Fools and Furies: The Early Modern Stage
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-ETCENB302
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; English Language and Culture;
prof. dr. M.C.M. Corporaal
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. M.C.M. Corporaal
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
PER 1-PER 2  (01/09/2018 to 01/02/2019)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksAccessible to exchange students.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course, the student:
• will be able to critically analyze drama from the seventeenth and early eighteenth century in the context of the most important cutural and historical developments in that period and against the background of contemporary perceptions of theatre and the stage;
• has a profound knowledge of the cultural, political and economic infrastructures of the early modern English theatre world in its variety of forms, such as courtly theatre, closet drama and the public stage.
• should have a comprehensive awareness of the generic varieties (e.g. the courtly masque, pastoral comedy, revenge tragedy, Oriental She tragedy) and development of early modern British drama during the long seventeenth century;
• can explain the function of theatrical effects and conventions in early modern plays and their later adaptations.
The seventeenth century has often been heralded as the Golden Age of British drama, in particular because of the established reputation of playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe. Drama from the English Renaissance and Restoration era is, however, much richer in variety than the oeuvre of these acclaimed dramatists. During this course we will examine the diverse manifestations of drama in this period, exploring the wide range of settings (the public playhouse, the court, the countryhouse) in which plays were performed, the infrastructures that played a role in the staging and publication of drama as well as ideas about stagecraft and acting that informed dramatic production. Early modern theatre was an important tool to legitimize Royal authority, and we will investigate representations of state and monarch as well as representations of nationality, the city, class and male-female relationships in plays that cover various subgenres, such as the courtly pageant, Senecan closet drama, the history play, revenge tragedy and the comedy of manners. While we will read key texts by major playwrights such as Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and William Wycherley, we will also discuss drama by lesser known female writers, such as Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn and Susanna Centlivre. Additionally, we will pay attention to the Nachleben of Shakespeare’s drama on stage and on screen.
Assumed previous knowledge
B1 course Reading Literature or comparable introductory course in literary theory.

Note for exchange students: you cannot take this course if your English proficiency level is not at least C1 (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or Cambridge). A statement from your home university won't be accepted.

Recommended materials
Title:The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, volume 1
Title:Renaissance Drama: An Anthology of Plays and Entertainment. 2nd edition.
Author:Arthur F. Kinney
Publisher:Blackwell, 2004
Title:Restoration Drama: An Anthology
Author:David Wormersley
Publisher:Blackwell, 2000
Author:William Shakespeare
Publisher:The Oxford Shakespeare, 2008
Title:Additional materials on Blackboard.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes


Duo Presentation
Test weight20
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 2

Minimum grade

Test weight30
Test typeEssay
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 2

Minimum grade

Test weight50
Test typeWritten exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2, Block PER 3

Minimum grade