Fulfills General Requirement III: Arta & Letters
Usually considered an Age of Poetry, the half-century that comprised the Romantic period saw two (American and French) revolutions, two decades years (1792-1801, 1803-1815) of world war, the cultural and critical ascendancy of the novel, and an utter transformation of the drama. This seminar, therefore, will focus on the relation between canonical British Romanticism and its most popular cultural form: the theater. We will read plays not only by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelly, and Byron, but also by Elizabeth Inchbald, Joanna Baillie, Hannah Cowley, George Colman the Younger, and Thomas John Dibdin. We'll focus especially on what happens to comedy and tragedy in these years of spectacle and circuses, and will read approximately one essay per week on theater history to keep us grounded in the real, material conditions of stage and stagecraft.