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Instructor Info:Jane Degenhardt
TA Info:Tasya Abbot
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
02:00 PM - 03:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105
02:00 PM - 03:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105
Description: Religious rituals, black magic, and theatrical entertainment were linked by controversy in Shakespeare's England: were they potent acts or empty performances? How did they seduce and endanger unwitting audiences? Foregrounding the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, we will explore the intersecting cultural histories of religious persecution, witchcraft trials, and movements to close down the theaters. We will consider how England's religious culture was destabilized not only by the Protestant Reformation but also by global trade and travel, which increasingly exposed the English to Islam, Judaism and other religions of the world. To what extent did audiences believe in the power of Othello's witchcraft, Prospero's conjuring, or Paulina's miraculous resurrection? Why was theatrical enactment considered so dangerous? Our focus will extend beyond the interpretation of simple representational allusions to grapple with the particular semiotics of theatrical performance. Plays include The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Pericles, The Renegado, The Witch of Edmonton, Dr. Faustus, and others. Prerequisite: At least one previous literature course.