- Syllabus for a Tutorial Class in Modern English Literature
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754 ] Syllabus for a Tutorial Class in Modern English Literature London: University of London Press, 1918.1 ELIZABETHAN LITERATURE I. THE EARLIEST FORMS OF DRAMA (1) Popular festival and religious rite. The “liturgical” drama. The Guild plays. Difference between “miracle” plays, “moralities,” and “interludes.” Examination of several examples. Their peculiar charm and their essential dramatic qualities. Read: Everyman, Abraham and Isaac, and the Second Shepherds Play. II. THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING (2) The Renaissance in England, and its effect upon the Drama. John Bale and Heywood. Influence of humanism not always beneficial. Study of Latin literature: Seneca and Plautus. Beginnings of blank verse. Development of set tragedy and comedy. Italian influence. Read: Gorboduc or Ralph Roister Doister. III. THE ELIZABETHAN STAGE (3) Popularity of the Theatre. The theatres of Shakespeare’s time: their construction , the audience, its character and its demands, the players and their life. The playwright: his task and his life. The continuous adaptation of old plays to current needs. Why Elizabethan life and thought found its most adequate expression in the theatre. Read: The first chapters of G. P. Baker: Development of Shakespeare as a Dramatist. IV. KYD: THE FIRST IMPORTANT DRAMATIST (4) HisSpanishTragedyanalysed.Itsgreatpopularity.The“tragedyofblood.” Comparison with Titus Andronicus and Hamlet. First appearance of stock situations. Kyd the probable author of Arden of Feversham, a unique attempt at tragedy based on contemporary events. Why was this kind of realism not more popular? Read: The Spanish Tragedy or Arden of Feversham. V. CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (5-6) The greatest poet since Chaucer and the greatest dramatist before Shakespeare. What is known of his life. His originality. His verse in [ 755 Syllabus: Modern English Literature (Elizabethan) Tamburlaine. His intellect in Faustus: comparison with Goethe’s handling of the same legend. Importance of the “chronicle play.” Marlowe’s Edward II compared with Shakespeare’s Richard II. Marlowe’s Jew of Malta compared with the Merchant of Venice. Characterisationintheworkofthetwodramatists.MonotonyofMarlowe’s dramatic verse compared with Shakespeare’s at his best. Read: Dr. Faustus, andeitherEdwardIIwithRichardII,ortheJewofMaltawiththeMerchant of Venice. Marlowe’s minor plays: Dido Queen of Carthaqe. Two men influenced by Marlowe: Peele and Greene, and their relation to him. Read: James IV (Greene) or the Old Wives’ Tale (Peele). VI. THE CHRONICLE PLAY (7) Examination of the True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York with Richard III and Henry VI for traces of Marlowe, Peele, Greene, and Shakespeare. Henry IV as a play by Shakespeare. VII. EUPHUISM (8) The work of John Lyly. The style of Euphues and of Lyly’s plays. Its Spanish sources; its popularity. Influence upon Shakespeare. Read: Lyly’s Endymion and Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. VIII. SHAKESPEARE (9-10) The early Shakespeare and his relation to the foregoing summed up. His work as an adapter; its value for his progress. In what ways are his early plays inferior and superior to Marlowe’s work? His early use of sources. Read: Two Gentlemen of Verona or Comedy of Errors. Criticism of these two plays. The mature Shakespeare. Study of a mature play: Measure for Measure; the thought and the versification. His early faults and their disappearance. King Lear; comparison with the original play of that name. Read: Measure for Measure. The later Shakespeare. Do the great tragedies exceed the possibilities of the stage? Lamb’s views on this subject. Characteristics of Shakespeare’s old age. Read: Coriolanus, or the Winter’s Tale, or Antony and Cleopatra. Shakespeare’s relation to his time. IX. NON-DRAMATIC POETRY (11) EnglishpoetryafterChaucer.Tudorverse,andversetranslation:Gawain Douglas, Golding, the poets of “Tottel’s Miscellany.” Surrey and Wyatt. Blank verse. Marlowe as poet: his Hero and Leander compared with 1918: journalism 756 ] Shakespeare’sVenusandAdonis.Read:Marlowe’sHeroandLeander.Canto I. Poems of lesser men in various anthologies, especially Arber’s Surrey and Wyatt Anthology and Spenser Anthology. X. SPENSER (12) French and Italian influence. His earlier poems. The Epithalamion. The Faery Queene; type to which it belongs. Limitations and unique merits of Spenser’s verse. His place with Milton and Tennyson. XI. THE LYRIC AND THE SONNET (13-14) The song and music in Tudor times. Shakespeare’s and Campion’s lyrics. Read: Selections from Arber’s Shakespeare Anthology. The sonnet; its Italian origin. Popularity of Petrarch. Usual artificiality ofthesonnet.DifferencesbetweentheItalianandtheEnglish.Comparison of Shakespeare’s with Spenser’s, Sidney’s, and others. Read: A few translations of Italian Sonnets in Rossetti’s Early Italian Poets, and sonnets in Golden Treasury or in the Oxford Book of English Verse. Lyrics of Ben Jonson...