakespeare, William: The Comedy of Errors; Shakespeare, William: Twelfth Night; Sophocles: Antigone; Sophocles: Oedipus the King

Other Readings and Media

A course reader (available at Copy Central on Bancroft) will include critical readings as well as further plays.


In a poem for the first edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays in 1623, his fellow playwright Ben Jonson expressed a characteristic ambivalence about classical drama.  On the one hand, he praised it as the standard by which all subsequent playwriting should be judged, while on the other hand, he derided “insolent Greece” and “haughty Rome” for having fallen short of Shakespeare.  Jonson did not stop to consider the difficulties of comparing plays that derive from different eras, different cultures, and different conceptions of the theater.  But our class will.  At the same time, we will explore how Renaissance dramatists both imitated their extraordinary precursors and strove to outdo them.

This section of English 166 satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Gothic Duncan, Ian
166/2 Special Topics: Marxism and Literature Gonzalez, Marcial
166/4 Special Topics: Poetry and Prose of Race and Social Class Giscombe, Cecil S.
166/5 Special Topics: Asian American Literature - World, Nation, Locality Leong, Andrew Way
166/6 Special Topics: Realism, Then and Now Cordes Selbin, Jesse
166/7 Special Topics: Anton Chekhov Muza, Anna
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/2 Special Topics: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
166/3 Special Topics: Journeys: British World-Building, c. 700-1700 Miller, Jasmin
166/4 Special Topics: "this morning's minion": Sonic Mysticism in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Emily Dickinson Stancek, Claire Marie
166/5 Special Topics Le, Serena
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Comedy & Violence Flynn, Catherine
166/2 Special Topics: Romantic Science Goldstein, Amanda Jo
166/4 Special Topics: Marxism & Literature Lye, Colleen
166/5 Special Topics: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
166/6 Special Topics: Speculative Fiction Jones, Donna V.
Summer, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Speculative Fictions, Possible Futures O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
166/2 Special Topics: Games of Thrones, Medieval to Modern Strub, Spencer
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/3 Special Topics: Black Science Fiction Serpell, C. Namwali
166/4 Special Topics: Writing Poetry and Nonfiction, Writing as Social Practice Giscombe, Cecil S.
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
166/1 Special Topics: Marxism and Literature Lye, Colleen
166/2 Special Topics: Studies in Literature and Environment (Shelter and Weather) Francois, Anne-Lise
166/3 Special Topics: Slavery and Conspiracy Wagner, Bryan
166/4 Special Topics: Literature in the Century of Film Goble, Mark
166/5 Special Topics: Modern Irish Literature Falci, Eric

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