Text in Context: Shakespearean Plays and Early Modern Popular Culture
(Szövegek és környezetük: Shakespeare és a kora újkori populáris kultúra) in spring 2015
, Wed 09:00–12:00
seminar, 60 h/term; strong prereq: BMA-ANGD-A1 A2 A3 A4
description & set texts
This MA course focuses on problems of popular culture, and the relation of the literary and the non-literary in early modern England, with an interest in rituals and ritualistic aproaches to theatre. Symbolic phenomena of early modern English popular culture(eg. shrews/scolds, the hobby-horse, fools, carnival, lords of misrule, old wives' tales, fairies, usury, charivari) and the role of rites of passage will be discussed in the light of contemporary literary and non-literary accounts (Puritan pamphlets, broadside ballads,emblem books, etc.)and Shakespearean texts. Usually the plays will be discussed in detail first then in-class reading of contemporary texts will follow, supported by illustrations, excerpts from filmic or theatrical versions, and secondary readings of a new historicist or folklore slant. The exact list of the reading material will be handed out in class, the Shakespearean plays most in focus will be: Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, The Winter's Tale.
Class 1 (11 Febr)
Introduction to methods of studying early modern popular culture (P. Burke), iconography and iconology, methods
anthropology and literature (V. Turner, Eliade, etc.), rites of passage
Hamlet – funeral rites
Class 2 (18 Febr)
Hamlet – elements of popular culture, a case study: the hobby-horse, Ophelia and ballads
Anu Korhonen: „The Witch in the Alehouse, Imaginary Encounters in Cultural History” in J. Kusber, M. Dreyer, J. Rogge, A. Hütig, eds. Historische Kulturwissenschaften. Poistionen, Praktiken und Perspektiven. (Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, 2010) pp. 181-205.
Class 3 (25 Febr)
William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew – discussion of the play, rites of marriage (Film excerpts from Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew, 1968), problems of marriage (homilies and the Bible), (Peacham’s emblem of the virtuous wife, Title Page of The Crown Conjugal)
Class 4 (4 March)
The Taming of the Shrew
shrews, the shrewmouse and its associations; different forms of comedy, horses and women, normative contexts – Bible, proverbs, legal situation; excerpts from Turner and Eliade, jestbooks and emblem books
Joan Hartwig, „Horses and women in The Taming of the Shrew” Huntington Library Quarterly. 45.4. Autumn 1982. pp. 285-294
Class 5 (11 Febr)
Other shrew narratives: a ballad
Here Begynneth a Merry Jest of a Shrewd and Curste Wyfe, Lapped in Morelles Skin, for Her Good Behavyor, 1550
Other contexts: fablieu, Chaucer, festivals (Hocktide, Maid Marian)
Punishments (carting, ducking, scold’s bridle); Petruchio as Lord of Misrule – Skimmington, crab tree lectures
Martin Ingram: ”Ridings, rough music, and the reform of ’popular culture’ in early modern England. Past & Present, No. 105 (Nov., 1984), pp. 79-1
Class 6. (18 March)
The Merchant of Venice – discussion of the play, Title page of quarto and images of usurers in Shakespeare’s age
The usury problem, pamphlets, ballads (The Ballad of Gernutus)
Excerpts from J.L. Halio: Understanding The Merchant of Venice. A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources and Historical Documents. (London, The Greenwwod Press, 2000); the Jewish Situation, male friendship, etc.
Class 7. (25 March) A Midsummer Night’s Dream/As You Like It
’the green world’ of comedies (N. Frye)
fairy lore in Shakespeare’s age
rites of passage in MND
Mary E. Lamb, ”Taken by the Fairies: Fairy Practices and the Production of Popular Culture in A Midsummer Night's Dream” Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 3 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 277-312
Contemporary texts on fairy belief: John Aubrey, Richard Corbet, The Mad Merry Pranks of Robin Good-fellow, Bible (I Cor 2:1-16) and on monstrosity (Ovid, Reginald Scot)
Class 8. (8 April) A Midsummer Night’s Dream/As You Like It
festivals (Kenilworth) and the Fetching of the May (ballad), excerpts from Stow, Machyn., Stubbes
Barber, C.L. ”May Games and Metamorphoses on a Midsummer Night” in Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy. Ohio: World Publishing, 1967 (1959) 119-162.
rites of passage in AYL – E. Berry
DEADLINE FOR TITLES/TOPICSFOR PAPER/PRESENTATION!
Class 9. (15 April)
Twelfth Night, or What You Will – discussion of the play
Christmas festivals in Shakespeare’s England (poems, etc.)
Excerpts from contemporary texts of the age on romance, sexuality and foolery (source: William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night. Texts and Contexts. Ed. Bruce R. Smith. Boston, Bedford/St Martin’s, 2001)
Class 10 (22 April)
Twelfth Night, or What You Will – cont., fool books (Armin!)
The Winter’s Tale – discussion of the play – attitudes to popular culture
Francois Laroque: « The Hybridity of Popular Culture in The Winter’s Tale », paper at the 9th World Shakespeare Congress, 2011
Class 11 (29 April) The Winter’s Tale
miracle vs Pygmalion myth vs popular contexts; cony-catching pamphlets (Autolycus) and festivals
Bruce R. Smith: „Shakespeare’s Residuals: The Circulation of Ballads in Cultural Memory” in Shakespeare and Elizabethan Popular Culture. Eds. S. Gillespie and Vincent Rhodes. (London, Cengage Learning, 2006) pp. 193-218.
Class 12 (6 May)
The Winter’s Tale—conclusion
Presenting essay ideas/giving 20-min papers based on original research 1.
Class 13. (13 May)
Presenting essay ideas/giving 20-min papers based on original research 2.
Conclusion of the seminar
requirements & assessment
Reading of set texts, one presentation, a final essay of 7-8 pp OR giving a 20-min ’conference paper’ based on original research ont he subject of Shakespeare and early modern popular culture or Shakespeare and rites of passage