Study Abroad and Exchanges



SEL3389 : Stage and Page: Character and Performance, 1660-1800 (Inactive)

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The question at the core of this module is that of how literature represents personal consciousness. How can a character be staged, written and/or performed? The long eighteenth century constitutes a particularly rich environment for studying this question, for many writers have claimed that a new way of thinking about what made a person a person emerged at this time: a performative, malleable, social self gave way to an inward-facing, stable one, which remains with us today. Testing the validity of this distinction will be one part of our work in this module.

We will begin with a study of character in a number of dramas from 1660 to 1760; these texts will include tragedies and comedies, but also the burlesques, pantomimes and adaptations that were highly popular at this time. In addition to their scripts, we will also examine the contemporary performance of these works and the new theories of acting that emerged alongside them. In latter weeks, we will move from the world of the theatre to that of the novel, and consider how the characters of this new form either follow or abandon those of the stage.

Do novelists (or their creations) perform? Are actors just another kind of reader? It is easy to divorce page from stage, but this module wishes to explore their union. Some of our key themes for doing so are: character, print, performance, emotion and identity.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will cover a range of forms: plays, novels, essays, poems, philosophical treatises, scholarly apparatus, and private letters. The content of the module should usually fall into four rough sections:

Weeks 1 - 5: Drama and performance from 1660 to 1737
Weeks 6 - 7: Drama and performance after 1737
Weeks 8 - 10: Novel and performance
Weeks 11 - 12: Anti-theatre and retrospection

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion124:0024:00Essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Commentary
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading118:0088:00Weekly Reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:302:30Essay Workshop
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Study Groups
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study112:3027:30Weekly Independent Work
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to knowledge outcomes relevant to the module. They address themes common to the authors studied and encourage the students to think comparatively.

The seminars allow for the development of knowledge outcomes through close reading of specified texts, and the practice of skills, especially oral presentation and interpersonal communication.

In addition, between the lecture and the seminar, students will be required to participate in a self-directed group learning hour. In the course of the module, each student will be responsible for recording group discussion on at least two occasions.

Finally, an essay workshop held in the second half of the semester will provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their own writing and consider how they might improve it ahead of the final assessment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M301,500 word commentary
Essay2A702,500 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The mid-module commentary (1,500 words) will ask students to concentrate on one text studied in the first few weeks of the module, putting into practice all that they have learnt about drama and performance so far.

The end-of-module essay (2, 500 words) will be a piece of comparative work, using at least two texts, and answering a specific question chosen from an exam paper.

Taken together, these two tasks require both a variety of skills and a broad knowledge of the material studied in the module. They should allow students to focus their ideas in such a way as to connect to the larger module aims and themes.

Reading Lists