English Majors! There is still room in this great course for fall taught by Professor Katherine Keller. It will, of course, fulfill a pre-1700 requirement … but it will also be one of the best courses you take with us.
Professor Katherine Keller
Shakespeare’s preeminent role in the early modern English theatre has unfortunately overshadowed the work of his extraordinary contemporaries. Playwrights such as Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlow, Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, John Ford and many others successfully and astutely created the theatre in which Shakespeare thrived. Their deconstruction of the human psyche, the human body, and the society and culture of Tudor and Stuart England provides us with an alternative and valuable perspective on their world. Their plays explore our violent natures and reflect the violence of a society that publicly dismembered its outliers. They chronicle the rise of the middle class and England’s campaign to replace the Italian states as merchant to the world. They allow us to view a monarchy already sensing the limitations on its powers. As they dissected the world around them they also entertained and engaged their audience, creating a culture of theatre that has helped to shape our sense of the world.
We will read seven or eight of these seminal works and examine them through the lens of our time and their own. If there are appropriate performances we will attend as a group. Assignments will include papers and essay exams, and, if class size permits, some group work.