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.
The English stage from the well-made play to the Absurd, and beyond.
The module will deal with a selection of nineteenth and twentieth-century dramatic texts in order to offer an overview of the English stage from the late nineteenth century to the second half of the twentieth century. Starting from the tradition of the well-made play of Arthur Wing Pinero the module will then explore George Bernard’s Shaw comedy of ideas. The next step of the investigation will lead to William Butler Yeats’ symbolist theatrical experiment and will be carried on by looking at later twentieth-century theatre practices such as Arnold Wesker’s social drama as well as Samuel Beckett’s and Harold Pinter’s dramaturgy that deliberately abandons rational constructs and refuses the logical and consequential function of language.
Please be advised
Students are required to do all the readings indicated in the two sections below: 1. Primary Texts, 2. References
Further details on required readings and general information on bibliographical material will be provided during classes.
Language: lectures will be held in Italian; primary texts will be read in English.
Futher material will be available for download from the MOODLE e-repository.
1. Primary texts (any English or parallel edition)
- A.W. Pinero, The Second Mrs Tanqueray
- G.B. Shaw, Mrs Warren’s Profession
- W.B. Yeats, The Dreaming of the Bones (free download available at: https://archive.org/details/fourplaysfordanc00yeatuoft)
- S. Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape
- A. Wesker, Chicken Soup with Barley
- H. Pinter, Old Times
- H. A. Wozniak, “The Play with a Past: Arthur Wing Pinero’s New Drama”, Victorian Literature and Culture, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2009), pp. 391-409 (available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions).
- K. Powell, “New Women, new plays, and Shaw in the 1890s”, in The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw, ed. by C. Innes, CUP, pp. 76-100.
- B. O’Donoghue, “Yeats and the drama”, in The Cambridge Companion to William Butler Yeats, CUP, 2006, pp. 101-114.
- P. Lawley, “Stages of identity: from Krapp’s Last Tape to Play”, in The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett, ed. by J. Pilling, CUP, 1994, pp. 88-105.
- 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.
|Arnold Wesker||Chicken Soup with Barley||Qualsiasi edizione inglese / Any English edition||1960||Testo primario / Primary text|
|Alice Rayner||“Harold Pinter: Narrative and Presence”||Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 482-97||1988||Testo secondario; pp. 482-497 / Secondary text; pp. 482-497|
|Samuel Beckett||Krapp's Last Tape||qualsiasi edizione in inglese / any English edition||1958||Testo primario / Primary text|
|George Bernard Shaw||Mrs Warren's Profession||qualsiasi edizione in inglese / any English edition||1894||Testo primario / Primary text|
|Kerry Powell||“New Women, new plays, and Shaw in the 1890s”, in The Cambridge Companion to George Bernard Shaw, ed. by C. Innes||Cambridge University Press||1998||Testo secondario; pp. 76-100 / Secondary text; pp. 76-100|
|Harold Pinter||Old Times||Qualsiasi edizione inglese / Any English edition||1971||Testo primario / Primary text|
|Paul Lawley||“Stages of identity: from Krapp’s Last Tape to Play”, in The Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett, ed. by John Pilling||Cambridge University Press||1994||Testo secondario; pp. 88-105 / Secondary text; pp. 88-105|
|William Butler Yeats||The Dreaming of the Bones||Macmillan||1921||Testo primario; scaricabile gratuitamente all’indirizzo: https://archive.org/details/fourplaysfordanc00yeatuoft / Primary text; free download available at: https://archive.org/details/fourplaysfordanc00yeatuoft|
|Glenda Leeming, Simon Trussler||The Plays of Arnold Wesker. An Assessment||Victor Gollancz||1971||Testo secondario; pp. 43-87 / Secondary text; pp. 43-87|
|Heather Anne Wozniack||“The Play with a Past: Arthur Wing Pinero’s New Drama”, Victorian Literature and Culture, Vol. 37, No. 2||Articolo su rivista / Journal article||2009||Testo secondario; pp. 391-409; scaricabile da Jstor – v. istruzioni per l’accesso su MOODLE / Secondary text; pp. 391-409; available on Jstor – see MOODLE for instructions|
|Arthur Wing Pinero||The Second Mrs Tanqueray||Qualsiasi edizione inglese / Any English edition||1893||Testo primario / Primary text|
|Keir Elam||The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama||Routledge||2005||Testo secondario; pp. 1-113 / Secondary text; pp. 1-113|
|Bernard O'Donoghue||“Yeats and the drama”, in The Cambridge Companion to W.B. Yeats, ed. by Marjorie Howes and John Kelly||Cambridge University Press||2006||Testo secondario; pp. 101-114 / Secondary text; pp. 101-114|
The exam will consist in an oral discussion (in Italian) that will test the knowledge of the module’s topics (texts and authors) as well as the use of an approriate vocabulary. Students may be required to read and comment on passages taken from primary texts (Bibliography: 1. Primary Texts).
There will be no mid-term tests.