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
prof. dr. M.C.M. Corporaal
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. M.C.M. Corporaal
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. M.C.M. Corporaal
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2021
PER 1-PER 2  (30/08/2021 to 30/01/2022)
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.

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information


Assumed previous knowledge
B2 ‘British Literature and Culture of the 17th and 18th Century’, B2 ‘Dead or Alive? The Contemporary British Novel’, B3 ‘Fools and Furies: The Early Modern Stage’, B2 ‘Screening the Novel’, B2 ‘Beyond Britishness’, B2 ‘British Popular Culture’ na B1 ‘Reading Literature’ of een vergelijkbare cursus.

Required materials
Additional materials on Brightspace
Title:Additional materials on Brightspace

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:The Rover and Other Plays
Author:Aphra Behn
Publisher:Oxford University Press, Oxford World's Classics, 2008.
Author:William Shakespeare
Publisher:The Oxford Shakespeare, 2008
Title:The Country Wife and Other Plays
Author:William Wycherley
Publisher:Oxford University Press, Oxford World's Classics, 2008.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes


Duo Presentation
Test weight20
Test typeOral exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 2

Minimum grade

Take-home exam 1
Test weight40
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 2

Minimum grade

Take-home exam 2
Test weight40
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2, Block PER 3

Minimum grade