Readings

An Important Note on Reading

We use the word "read" in a variety of ways, and we will be practicing a variety of reading methods in this subject. You will be skimming, dipping into, appreciating and on occasion thoroughly dissecting diverse genres of written texts.

When we say read a play carefully, we mean:

  1. Read through the entire play quickly, as if you were an audience member watching it take place before you (i.e., read sequentially and don't worry about every detail or go back over a scene studiously—though try to attend to as many clues and dimensions of the script as you can). Consider the play's sequence and impact.
  2. Re-read slowly and analytically, looking for meanings, patterns, poetry, characterization and themes, and studying the sections that confused you. Consider the play's artistry and ideas, and the moment-by-moment unfolding of the action.

Assigned Readings

This table lists the required readings for individual class sessions, plus selected supplemental readings pertaining to individual class topics. A list of some other supplemental readings is provided after the table.

Please feel encouraged to 'read ahead' of the dates if you have the time; the sooner you have the reading materials in your mind, the better!

LEC # TOPICS REQUIRED READINGS
1 Introduction-to an experiment and a century. Genesis meets Galileo

Amazon logo Brecht, Bertolt. The Life of Galileo. Translated by R. Manheim and J. Willett. New York, NY: Arcade Publishing, 1994. ISBN: 9781559702546.

Look at Baker, Jonathan. "Notes on History of Cosmology." (PDF) (Courtesy of Jonathan Baker. Used with permission)

Optional

Life of Galileo scene breakdown (PDF)

Book of Genesis. The Holy Bible, King James Edition, 1611. (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF)

2 Discussion of Brecht's Galileo

Amazon logo Jacob, Margaret C. "The New Science and Its New Audience." Chapter 1 in Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780195082203.

Amazon logo Hill, Christopher. "Introduction," and "Narrative of Events." In The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 1982, pp. 1-10. ISBN: 9780393300161. [Preview in Google Books]

Bucholz, Robert, and Newton Key. "The Early Stuarts and the Three Kingdoms, 1603-1642." Chapter 7 in Early Modern Englad 1485-1714: A Narrative History. pp. 201-237.

Optional

For "prequel" knowledge of the 16th-century, look at Bucholz and Key, Chapter 6, "Merrie Olde England? ca. 1603." pp. 152-200.

To sample the writing of Galileo, see Kreis, Steven. "Galileo, The Starry Messenger (1610)." The History Guide: Lectures on Early Modern European History.

3 Contextualizing Galileo; varieties of history, improvisatory cosmologies

Amazon logo Spur, John. "England 1649-1750: Differences Contained?" Chapter 1 in Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1650-1740. Edited by Steven N. Zwicker. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp. 238-264. ISBN: 9780521564885. [Preview in Google Books]

Passages written by Simplicissimus, Thomas Mun, and Thomas Hobbes. In "The Seventeenth Century." Chapter IV in The Western Tradition: From the Renaissance to the Atomic Age. Edited by Eugen Weber. Boston, MA: D.C. Heath & Co., 1959, pp. 362-421.

Optional

Amazon logo Zwicker, Steven, N., ed. Cambridge Companion to English Literature, 1650-1740. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780521564885. [Preview in Google Books]

- Chapter 4: Munns, Jessica. "Theatrical Culture 1: Politics and Theatre."
- Chapter 5: Winn, James A."Theatrical Culture 2: Theatre and Music."

4

Interpreting historical documents

Special guest: historian Ann McCants

Amazon logo Shakespeare, William. King Lear. Edited by R. A. Foakes. London, UK: Arden Shakespeare, 1997. ISBN: 9780174434603. [Preview in Google Books]

Tate, Nahum. The History of King Lear.

Timeline examples

General year-by-year: Amazon logo Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. 4th revised ed. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2005. ISBN: 9780743270038. Years 1598-1689.

History and culture: Amazon logo Daems, Jim. "Chronology of Key Historical and Cultural Events." In Seventeenth-Century Literature and Culture. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006, pp. 104-115. ISBN: 9780826486592. [Preview in Google Books]

5 A Tale of Two Lears

Amazon logo Selections in The Oxford Illustrated History of Shakespeare on Stage. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780192802132.

- Wiggins, Martin. "The Kings Men and After."
- Dobson, Michael. "Improving on the Original: Actresses and Adaptations."

