Fall ’18: ENGL 574 – Villainy and Vice in Renaissance and Restoration Drama (Special Topics)

ONLINE – Prof. Katja Pilhuj (Citadel)
(Fulfills a British Literature before 1800 requirement)

Critics decrying the moral bankruptcy of entertainment is nothing new: English playwrights of the 1500s and 1600s had no problem staging all kinds of crimes and misbehaviors, provoking alarmed commentary on the degenerate effects of the theater. Yet, villains and vice were a featured and even celebrated part in much drama of the period. This course will read a range of plays from 1589 to 1700 in order to explore not just the appeal of immorality, but also the era’s ideologies of “bad behavior” and the characters who exhibit such conduct.  Some of the questions we will ask of these texts: which behaviors did men and women consider immoral in the early modern period? Why? Did those attitudes change over the course of the period? What fears or anxieties do those ideas of immorality reveal? Are these depictions always meant to be a warning? When and why do some plays celebrate the villain? What roles do gender and class play in judging behavior? How have attitudes toward these behaviors changed in the twenty-first century? How might shifts in perspective over time contribute to the staging choices in recent productions or film adaptations of these plays?

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

Skip to toolbar