English 317, Fall 2006

Gender and Power in Early Modern Theater

Meeting Time: Tuesday 1:00-3:50, Shattuck 203.

Office: 638 Williston Library

Phone: office, 538-2311; home, 253-9166

email pberek@mtholyoke.edu

Office Hours, Monday and Wednesday, 1:30-3:30, and by appointment.

How is gender represented, and how is power gendered, in plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries and successors? Examples: unruly Alice Arden murdering her husband, Kate "tamed" in The Taming of the Shrew, Fletcher's "reply," The Tamer Tamed, and Middleton and Dekker's Roaring Girl, Moll Cutpurse. Topics such as boy actors, cross-dressing, early modern theories of sexuality and the cultural construction of same-sex relationships. Readings in plays by such writers as Kyd, Marlowe, Jonson, Elizabeth Cary, Beaumont and Fletcher, Dekker, Middleton, Webster and Ford, and in recent criticism. Substantial opportunity for independent work reflecting each student's own interests.

Satisfies Humanities I-A requirement

P. Berek

Prereq. 8 credits in department beyond English 101 or permission of instructor; 4 credits; enrollment limited to 15; 1 meeting (3 hours); satisfies English department pre-1700 requirement; satisfies English department seminar requirement


Texts for Fall 2006 (available at Odyssey Bookstore)


English Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology, ed. David Bevington et. al. New York, W. W. Norton, 2002.

Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion, ed. Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr., Patrick Cheney and Andrew Hadfield. New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 2006.

Writing and speaking assignments:

Each student, each week, is reponsible for posting a comment or question about the week's reading assignments on the course on-line disussion board in WebCT. Postings are due by 5 PM of the Monday before class.

Each student will submit a short (about 5 page) paper at midsemester and a substantial paper involving independent research at the end of the semester. You should aim for a length of about 15 pages in your research paper. As early in the semester as you conveniently can, you should discuss your plans for both papers with the instructor. Some students may decide to use the long paper as a chance to pursue further issues that arise in the short paper, but you are not required to do so. There will not be a final exam.

Each student will give a 10-minute report to the whole class on her long paper project. You may want to speak in some depth about one section of your long paper rather than trying to summarize the whole argument. The oral report, a "first draft" of your paper, gives you a chance to test out your ideas and receive advice from the class (including the instructor) at a time when you still have ample opportunity to revise your work.