Amazon logo Dillon, Janette. "Theatre and Controversy, 1603-1642." In The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Vol. 1, Origins to 1660. Edited by Jane Milling and Peter Thomson. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780521650403. [Preview in Google Books]

Spend some time blogging with Samuel Pepys

6 Special event: evening film screening of Stage Beauty (Dir. Richard Eyre, 2004)  
7 Scenes read in class, more discussion of two versions of Lear within their theatrical context

Amazon logo Jacob, Margaret C. "The Cultural Meaning of Cartesianism: From the Self to Nature (and Back to the State)" and "Science in the Crucible of the English Revolution." Chapters 2 and 3 in Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780195082203.

Specific assignments for each student from the writings of Bacon, Boyle, Burton, and Descartes.

Amazon logo Bacon, Sir Francis. "Part L. Of Studies" from The Essayes or Consels (1625); and Preface through Part XCIX and Part CXXX from The New Organon. In Francis Bacon: A Selection of his Works. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1977 (reprint). ISBN: 9780024245304.

Boyle, Robert. Excerpt from "A Defense of the Doctrine Touching the Spring and Weight of the Air." Oxford England, 1662. (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF)

Amazon logo Boyle, Robert. Selections from The Sceptical Chymist. Chestnut Hill, MA: Adamant Media Corp, 2001. ISBN: 9780543916587. [Preview in Google Books]

Burton, Robert. Selections from The Anatomy of Melancholy: What it Is, With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes and Severall Cures of It. (Download from Project Gutenberg)

Amazon logo Descartes, René. Selections from Meditations on First Philosophy. Translated by Donald A. Cress. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1979. ISBN: 9780915144570.

8 Five "men of science": Bacon, Burton, Descartes, Boyle and Hobbes. Expert group presentations on each of these natural philosophers

Brockett, Oscar G., and Franklin J. Hildy. "Engligh Theatre to 1642." Excerpt from The History of the Theater. 9th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2003, pp. 113-114 and 126-137.

Amazon logo Lindley, David. "The Stuart Masque and its Makers." In The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Vol. 1, Origins to 1660. Edited by Jane Milling and Peter Thomson. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780521650403. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Jonson, Ben. "Mercury Vindicated from the Alchemists at Court." (PDF)

9

Jonsonian masque and court culture

Special theatrical guest: Michael Krass, costume designer and head of design at NYU Playwrights Horizons Theater School

Amazon logo Massinger, Philip. The Roman Actor. Royal Shakespeare Company Classics Series. London, UK: Nick Hern Books, 2002. ISBN: 9781854596970. [Preview in Google Books]

The Petition of Right (1628) (PDF)

Amazon logo Sanders, Julie. "Introductory Biographical and Historical Outline" and Chapter 1 "Caroline Drama and Dramatists." In Caroline Drama. Tavistock, UK: Northcote House, 1999. ISBN: 9780746308776.

10 The Roman Actor (performed 1626, published 1629)

Amazon logo Ford, John. "'Tis Pity She's a Whore." In 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays. Edited by Marion Lomax. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780192834492. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Butler, Martin. Theatre and Crisis: 1632-1642. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1984, chapters 1-3. ISBN: 9780521246323.

Selections from William Prynne's Histriomastix.

- Prologue
- Excerpts in Norton Topics Online: The Norton Anthology of English Literature

11 'Tis Pity She's A Whore (written late 1620s; published 1633)

Read one of the following for the comparative short essay:

Amazon logo Ford, John. "The Broken Heart." In 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays. Edited by Marion Lomax. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780192834492. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Shirley, James. The Cardinal. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1986. ISBN: 9780719016257. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Behn, Aphra. "The Rover." In The Rover and Other Plays. Edited by Jane Spenser. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 9780192834515.

12 Paper writing: discussion of thesis statements based on your play-reading. Scene work. Amazon logo Enjoy reading Richard Brome's comedy The Antipodes. Edited by David Scott Kastan and Richard Proudfoot. London, UK: Nick Hern Books, 2000. ISBN: 9781854596031. [Preview in Google Books]
13 The Antipodes (c. 1636, printed 1640)  
14 Reflections upon your essays, historical meltdown, and what came after; with reference to The Broken Heart, The Cardinal, The Rover

Amazon logo Seaver, Paul S. Wallington's World. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1985, preface and chapters 1 and 2. ISBN: 9780804714327.

Marvell, A. "An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland." (PDF)

Amazon logo Butler, Martin. "The Condition of the Theatre in 1642." Chapter 18 in The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Vol. 1, Origins to 1660. Edited by Jane Milling and Peter Thomson. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780521650403. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Hill, Christopher. "Religion and Ideas." Chapter 10 in The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 1982, pp. 139-160. ISBN: 9780393300161. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Morton, A. L. "Religion and Politics in the English Revolution." Chapter I in The World of the Ranters. London, UK: Laurence and Wishart, 1970. ISBN: 9780853152200.

