Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Topics in Literature: Dramatizing Histories cancelled

ENGL 016.302
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

Imaginative reconstruction of the personal, private, and very human moments which surround historical figures and events can be hard to resist.  Authors, playwrights, visual artists, and film makers often indulge in these dramatic flights of historical fancy, and audiences revel at the chance to time travel.  How delightful to play the voyeur =96 spying on Richard of Gloucester as he plots for the throne of England, sitting in the jury box at the trial of Oscar Wilde, joining a master class for opera singers given by Maria Callas, or watching the Cuban Missile Crisis unfold behind the scenes.  In this course we will explore artistic works which take historical facts and flesh them out dramatically. We will pursue not only audience perception and the limits (if any) on artistic license, but also raise the question of how one processes historical research.  Given a set of =93facts=94 about a person, event, or era, how far can/should a responsible scholar go in drawing conclusions?  We will look at works by a range of artists working in diverse genres.  This course is intended for those who are intrigued by history, plays, films, art, and experiencing the past through intelligent imagining.