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Not Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean Popular Theatre

By Oxford University

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This series of six lectures introduces six plays from the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre. Once popular and now little-known, they can tell us a lot about what their first audiences enjoyed, aspired to and worried about - from immigrants in early modern London to the role of women in the household, from what religious changes might mean for attitudes to the dead to fantasies of easy money and social elevation. Each lecture outlines the play so there is no assumption you have already read it, then goes on to try to understand its historical context and its dramatic legacy, drawing parallels with modern film and contemporary culture as well as with Elizabethan material. The lecturer's aim with students in the room and with interested listeners on iTunes U is to broaden our understanding of the theatre Shakespeare wrote for by thinking about some non-Shakespearean drama, and to recreate some of the excitement and dramatic possibilities of the new, popular technology of Renaissance theatre.

Customer Reviews

Most interesting

Have only listened to 1st lecture so far. Very concise, clear, understanable and accessible. Its amazing that a construction worker in San Francisco can listen in to a class like this. Self education has a new weapon. Please give that ogre a cough drop; in exchange I'll grant the final star. Thank you.

First rate!

Have listened to half of the Approaching Shakespeare lectures (8 or 9), and fervently hope Professor Smith will eventually provide lectures on the entire canon. Her method of selecting one, overarching question about each play, along with a different critical or analytic technique each time, provides a wonderful education in not only the play at hand, but in ways to approach ALL of Shakespeare's plays. She's articulate, knowledgeable, and has a dry wit about her whose tone is well in keeping with her material. I could not recommend these lectures more highly!


Delighted to discover this lecture series after thoroughly enjoying Prof Smith's Shakespeare lectures. She opens these plays up to an ignorant, modern reader/listener by discussing the historical context of the plots and themes, the plays' long literary reception and performance history, and making contemporary parallels, all with great wit and interesting, unexpected insights. Also, the Coen brothers.

Not Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean Popular Theatre
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  • Free
  • Category: Higher Education
  • Language: English

Customer Ratings