The module aims at offering an overview of late-nineteenth to twentieth-century English drama, as well as at presenting the students with the basics of textual analysis. On successful completion of the module, students will achieve a good knowledge of the cultural context in which the texts included in the programme were composed. They will be able to develop a coherent and detailed interpretation of the texts, apply key methods and concepts relevant to textual analysis, and provide a plausible critical interpretation in a register and style that serve the context and intention.
Theatre and communication: words and silence on the late twentieth-century British stage
The module will deal with a selection of late twentieth-century dramatic texts in order to offer an overview of British theatre after the World War II with special regard to how the problem of communication is introduced and acted on the stage. Starting from John Osborne’s ‘Theatre of Anger’, herald of an improbable as well as ‘shouted’ emancipation, the module will explore Arnold Wesker’s social drama, whose characters fight against apathy and communicative deficiency, Samuel Beckett’s theatre and of absurd, rooted in dynamics of alienation and communicative closure, and Harold Pinter’s dramaturgy that deliberately abandons rational constructs and refuses the logical and consequential function of language leading to the failure of communication itself.
Please be advised
Language: lectures will be held in Italian; primary texts will be read in English.
Further materials (slides, images, videos, etc.) will be used in class and will later be available for download from the MOODLE e-repository.
Students are required to do all the readings indicated in the three sections below:
1. Primary Texts
3. References for non-attending students
1. Primary texts
- J. Osborne, Look Back in Anger (Faber and Faber, 1996)
- A. Wesker, Chicken Soup with Barley e Roots (Methuen, 2003)
- S. Beckett, Waiting for Godot (Faber and Faber, 2009)
- H. Pinter, Old Times (Faber and Faber, 2004)
- H. Pinter, Ashes to Ashes (Dramatist’s Play Service, 2009)
- A. M. Adams, “Look Back in Realism: The Making and Unmaking of Dramatic Form in the Reception of the British New Wave”, The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring, 2007), pp. 75-86 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- A. Cascetta, Il tragico e l’umorismo: studio sulla drammaturgia di Samuel Beckett, Le Lettere, 2000, pp. 17-76.
- G. Leeming and S. Trussler, The Plays of Arnold Wesker. An Assessment, Victor Gollancz, 1971, pp. 43-87.
- A. Rayner, “Harold Pinter: Narrative and Presence”, Theatre Journal , Vol. 40, No. 4 (December 1988), pp. 482-497 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- K. Elam, The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama, Routlegde, 2005, pp. 1-113.
3. References for non-attending students
- M. Corsani, Il nuovo teatro inglese (Mursia, 1982), pp. 7-43; 53-114.
- M. M. Reiter, “Old Times Revisited: Harold Pinter’s Ashes to Ashes”, AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1997), pp. 173-194 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
Further details on required readings and general information on bibliographical material will be provided during classes.
Other teaching materials (slides, images, videos, etc.) that will be used in class will be avaible for download from the MOODLE e-repository. Their contents do not substitute but complement the mandatory readings listed in the BIBLIOGRAPHY section above.
|Harold Pinter||Ashes to Ashes||Dramatist’s Play Service||2009|
|Arnold Wesker||Chicken Soup with Barley||Methuen||2003|
|Alice Rayner||“Harold Pinter: Narrative and Presence”||Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 482-97||1988|
|Mary Corsani||Il nuovo teatro inglese||Mursia||1983||pp. 7-43; 53-114|
|Annamaria Cascetta||Il tragico e l’umorismo: studio sulla drammaturgia di Samuel Beckett (pp. 17-76)||Le Lettere||2000||pp. 17-76|
|John Osborne||Look Back in Anger||Faber and Faber||1996|
|Anne Marie Adams||“Look Back in Realism: The Making and Unmaking of Dramatic Form in the Reception of the British New Wave”||The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 75-86||2007|
|Harold Pinter||Old Times||Faber and Faber||2004|
|Manuela M. Reiter||“Old Times Revisited: Harold Pinter’s Ashes to Ashes”||AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 173-194||1997|
|Glenda Leeming, Simon Trussler||The Plays of Arnold Wesker. An Assessment||Victor Gollancz||1971||pp. 43-87|
|Keir Elam||The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama||Routledge||2005||pp. 1-113|
|Samuel Beckett||Waiting for Godot||Faber and Faber||2009|
Typology: oral exam. There will be no mid-term tests.
The exam will consist in an oral discussion (in Italian) that will test the knowledge of the module’s topics (texts and authors). Students will be required to analyse and critically evaluate the primary texts also by contextualizing them in their historical, dramatic, and cultural background. Assessment will consider: 1. the knowledge and comprehension of dramatic texts, 2. the development of good analytical and synthetic skill levels with regard to the main historical, cultural, textual, and critical topics of the module, 3. the use of an appropriate vocabulary.