This course seeks to place some representative late Elizabethan and Jacobean dramas in the culture of their times. We shall ask how conditions of performance by child and adult acting companies in outdoor and indoor theaters as well as at court affect the notion of "entertainment." We shall examine how the plays situate themselves in relation to some of the period's vexing problems, such as the definition of gender and marriage, the exercise of power (in its religious, social, economic, as well as political aspects). The plays to be discussed are Dekker's _The Shoemaker's Holiday_ and _The Roaring Girl_, Marston's _The Malcontent_, Chapman's _Bussy D'Ambois_ and _The Widow's Tears_, Tourneur's (Middleton's) _A Chaste Maid in Cheapside_ and _Women Beware Women_, Webster's _The White Devil_ and _Duchess of Malfi_, Jonson's _Everyman In His Humor_, _Epicoene_, _The Alchemist_, and _Bartholomew Fair_. Accompanying these plays will be a book of contemporary essays to acquaint us with the advantages and shortcomings of some current
approaches to these plays.