315 South College
Office Hours: M 2:00-3:00,
T 1:30-3:00, and by appt.
Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds, tr. Sommerstein
Plautus: Four Comedies, tr. Segal
Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors
Molière: Tartuffe, tr. Wilbur
Beaumarchais: The Marriage of Figaro
Gogol: The Inspector General, tr. Seymour and Noyes
Dürrenmatt: The Visit, tr. Bowles
Howe: The Art of Dining
Soyinka: The Lion and the Jewel
Ionesco: Rhinoceros, tr. Derek Prouse
Commedia dell'arte scenario, lazzi (duplicated material)
One term paper (7 pages, 30%; choose topic in consultation with instructor), 6 quizzes (lowest two dropped, so no make-ups; 5% each: total 20%), participation in two class performances of selected scenes (10% each; graded on degree of contribution), midterm exam (20%), attendance and class participation (10%). Students wishing to use this course for Comparative Literature major credit must do some work in foreign language texts: see instructor for details.
To examine a series of international comedies from the ancient Greeks to modern Greeks to modern Europe, Africa, and America, focusing on comic strategies and traditions, on theatrical representation of comic effects, and on the kind of laughter provoked... which often reveals their and our assumptions of what is funny.
Jan. 27 Introduction: aims, method of course. Performance requirement. Overview: comic texts comic theater/laughter in context. Four elements to keep in mind throughout the semester.
Feb. 1 Ancient Greek comedy ("Old Comedy"): staging and acting tradition. Aristophanes' The Acharnians (war,peace,politics, and partying); Lysistrata (war, peace, and gender politics). Intellectual satire together with broad physical farce. The Acharnians, Act I (pp. 47-81).
3 The Acharnians, Act II (pp. 82-104).
8 Lysistrata, Act I (pp. 180-209).
10 Lysistrata, Act II (pp. 210-35).
15 Roman comedy: the beginnings of commercially successful popular theater. Plautus, The Haunted House. The clever valet tricks and swindles his master with a coverup ghost story.
17 The Haunted House.
22 Plautus: The Menaechmus Brothers. A comedy of errors and mistaken identities.
24 The Menaechmus Brothers.
29 Commedia dell'arte (improvisational popular theater): Lazzi.
March 2 Commedia dell'arte, scenario.
7 Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors.
9 Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors.
13-17 SPRING RECESS
21 Molière: Tartuffe. More cultural contexts: censorship and the satire of religious hypocrisy; psychological characterizations; humor and terror combined.
23 Tartuffe. Comic effects: verbal play, physical farce, stage effects.
28 Midterm exam in class.
30 Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro. New comic types and double-edged cultural laughter. The social roles of women and of the servant class.
April 4 The Marriage of Figaro.
6 Gogol: The Inspector General. Social satire and bitter comedy in Czarist Russia. Dilbert would like this one: it's about bureaucrats.
11 The Inspector General.
13 Dürrenmatt, The Visit. Tragicomedy of murder, revenge, get-rich-quick schemes, and the grotesque.
18 The Visit.
20 Monday class schedule followed.
25 Ionesco, The Rhinoceros.
27 The Rhinoceros.
May 2 Soyinka: The Lion and the Jewel. Clash of cultures, of generations, and of genders.
4 The Lion and the Jewel. Verbal play, dramatic spectacle, fantasy and reality interwoven in a many-leveled romantic farce that is bound to offend some spectators.
9 Howe, The Art of Dining. Contemporary American comedy set in a restaurant: psychological sketches and lots of fun with food.
11 The Art of Dining.
15 Term paper due on Monday May 15, 2000.
These texts are available at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library on a two-hour loan. Check at the UMASS/Amherst Library System web site for information such as hours of operation, the Q & A program "Ask a Librarian" (UMass Amherst Library System Electronic Reference Service), and other useful information.
