English 150A - Spring, 2018

British Drama to 1800

    Topic: Gender & Sexuality in the Drama of Shakespeare's Contemporaries

Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 223 Olson


    In this course we will read a range of plays from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, focusing in particular on how these plays represent gender and sexuality. The course will be especially interested in how these concerns with gender and sexuality intersected with the material conditions of the theater: what the early modern theater looked like, who acted in the plays, and who came to see them. We will begin by studying several early tragedies concerned with adultery and its relation to crime, asking why adultery is such a popular theme in early modern drama. We will then read several comedies that call attention to the early modern theater’s use of boy actors to play female roles, asking why cross-dressed actors were not only acceptable but enticing for early modern audiences. We will close with several plays about the problem of female chastity, considering why female chastity was valued in early modern English society and how the chaste woman becomes linked to broader concerns about political stability in England.

    Required texts for the class:
    1) Routledge Anthology of Renaissance Drama, edited by Simon Barker and Hilary Hinds; ISBN 978-0415187343.
    2) Plus short coursepack


    Paper 1 25%
    Paper 2 25%
    Take-home final exam 20%
    Quizzes 20%
    Section participation 10%


    The Roaring Girl, Middleton and Dekker
    A Game at Chess, Middleton
    The Changeling, Middleton
    Epicoene, Jonson
    A Woman Killed with Kindness, Heywood
    Knight of the Burning Pestle, Beaumont
    Arden of Faversham, Anon.