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.
||CleanThe Tamer Tam'd: John Fletcher||A riposte to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew||11/16/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTis Pity She's a Whore: John Ford||Reboot of Romeo and Juliet and other Elizabethan plays||11/11/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Witch Of Edmonton||Witchcraft and bigamy.||11/3/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA Chaste Maid in Cheapside: Thomas Middleton||This lecture discusses comedy, fertility, and all those illegitimate children in this play about sex, economics and meat.||10/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Alchemist: Ben Jonson||Written in the context of plague in London, The Alchemist’s plot and language are deeply concerned with speed and speculation.||10/27/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDr Faustus: Christopher Marlowe||My lecture on this infernal play discusses Elizabethan religion, the revisions to the play, and whether we should think about James Bond in its final minutes.||10/26/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Spanish Tragedy: Thomas Kyd||Popular tragedy in which Hieronimo pursues aristocratic murderers of his son Horatio and takes revenge. It speaks, like Hollywood Westerns, to questions about private revenge versus public justice, and to the vexed religious questions of its age.||11/5/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanArden of Faversham: Anon||A true crime story of the murder of Thomas Arden by his wife and her lover, this play is concerned with the politics of the household, with gender roles within marriage, and presents a black comedy of botched murder attempts rather like The Ladykillers.||11/5/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Shoemaker's Holiday: Thomas Dekker||Like a Busby Berkeley depression-era musical, Dekker's comedy is a feel-good antidote to a context of shortages, political malaise and general pessimism, but real life in the shape of war, class antagonism and civic tensions, always threatens to intrude||11/6/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Revenger's Tragedy: Thomas Middleton||A blackly camp tragedy - Hamlet without the narcissism - set in a court corrupted by lust and self-interest, this play is both fascinated and repelled by its own depravity.||11/6/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Roaring Girl: Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker||Based on a contemporary scandal of a woman who dressed in male clothing, this play of topsy-turvy genders has fun with some very modern ideas about sexuality, identity and whether we are what we wear.||11/13/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Duchess of Malfi: John Webster||In dramatizing a woman's sexual choices in a notably sympathetic manner, this tragedy articulates perennial questions about female autonomy and class distinction.||11/24/2009||Free||View in iTunes|
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.
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.
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- Category: Higher Education
- Language: English
- © Oxford University; the media items are released with a Creative Commons licence