ENGL452 - English Drama from 1660 to 1800

Restoration and 18th-century drama mirrored an increasingly sophisticated urban world, but also looked beyond London to the Empire at a whole. With razor wit and devastating insight, the comedies explore the effects of modernity on desire, marriage, sexuality, gender, love, ambition, and security.  Both comedies and tragedies, however, often explore these tensions in the context of the nation's commercial, imperial, and colonial ambitions.  Authors may include William Wycherely, Aphra Behn, John Dryden, Susanna Centlivre, Joseph Addison, George Etherege, George Lillo, John Gay, Elizabeth Inchbald, R.B. Sheridan, and Richard Cumberland. The emphasis will be on comedy given its popularity in the period: the function of comedy, how it changes from the Restoration to the end of the eighteenth century, the politics of comedy, the significance of the actor, and the place of the theater in the social world of the period. We will also look at the ways in which the period tried to reimagine tragedy.


Two English courses in literature or permission of department.