Department of English

Minou Arjomand

Assistant ProfessorPhD, 2013, Columbia University

Minou Arjomand



twentieth and twenty-first century theatre, performance studies, aesthetic and political philosophy, opera


E 359 • Brit Drama From 1660 To 1900

35635 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 204

E 359 • English Drama from 1660-1900


Instructor:  Arjomand, M

Unique #:  35635

Semester:  Fall 2017

Cross-lists:  n/a

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No


Prerequisites:  Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.



“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

 – William Shakespeare (1603)


“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”

– Oscar Wilde (1891)


Shakespeare and Wilde are among the many playwrights and philosophers who have noticed an affinity between the stage and public life.  If the whole world is a stage, then what particular role does theatre play in reflecting, satirizing, and challenging the ways that people act in society?


In this course, we will focus on how theatre responded to major social, economic, and political changes in the period from 1660-1900 (including colonialism, the Middle Passage, the rise of capitalism, revolutionary upheavals, abolitionism, and feminism).  In particular, we will ask:  who gets to play which roles on stage and in public life? How does theatre challenge or legitimize the way that roles are cast in society? Can revolutions start in the theatre?


We will study dramatic texts alongside contemporary stage design and acting techniques.  We will also bring the works into conversation with current theatre, watching recent adaptations of the works we study and, when possible, visiting live performances during the semester.  No previous experience with theatre is required.


Texts:  tentative readings include Dryden, All for Love;Behn, The Rover; Centlivre, The Busie Body; Gay, The Beggar’s Opera; Lillo, The London Merchant; Planché, The Vampire; Boucicault, The Octoroon; Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest; Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession.


Requirements & Grading:  attendance and participation in class discussion (15%); 200-word weekly reading responses (25%), group project (20%); two papers, one 5 pages (15%) and one 7 pages (25%).

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