English Literature 1/2 (drama)

The course covers a relevant selection of English Renaissance plays by examining its roots in mediaeval dramatic genres, its beginnings, zenith and decline; it also includes a brief survey of English Restoration drama when the genre was revived after the closure of the theatres. It offers a theoretical explication and examination of the basic ideas of the concept known as The Elizabethan World Picture and innovations introduced by the major English Renaissance playwrights. The course examines the beginnings of the genre (liturgical drama, mystery, miracle and morality plays), the output of the “University Wits” and the major works of Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, John Lyly, Ben Jonson and John Webster.  It also includes a brief survey of and an introduction to the output and significance of William Shakespeare. In addition, the syllabus includes studying the features of the typical Elizabethan stage and the development of the first professional theatres and professional theatrical companies. The rise and decline of the English Renaissance drama and the emergence of the English Restoration drama are studied within their respective cultural, historical, political and religious contexts.