ENGL 345: Modern Drama

TREPLEV: What we need’s a new kind of theatre. New forms are what we need, and if we haven’t got them we’d be a sight better off with nothing at all.
–from Anton Chekhov, The Seagull [1896]. Five Plays. Trans. Ronald Hingley. Oxford UP, 2008: 70.

(A CLOWN explodes.)
—stage direction from Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (I.ii). Trans. Beverley Keith & G. Legman. Dover, 2003: 22.

Lectures: Mondays and Wednesdays, 16:15-17:30, in H-1011

First class: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Course description: This course covers some of the most significant playwrights and plays of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as two post-War plays by Samuel Beckett and Caryl Churchill. From Naturalism and Symbolism to the Absurd and Epic Theatre, modern theatre questions the fundamental features of its genre throughout much of its history: the centrality of action, the necessity of plot, the Fourth Wall, the “reality” of characters, and a clear moral centre. In addition to the plays, we will read a selection of short theoretical works by playwrights and critics from Artaud and Brecht to Yeats and Zola.

Click these links for course assignments, reading schedule, and policies & writing resources.

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