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Public Life in the Age of Theater: Madrid and London, 1580-1680
COL 223
Spring 2011
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: HIST 190, IBST 326, THEA 310

England and Spain were the first two European countries where a new form of mass media took root in the late 16th century: popular theater. The new playwrights, from Shakespeare and Marlow to Lope and Calderón, reflected in their plays acute political concerns (tyranny and justice, fortune and providence). How did this theatrical revolution affect public and political life? This course will explore urban life in the age of public playhouses, comparing the two theatrical capitals of the age: London and Madrid. Emphasis will be put on the relationship between theater and public life, analyzing the multiple and changing links among theater, news culture, and political action. Special attention will be paid to the different behavior of the popular publics in London and Madrid during the crisis of the 1640s in terms of political action. Comparing the similarities but also the striking divergences between Madrid and London, we will see how theater helped to transform or maintain political life during the early modernity and how playhouses became the center of intense political struggles. The course will serve as an introduction to the complexities and importance of comparative approaches.

The readings will include primary and secondary bibliography. Sources will include major texts (plays, novels, poems) as well as minor and popular genres (news, pamphlets and libels, sermons). Throughout the units, we will discuss the relationship between texts and particular political junctures (the Armada, 1588; succession and peace treaty, 1598/1603; the Spanish match, 1623; civil wars, 1640; etc.)

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (HIST)(IBST)(THEA)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-24-2014
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