A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Winter Term Courses

I decided to go over my courses for this coming semester, to bring myself entirely up to speed on my schedule.

813* – Topics in Medieval Literature I: Drama and Devotion – M. Pappano – Tues. 11:30 – 1:30 (Offered in the Winter term)

This course is designed to survey a range of forms and production venues for dramatic representation in late medieval England. Drama did not constitute a distinct “genre” in the Middle Ages but functioned in relation to other spheres and modes of public organization. Therefore, we will consider extant plays within the specific dynamics of their performance contexts–i.e. monastery, city, religious gild, parish, court. We will also consider documentary evidence for plays that have not survived so that we can gain a broader understanding of dramatic traditions in England. Throughout the course we will be attentive to the material properties of dramatic performance props, staging, costumes, actors, sponsors, audiences, etc.

The course will cover the liturgical tradition, the civic-religious cycles, the East Anglian plays, and end with John Bale’s use of theatre for the Protestant cause. Drama was often endowed with direct intercessory power, competing with the ecclesiastical organization of spiritual life. We will concentrate on the devotional tradition to interrogate how the theatrical and spiritual related to each other. We will consider how dramatic performances intersected with issues of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, particularly the regulation of public piety associated with the Lollard heresy in the fifteenth century and the national organization of religious life during the Reformation.

Requirements include a research paper and a seminar presentation.

825* – Topics in Renaissance Non_Dramatic Literature II: Renaissance Cultural Capital – E. Hanson – Wed. 11:30 – 1:30 (Offered in the Winter term)

This course will examine educational practices in Renaissance England and their impact on the literature and culture of the time with reference to Pierre Bourdieu’s idea of ‘cultural capital.’ According to this theory, what an individual knows how to do and the social alliances this knowledge permits (who your friends are) functions in a manner similar to economic capital, as a preliminary stock which if sufficient in amount and kind permits an individual to accumulate influence, power and even wealth. We will begin by examining humanist theories of education in the 16th century and the curriculums of grammar schools with particular attention to the associations they make between a fundamentally literary education and cultural authority. As we trace the development of this elite form of education into the early 17th century, we will simultaneously consider other forms of education, the training of merchants (which unlike the university curriculum began to stress mathematics) apprenticeship, autodidacticism, as well as the effect of emergent practices such as playgoing and book buying and reading on the dissemination of knowledge. In addition to literary texts such as More’s Utopia, Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller, Jonson’s The Alchemist, Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle , and Bacon’s The New Atlantis we will read educational treatises such as those by Richard Mulcaster and John Ascham, and examine early math books, economic pamphlets and merchants handbooks, as well as reading relevant theoretical writing by Pierre Bourdieu, John Guillory and others. If we have time we will conclude the course with a couple of weeks devoted to the relationship between the humanities and other forms of knowledge in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Students will be required to make an in-class report on topics such as the curriculums of various institutions (grammar schools, universities, Inns of Court), the training of merchants, the education of women etc., and to write a final paper of 15-20 pages on a topic of their own choosing.

844* – Topics in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature I: Laurence Sterne – C. Fanning – Wed 2:30 – 4:30 (Offered in the Winter term)

This course will engage with all of Sterne’s works: Tristram Shandy, A Sentimental Journey, The Sermons and minor writings. Among issues to be considered are: Sterne as precursor to the postmodern, as radical or conservative satirist, sentimentalist, Anglican minister, literary celebrity, etc. Approaches from all angles are welcome: theoretical, rhetorical, historical, political, obstetrical, etc. (most of ’em ending, as these do, in ical).For the curious, last year’s schedule of readings and seminar topics and a list of suggested further reading are available online at: http://qsilver.queensu.ca/~cjf1/SterneSeminar.htm

Requirements: contributions to class, two seminars (one contextual, one interpretive) and a critical essay.

As it turns out, my schedule should be pretty good indeed.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 26, 2003 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Assorted

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