Department of english literature third year courses




НазваниеDepartment of english literature third year courses
Дата28.12.2012
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DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LITERATURE
THIRD YEAR COURSES


SEMESTER ONE - CORE PERIOD COURSE

TRAGEDY, HISTORY AND SOVEREIGNTY IN LATE MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN POETRY AND DRAMA

Course Organiser: Dr Dermot Cavanagh




This course will consider tragic poetry and drama as contributions to an enduring debate over sovereignty; its focus will be on the mode of 'tragical history'. The course will explore how a variety of tragic writing uses the past to examine where the power of the state should be vested. Through a range of late medieval and early modern texts we will investigate how tragic writing explores the nature of authority, who possesses it and who is entitled to it. A set of key political issues will be concentrated upon: the representation of monarchy, the role of counsel, obedience and resistance, legitimacy, courts and courtiership, aristocratic and popular revolt.

The course will begin by examining a crucial mode of tragic writing: the 'fall of princes'. The function and concerns of this mode will be examined in relation to fourteenth century poetry as well as its renewal in the sixteenth century. The latter will involve considering continuities between historical poetry and the plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare. In its second part, we will concentrate on early modern drama that represents 'foreign' or remote areas of the past where these key political questions are of critical concern. This will include examining theatre concerned with Rome, the 'oriental' past and biblical drama. The course will consider the ways in which political crisis is depicted in tragic writing and its capacity to draw on a variety of political ideas, traditions and conceptions of the state: royalist, republican, and 'commonwealth'.

Set Texts and Seminar Schedule

Weeks 1 to 5

The Fall of Princes




Chaucer, The Monk's Tale




Lydgate, The Fall of Princes




The Mirror for Magistrates




Marlowe, Edward II




Shakespeare, Richard II

Weeks 6 to 11

Tragical Histories




Marlowe, Tamburlaine, Parts 1 and 2




Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus




Shakespeare, Julius Caesar




Elizabeth Gary, The Tragedy of Mariam

Week 8

= Essay completion week

Selected further reading:

H. A. Kelly, Chaucerian Tragedy

John Drakakis & Naomi Liebler (eds), Tragedy

John Drakakis (ed), Shakespearean Tragedy

Catherine Belsey, The Subject of Tragedy

Terry Eagleton, Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic

Jonathan Dollimore, Radical Tragedy: Relgion, Ideology and Power in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

R W Bushnell, Tragedies of Tyrants: Political Thought and Theater in the English Renaissance


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