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EN353 Early Modern Drama

**Click here for syllabus and details for 2019-20** 

From 2019/20, there will be two new module codes:
Intermediate Year: EN2F1
Final Year: EN3F1
*Please ensure that you register for the correct code for your year of study*

Lecture: Monday 11:00-12:00, Seminar: Monday 12:00-1:00. (Term 1)

Revision Session

11 am - 1 pm, Friday 3rd May 2019. Ramphal R0.03.




I have begun uploading secondary reading for this module on the library website which can be accessed digitally, but your primary assignment is to read -- and reread -- the playtexts week by week.

This module will be taught in Autumn 2018 by Carol Rutter and delivered by one 2-hour hour seminar per week, consisting of a mini-lecture followed by seminar discussion of the week's play text. Students should sign up for one seminar slot.

Weekly reading:
1. Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy
2. Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay
3. Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus
4. Anonymous, Arden of Faversham
5. Ben Jonson, Volpone
7. John Fletcher, The Woman's Prize
8. Middleton and Dekker, The Roaring Girl
9. Middleton and Rowley, The Changeling
10. John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

The first seminar will be in Week 1 of Autumn Term.

Seminars times: Mondays 10 - 12; Tuesdays 4 - 6

A link to further week by week reading will be notified in mid-September. Over the summer, students should concentrate on reading the play texts. The course book for this module is English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology, edited by David Bevington, Lars Engle, Katharine Eisaman Maus and Eric Rasmussen. Students are, however, welcome to use single-play editions of the texts if they prefer.


This one-term module can be paired with EN352 Restoration Drama to make a coherent two-term option on English drama and its contexts 1574-1709, but students are welcome to pair it with any other 15 CATS module as they wish.

Students will be expected to contribute regularly to seminar discussions.

This module explores the drama of Shakespeare's contemporaries in the golden age of English theatre. It will pay particular attention to the playing conditions of the time which were affected both by the physical resources of the stage and the political context into which these works intervened. We will also take note of early modern literary criticism to discover how playwrights interacted with these ideas in their work. As we read some of the most famous plays of the period, we will develop an understanding of its major dramatic trends, the plays' significance in relation to Shakespeare and to their classical precursors and the ways in which they reflect the political, religious and social concerns of their time.

It is the intention of this module to initiate conversations with other modules as well as between the texts. Students taking this module will find common ground with EN301 Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time, EN302 European Theatre, and EN228 Seventeenth Century as well as with a number one-term modules.

Further Reading

Each week there will be short additional readings to help you understand the play in its context. These are generally sourced from e-books available via the library website, or scanned and made available via the library's module extracts page. Here are some more suggestions for further reading. Starred items are particularly recommended.

G.E. Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage (7 vols.; Oxford, 1941)
E.K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage (4 vols.; Oxford, 1923, repr. 2009)
Brian Gibbons, Jacobean City Comedy (2nd ed., Methuen, 1980)
*Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearean Stage 1574-1642 (4th ed.; Cambridge, 2009)
Lisa Jardine, Still Harping on Daughters (2nd ed., Brighton: Harvester, 1989)
John Kerrigan, Revenge Tragedy (Oxford, 1996)
Brian Vickers (ed.), English Renaissance Literary Criticism (Oxford, 2003)
*Peter Womack, English Renaissance Drama (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)

Ebooks (via Warwick University Library)
A. R. Braunmuller and Michael Hattaway, The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama (2nd ed.; Cambridge, 2003)
*Arthur Kinney (ed.), A Companion to Renaissance Drama (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002)
Michael Hattaway (ed.), A Companion to Renaissance Literature and Culture (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2003)
Emma Smith (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy (Cambridge, 2010)


Students will write a 3000-word essay (50%) and take a 1hr exam (50%). Essays will be on topics to be agreed with the module convenor.