Spectacular Bodies: Shakespeare and Counter-cultural Performance (EAS3231)

30 credits

This module looks at plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Middleton and Webster, concentrating on the reception of these playwrights both in criticism and in modern performance (defined broadly to include online remediations and a broad range of adaptations) and visual culture. Students will be invited to think about the centrality of Shakespeare in present-day performance culture and to analyze the assumptions that lie behind the ‘mainstreaming’ of Shakespeare and the association of ‘Jacobean’ drama with counter-cultural forces. We will look at Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean bodies both as dramatic metaphors and as literal presences on stages, screens, in images and installations, focusing on the ways in which early modern plays (in particular, tragedies) repeatedly represent bodies in traumatic situations: raped, dismembered, defiled, tortured, dead, decomposing.