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Renaissance Drama: Romancing the Globe

ENGL 226.301
MW 2-3:30

“Traffic and travel has woven the nature of all nations into ours,” wrote one Renaissance playwright.  “If we present a mingle-mangle, our fault is to be excused, because the whole world has become a hodge-podge.”  The drama of the English Renaissance developed during a period of unprecedented expansion in global exploration and trade.  In this course, we will consider how playwrights and theater companies responded to these historical circumstances.  What kinds of stories and plays did they find most adaptable to representing travel overseas?  Which sources did they draw on?  What strategies did they use for staging and performing the foreign and exotic?  These questions will open us to discussions on a broad range of topics, from race and gender to genre and poetic form.  Our readings will cover a variety of early modern playwrights, including Shakespeare, but also many of his lesser known contemporaries, as well as secondary critical readings.  Course requirements will include class discussion, a shorter essay, and a longer final research paper.

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