Module Identifier EN35620  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Paulina Kewes  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Mrs Carol Marshall  
Course delivery Seminar   20 Hours (10 x 2 hr Seminars)  
Assessment Continuous assessment   2 essays (2,500 words each)   100%  
  Resit assessment   Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.    

Brief description

This module will explore the rewriting and the reputation of Shakespeare in the Restoration and Eighteenth Century. At the start of the period Shakespeare was considered a minor and obsolete writer. By its end he had become, in Michael Dobson's words, 'the national poet'. Yet the Shakespeare known to the eighteenth century was not the Shakespeare known to us. His plays were extensively adapted, in versions which proved vastly and lastingly popular, to meet the commercial, political, and aesthetic demands of the time. We shall compare a series of Shakespeare's plays with the adaptations that were made of them. There will also be readings of critical commentaries on Shakespeare written in the same period. We shall ask how changes of literary value reflect the emergence of new social and cultural attitudes. Among the themes that will arise are: the uses of theatrical spectacle, music, and song; shifting concepts of tragedy and comedy; representations of gender and cultural difference; the contribution of the drama both to political propaganda and to the formation of national identity.

The module will be taught in weekly two-hour classes. These will vary in form: there will be informal lectures, class discussions, work in groups, individual student presentations, and readings of scenes from plays. I shall be showing two films - Titus and Shakespeare in Love - on the evening preceding the relevant seminar.


1. Introduction
A discussion of the conditions in which plays were written, published, and performed, in the Restoration period.
Handouts illustrating changes in theatre architecture and scene design will be provided.

2-3 Taming Women, Taming Men
William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew (1592); John Lacy, Sauny the Scot (1667)

4-5 'Serpent of old Nile' or 'a silly harmless household Dove': Shakespeare's and Dryden's Cleopatras
William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (1608); John Dryden, All For Love; or, The World Well Lost (1678)

6-7 The Rapes of Lavinia
William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (1594); Edward Ravenscroft, The Rape of Lavinia.
Film: Titus

8-9 Kingship, Incest, and the Pox
Shakespeare, Pericles 1608); George Lillo, Marina (1738)

10. Conclusion: The Shakespeare Myth
The construction of Shakespeare as the national icon; the aesthetic status of adaptation and appropriation;
to what uses is Shakespeare put today?
Film: Shakespeare in Love

Recommended Editions

Shakespeare's plays: the New Arden Series
Lacy's Sauny the Scot and Dryden's All for Love: both in Sandra Clark, ed., Shakespeare Made Fit: Restoration Adaptations of Shakespeare (Everyman 1997)
Ravenscroft's Titus Andronicus and Lillo's Marina will be supplied in photocopy

Secondary Reading

Jonathan Bate, Shakespearean Constitutions: Politics, Theatre, Criticism, 1730-1830 (Oxford, 1989)
George C Branam, Eighteenth-Century Adaptations of Shakespearean Tragedy (Berkeley, 1956)
Michael Dobson, The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769 (Oxford, 1992)
Elizabeth Howe, The First English Actresses: Women and Drama 1660-1700 (1992)
Robert D Hume, The Development of English Drama in the Late Seventeenth Century (Oxford, 1976)
Robert D Hume, 'Before the Bard: "Shakespeare" in Early Eighteenth-Century London', ELH, 64 (1997), 41-75.
David Scott Kastan (ed.), A Companion to Shakespeare (1999)
Paulina Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation: Writing for the Stage in England, 1660-1710 (1998)
Paulina Kewes, 'Shakespeare and New Drama', in A Companion to Literature from Milton to Blake (ed. David Womersley), pp 575-588, (2000)
Russ McDonald (ed.), The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare: An Introduction with Documents (1996)
Jean I Marsden, The Re-imagined Text: Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Eighteenth-Century Literary Theory (Lexington, 1995)
Jean I Marsden (ed.), The Appropriation of Shakespeare: Post-Renaissance Reconstructions of the Works and the Myth (New York, 1991).
Jocelyn Powell, Restoration Theatre Production (1984)
Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present (New York, 1989)
Matthew H Wikander, 'The Spitted Infant: Scenic Emblem and Exclusionist Politics in Restoration Adaptations of Shakespeare', Shakespeare Quarterly, 37 (1986), 340-358
James Anderson Winn, John Dryden and His World (1987).

Aims and objectives

to broaden the students' knowledge of Shakespeare's plays and of their generic and thematic diversity;
to introduce them to Restoration and eighteenth-century drama and theatre by reading contemporary adaptations alongside the Shakespearean originals and exploring differences in form and ideology;
to acquaint students with some early criticism of Shakespeare and to make them aware of the historical and cultural processes which resulted in his canonisation;
to encourage them to consider Shakespeare's changing position in English culture.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
demonstrate that they have acquired a knowledge and understanding of the primary texts on the module and a critical awareness of the broader issues raised by the module;
discuss the texts and their various contexts coherently;
write about them in a well-structured and well-argued way.