Catalog number/ Author/ Book title
not available/ Aristophanes, tr. Sommerstein/ Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds
not available/ Beaumarchais, Pierre-Augustin Caron de/ The Marriage of Figaro
PN 1942 .B4 1982/ Bermel, Albert/ Farce: A History from Aristophanes to Woody Allen
PA3201 .B52 1961+/ Bieber, Margarete/ The History of the Greek and Roman Theater
PA3161 .C7 1968/ Cornford, Francis M./ The Origin of Attic Comedy
PQ4155 .D82 1966/ Duchartre/ The Italian Comedy
PT 2607.U493 B43 1977/ Dürrenmatt / The Visit
PG 3333 T3 1962/ Gogol/ The Inspector General
not available/ Gordon, Mel/ Lazzi: The Comic Routines of The Commedia Dell'arte
PS 3558 O894 A73/ Howe/ The Art of Dining
PQ2617.06451960/ Ionesco, Eugene/ Rhinoceros and Other Plays
PQ 1837.A485 1965 c.4/ Molière, tr. Wilbur/ Tartuffe
PN2101 .N3 1959 c.2/ Nagler, A. M./ A Source Book in Theatrical History
PN6149 .P5 P3/ Paulos, John A./ Mathematics and Humor
PA 6570 .A3 S4 1996/ Plautus, tr. Segal / Four Comedies
PQ4236 .S313/ Salerno, Henry F., ed./ Scenarios of the Commedia dell'Arte
PQ4236.S313/ Scala, Flaminio/ Teatro delle favole rappresentative (English)
PR 9387 9 S6 L5 1963/ Soyinka / The Lion and the Jewel
PQ1858 .W33/ Wadsworth, Philip/ Molière and the Italian Theatrical Tradition
Appendix: Interesting URLs
Guide to Internet Resources in Theatre and Performance Studies - http://www.win.net/~kudzu/history.html
Virtual library and tour of Globe theater - http://vl-theatre.com/
Map of theater sites - http://www.georama.gr/eng/history/02.html - click on the map dots for a picture of each site
Ancient theater - http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/Didintro.html . Also http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/classics/cmdycnts.htm (reference page from a CUNY classics course)
Reconstructions of the Athenian Theater of Dionysus - http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/stagecraft/TDA/index.html - general page.
http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/stagecraft/TDA/tdamain.html - sections
Reconstruction of the theater at Ephesus - http://csaws.brynmawr.edu:443/web1/May96/nl059603.html
Greek stagecraft - http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/stagecraft/greek.html
History of clowns - http://www.webdom.com/chof/history.html
Aristophanes: a short biography - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc13
Censorshop of Aristophanes, past and present - http://simr02.si.ehu.es/FileRoom/documents/Cases/103aristophanes.html
Women and gender in the ancient world (translated texts) - http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/dioperseustexts.html
General introduction to Roman Comedy (honors student project) - http://www.uakron.edu/classics/IVARI/
Roman stagecraft - http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/stagecraft/roman.html
Plautus: a short biography - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc21.html
Commedia dell'arte: descriptions of stock characters - http://shift.merriweb.com.au/characters/commedia.html
History of commedia dell'arte by a modern troupe - http://www.flash.net/~trshane/dellarte.htm
Shakespeare: a short biography - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc12.htm
Shakespeare site: many links, but occasional loading problems - http://22.214.171.124/~english/vmishakewithbyrd.html
Image gallery for Renaissance culture course at Penn State, Prof. Rebecca Bushnell. Lots of pictures; lots of pixels if blown up (includes infomation on Commedia dell'arte) - http://www.flash.net/~trshane/
Mr. William Shakespeare on the Internet - http://daphne.palomar.edu/shakespeare/
The Globe Theater- http://www.rdg.ac.uk./globe/
Virtual tour of the Globe Theater (it is necessary to download a special program from this site to go on this tour) - http://virtual.clemson.edu/caah/shakespr/VRGLOBE/index.html
Molière web site with many picture links (in French only): try it! - http://www.tokolos.demon.co.uk/research/moliere.htm
Tartuffe: the original French text - http://cedric.cnam.fr/cgi-bin/ABU/donner_html?tartuf2
Molière's king, Louis XIV: descriptions in contemporary memoirs - http://history.hanover.edu/early/louisXIV.htm
Contemporary explanation of the divine right of kings - http://history.hanover.edu/early/bossuet.htm
Text of his Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (Oct. 22, 1685), expelling Protestants from France - http://history.hanover.edu/early/nonantes.htm
Biographical timeline - http://chris.simplenet.com/bookstore/beaumarchais/beaumarchais.html
"The Marriage of Figaro" and social protest - http://www.operaatelier.com/figaro.htm
Beaumarchais and censorship - http://simr02.si.ehu.es/FileRoom/documents/Cases/176beaumarchais.html
Gogol: a short biography - http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/gogol.htm
Review of modern performance (comments on actors' reactions) - http://wykehamist.oaktree.co.uk/1996Mar/TheGovernm.html
Dürrenmatt: a short biography - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc37.html
Ionesco: a short biography - http://www.levity.com/corduroy/ionesco.htm
Ionesco: another short biography - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc19.html
1998 review - http://www.botz.com/nytheatre/rhino.htm
Howe biography - http://www.dal.ca/~thtrwww/dtdp/museum/author.html
Soyinka website (good, but still under construction ) - http://landow.stg.brown.edu/post/soyinka/soyinkabio.html
Short biography - http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/soyinka.htm
Interview article at Emory - http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/spring97/wole.html
Perceptive discussion and links to related topics - http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/soyinka/index.html
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