|Module Title||SHAKESPEARE AND JONSON|
|Co-ordinator||Mr Michael Smith|
|Course delivery||Seminar||20 Hours (10 x 2 hr seminar/workshops)|
|Assessment||Continuous assessment||2 essays (2,500 words each)||100%|
|Resit assessment||Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.|
The module begins by setting Shakespeare's festive comedy of courtship and marriage, A Midsummer Night's Dream, alongside Jonson's formally innovative 'humours' comedy, Every Man In His Humour: the one set in a semi-mythical Athenian court (and wood) and dealing in love and magic, the other in a vividly realised early seventeenth-century London, populated by an eccentric assortment of fantasists and misfits, and concerned with the satiric exposure of social pretensions. In succeeding weeks we will look at the impact of humours comedy on Shakespearean romance (All's Well), and compare and contrast the darkening cityscapes of Volpone, Jonson's Venetian fable of consumption, and Timon of Athens, Shakespeare's savage satire on material excess. Study of Jonson's gender-bending Epicoene and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure will enable us to explore issues of sexuality and identity, as they are shaped by the experience of the early modern city. Finally, a detailed investigation of Jonson's great and self-reflexive carnivalesque comedy, Bartholomew Fair, will prompt us to a retrospective overview of themes and trends within the plays discussed.
Teaching will be by ten two-hour seminars. Students will regularly be asked to prepare brief presentations, usually in teams of three or four.
1. Introduction to Jonson and Shakespeare (with reference to their writing about the theatre)
2-4. Comedy, Festivity and Humours: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Jonson Every Man in his Humour; Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well
5-6. Fantasies of Consumption: Jonson, Volpone; Shakespeare, Timon of Athens
7-8. Sex and the City: Jonson, Epicoene; Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
9-10. The Limits of Carnival: Jonson, Bartholomew Fair
A collected edition of Shakespeare would suffice, but individual copies of the New Cambridge, Oxford or New Arden editions would be much better. For Jonson, buy Lorna Hutson (ed.), Volpone and Other Early Plays (Penguin 1998). This contains Every Man in his Humour, Volpone, and Epicoene. You will also need to acquire an edition of Bartholomew Fair (Revels Plays Student Edition, ed Suzanne Gossett recommended). Detailed bibliographies of secondary reading will be distributed at the beginning of the module. If you would like to do some secondary reading in advance, the following are strongly recommended (indeed you should think seriously about acquiring one or both):
Blackwell Companion to Shakespeare, ed David Scott Kastan (1999)
Cambridge Companion to Ben Jonson, ed Richard Harp and Stanley Stewart (2000)