1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Genre Studies


ENGN 3400 History of Drama I: Aeschylus to Ibsen

1230-1345 TR - DABELL 123

Instructor: Lotta Löfgren

This is the first of a two-semester survey of the history of Western drama from the fifth century B.C. to the present; the first semester will take us through the nineteenth century. Aside from investigating, through a close reading of the texts, what makes for ageless drama, we will also examine the texts from several contextual perspectives. For example: How do the political, religious, and physical environments in which the plays were first performed inform our texts? How do changes in those environments affect our interpretation of those texts? Why are so many societies suspicious of the theater and of actors? How do gender issues influence text and performance? Who was the intended audience? We will travel widely throughout the Western world in the course of the semester, reading plays by Sophocles, Aristophanes, Hrotswitha, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Molière, Sheridan, Ibsen, and others. Requirements: Two shorter papers and a longer paper or a project (one option is to write your own play); a final exam.