Thursday, January 06, 2011

Course Syllabus

Course Syllabus & Information

Be up-to-date with the following reading schedule and you will be ahead of lecture.
  1. Below is a schedule for student readings; not a schedule of lecture material.
  2. Lecture is not a Procrustean bed : week by week, lecture will follow the developing class interests and course dynamic; all material will, sublimely, be covered by course end.
Reading Schedule

Week 1: Aristotle, The Poetics
Week 2: Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
Week 3: Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
Week 4: Dr. Johnson - Preface to Shakespeare
Week 5: Dr. Johnson - Preface to Shakespeare

Week 6: Shakespeare, Henry V
Week 7: Shakespeare, Henry V

Week 8: Shaw, Saint Joan
Week 9: Shaw, Saint Joan

Week 10: Mishima, Madame de Sade
Week 11: Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap
Week 12: Agatha Christie, The Mousetrap
Week 13: Review.

Assignment Deadlines.
There is a twenty-five percent per day late penalty for all assignments, documented medical or bereavement leave excepted. For medical exemptions, provide a letter from a physician on letterhead which declares his or her medical judgement that illness or injury prevented work on the essay. The letter must cover the entire period over which the assignment was scheduled and may be verified by telephone. For any matter affecting deadlines, consult with the TA in person and before the assignment period.

Schedule of Assignment Due Dates.
(Assignments coded by colour. See separate assignment posts for details.)

January 6th or 10th, Group Project members set: in tutorial.
February 3rd, Mid-Term Essay topics posted.
February 24th, Mid-Term Essay due: in lecture.
March 10th Mid-Term Essay returned graded: in lecture.
March 24th Mid Term Revision due: in lecture.
April 7th, Mid-Term Revision returned graded: in lecture.
April 7th or 11th, Group Project due: in tutorial.
April 13th, 8:30AM - 11:30AM , Final Examination, Room TBA.

Nb: “Participation (10% of course grade) requires participation, and punctuality in seminar and punctual attendance at lecture."

Instructor Contact:
Office Hours: Surrey Campus FASS 5192 Mondays 11:30-12:30pm. E-mail to
TA is Dr. Stanley Green (ABD), e-mail to

 Assignments Overview

1. Mid term essay, fifteen hundred words: due February 24th in lecture. Assignment sheet with suggested topics will be blogged on February 3rd. Criteria will include literary analysis, engagement with course themes and writing mechanics.
2. Mid-Term paper, revision: due March 24th in lecture. Corrections to the mid-term essay according to the TA's comments and analysis. Grade is determined by the quality of the revisions, not the independent quality of the revised essay itself.
3. Group television analysis: With a group of classfellows from seminar, you will watch a current television programme throughout the term and make notes on how it stands up to the ideals of drama presented in lecture. You will then collaborate with your group members and design a dramatical presentation of your analysis to be acted in seminar weeks twelve and thirteen. There will be one group grade assigned; determined by your seminar instuctor.
4. Individual seminar participation: attendance, punctuality and productive contributions.
5. Final Examination: April 13th, 8:30AM - 11:30AM  Place TBA, covering material from lecture exclusively.

Course Approach
The course will introduce you to Drama from the perspective of literary scholarship. That is, we will examine methods by which playwrights dramatise Ideas to "instruct by delighting." The plays in the course are each accompanied by a famous commentary that has historically shaped how its dramatical ideas are interpreted and experienced. This means, of course, that we within the literary canon give less attention to the performance -- what we might call the theatrics -- of drama than is the case, for instance, in Departments of Fine Art. That being said, our course will not neglect the thespian dimension. To better understand the commentaries accompanying our important plays, we will consider the question of why anyone cares what actors have to say once they are off the stage.
Actors are far -- very far indeed -- from being celebrated for their wide & grave learning; their responsible private behavior; their steady emotions; their self-denial; their public morality; their humility, sobriety or piety. Ghandis and Mother Theresas, they, in a word, are not. Yet in our celebrity culture, who more celebrated? whose opinions more eagerly solicted? whose obiter dicta sell more magazines? If we understand this modern peculiarity, we will better understand the ages-long criticisms of Drama and its place in civil society.

Course requirement weighting:
10%  Productive participation
20%  Mid-Term Essay
15%  Mid-Term Essay Revision
20%  Group Television Project
35%  Final Examination

Nb: “Participation requires both participation in seminar and attendance and punctuality at lecture and seminar."

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