ENGL 411
Staging Identities: Selfhood, Theatricality and Performance in Twentieth Century Drama Spring 2010
Division I
Cross-listed THEA 411 / ENGL 411
This is not the current course catalog

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The construction of selfhood is always to some extent a performative act–“All the world’s a stage /And all the men and women merely players” as Shakespeare’s Jacques famously remarks. And that performance is inherently dual, since constituted both for the audience of the wider social world and for the `self’ who seeks to act. Drama as a genre, with its constant negotiation of the competing claims of illusion and the operations of reality, has invariably been centrally interested in the exploration of social identity, in the tensions between public and private selfhood, and in the functions of ‘performance’. In this course we will examine theatre’s response to the challenge of self- fashioning in the modern era, and consider the wider ontological status of performance as a category within the context of twentieth century drama and theatrical staging. Readings will include plays by Chekhov, Pirandello, Beckett, Churchill, Pinter, Walcott, Mamet, Stoppard, Lori-Parks, Friel and others, along with selected criticism, theory, and psychoanalytical writings.
The Class: Format: discussion/seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3691
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two papers totaling about 14 pages, several short responses, active participation in discussion
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course
Enrollment Preferences: English and Theatre majors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
THEA 411 Division I ENGL 411 Division I
Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses

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