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All the World's a Stage: Theater and Society in the Age of Shakespeare and Calderón
COL 223
Fall 2012
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: HIST 190, IBST 271, THEA 310

In Shakespeare's words, "all the world's a stage." Likewise, Calderón de la Barca (to many the greatest of Spanish dramatists of that period) often referred to life as "the great theater of the world." Thus voiced two of the greatest dramatists of the time an idea actually shared by many of their contemporaries. Was this simply a way of talking, or did some deeper social truth lie behind the metaphor? Can we affirm that individuals in the Renaissance consistently behaved like actors in a stage? If so, can we apply rules learned through theatrical observations to the understanding of their sociology?

With these questions in mind, I propose this course as an analytical experiment. We will test the extent to which society and theater corresponded to each other. On the one hand, we will analyze plays from a historical perspective, as if they were events. On the other hand, we will analyze social manners and political events from a dramatic perspective, as if they were performances. The ultimate goal will be to explore the porous boundaries between fiction and reality during the Renaissance to generate a more comprehensive understanding of early modern culture.
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-20-2014
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