15 The Puritan Revolution. Discussion of research and extensive essay composition

Amazon logo Churchill, Caryl. "Light Shining in Buckinghamshire." In Plays: One. London, UK: Methuen, 1985. ISBN: 9780413566706. [Preview in Google Books]

The Grand Remonstrance (PDF) (Greivances presented to King Charles I of England by the English Parliament on 1 December 1641)

16 Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

Amazon logo Clare, Janet. "General Introduction: The Theatre and Cultural Revolution." In Drama of the English Republic, 1649-1660. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780719044823.

Amazon logo ———. "Theatre and Commonwealth." Chapter 19 in The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Vol. 1, Origins to 1660. Edited by Jane Milling and Peter Thomson. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780521650403. [Preview in Google Books]

17 Special event: theatrical field trip to see Richard Goodwin's "Two Men of Florence" at the Huntington Theater Company  
18 Playwriting, day one
19 Playwriting, day two
20 Sharing of documents and paper ideas  
21 Sharing of documents and paper ideas (cont.) Amazon logo Wycherley, William. The Country Wife. (1675) New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780521565813. [View and download an online version of this play.]
22 The Country Wife Read the assigned (and any other) poems: lyrics and narrative odes by Andrew Marvell, John Milton, and Aphra Behn
23 Poetry of the seventeenth century

Selections from Browne, Sir Thomas. Hydriotaphia.

Amazon logo Kushner, Tony. Death and Taxes: Hydriotaphia and Other Plays. New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group, 1998. ISBN: 9781559361569. [Preview in Google Books]

24 Individual meetings with instructors  
25 Tony Kushner's Hydriotaphia  
26 Discussion of your learning and sharing of your expertise

Amazon logo Selections from Shaplin, Adriano. The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes. Oberon Books, 2009. ISBN: 9781840028881.

Background article in MIT Soundings Magazine about this MIT/Royal Shakespeare Company collaboration

27 Dramatic reading of selections from Adriano Shaplin's The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes  
28 Dramatic reading from The Virtuoso and conclusions  

 

Supplemental Readings

Image Gallery: Selections from Hooke's Micrographia and other visuals

Amazon logo Dillon, Janette. "Theatre and Controversy, 1603-1642." In The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Vol. 1, Origins to 1660. Edited by Jane Milling and Peter Thomson. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780521650403. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Dunn, Richard S. "The Puritan Revolution" and "The Century of Genius." In The Age of Religious Wars, 1559-1689. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 1970. ISBN: 9780393098914.

Amazon logo Lovejoy, Arthur. "The Principle of Plenitude and the New Cosmography." Chapter 4 in The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976 (reprint). ISBN: 9780674361539. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Shapin, Steven. "The Philosopher and the Chicken: On the Dietetics of Disembodied Knowledge." In Science Incarnate: Historical Embodiments of Natural Knowledge. Edited by Christopher Lawrence and Steven Shapin. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780226470146. [Preview in Google Books]

Sociopolitical History

Amazon logo Hill, Christopher. Appendices A-D in The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 1982, pp. 270-277. ISBN: 9780393300161.

Amazon logo ———. The World Turned Upside Down. New York, NY: Penguin, 1984, chapters 1 and 2. ISBN: 9780140137323.

Amazon logo Ridley, Jasper. "Henry VIII and the Religious Revolution." Chapter 8 in The History of England. London, UK: Routledge, 1981. ISBN: 9780710007940.

History of Science

Amazon logo Keller, Evelyn Fox. "Spirit and Reason at the Birth of Modern Science." In Reflections on Gender and Science. 10th anniversary ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780300065954. [Preview in Google Books]

Amazon logo Wertheim, Margaret. "The Ascent of Mathematical Man." Chapter 5 in Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co., 1997. ISBN: 9780393317244. [Preview in Google Books]

Social Science

Amazon logo Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York, NY: Vintage Books/Knopf, 1973; foreward, preface, chapters 1 and 2. ISBN: 9780394719351.

Amazon logo Shapin, Steven. "'Who Was Then a Gentleman?' Integrity and Gentle Identity in Early Modern England," and "A Social History of Truth-Telling: Knowledge, Social Practice, and the Credibility of Gentlemenn." Chapters 2 and 3 in A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780226750194.