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EN365 Georgian Drama

This module is a Distributional Requirement for the Theory, World and North American Pathways and an option for the English Pathway. THIS MODULE IS WORTH 15 CATS

Convenor: David Francis Taylor (


This module will explore the drama of Georgian Britain, a period once neglected and maligned by critics and theatre historians but now the subject of considerable scholarly engagement. We will look at the range and devlopment of genres and modes (comedy, tragedy, pantomime, burlesque, farce, comic opera) and also the "whole show" (the staging of and relationship between mainpiece and afterpiece). We will attend closely to the conditions in which dramas were performed and to the use of theatre to stage and negotiate national, racial, and sexual identities issues during a period that witnessed the emergence and rapid expansion of Britain's empire, the beginnings of the industrial revolution, the establishment of theatrical censorship, and the consecration of Shakespeare as the national poet. In addition to the study of plays, we will also consider contemporaneous depictions of theatre and theatricality in other genres, such as the novel and the poem.

Teaching Method: 1.5 hour seminar each week

Assessment: 100% assessed (1 x 5000 word essay) or 50%/50% (1 x 3000 word essay + 1 hour examination).


Week 1 Introduction

Week 2 SHE-TRAGEDY: Nicholas Rowe, Jane Shore (1714)

Week 3 SENTIMENTAL COMEDY: Richard Steele, The Conscious Lovers (1722)

Week 4 BURLESQUE: Henry Fielding, The Tragedy of Tragedies (1731) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Critic (1779)

Week 5 ROMANTIC THEATRICALITY: Joanna Baillie, De Monfort (1798) and William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book 7 (1805).

Week 6 Reading Week

Week 7 PERFORMANCE IN THE HOME: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (1813) and Elizabeth Inchbald, Lovers’ Vows (1798)

Week 8 A NIGHT AT THE THEATRE 1 (Drury Lane, 28/12/1807): George Lillo, The London Merchant (1731) and Furibond; or Harlequin Negro (1807)

Week 9 THE INVENTION OF SHAKESPEARE: Samuel Johnson, preface to The Plays of Shakespeare (1765); David Garrick, Jubilee Ode on Shakespeare (1769); Charles Somerset, Shakspeare’s Early Days (1829)

Week 10 A NIGHT AT THE THEATRE 2 (Haymarket, 8/8/1787): George Colman, Inkle and Yarico (1787) and Elizabeth Inchbald, The Mogul Tale (1784)

**This module will be taught using a course reader that will include all set plays.**