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Approaches to Teaching English Renaissance Drama

Editor(s): Karen Bamford, Alexander Leggat

Pages: xv & 230 pp.
Published: 2002
ISBN: 9780873527743 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873527736 (hardcover)

"This is an excellent volume which will be highly useful to a well-targeted audience--college and university teachers of English Renaissance Drama exclusive of Shakespeare. Since few pedagogical materials on Shakespeare's contemporaries now exist, this will be a much-appreciated resource for all of us who teach these plays."

Linda Woodbridge, Professor of English, Pennsylvania State University

Many college students are familiar with the works of William Shakespeare but may know little about other playwrights of his era. This volume explores the compelling dramatic techniques and rich language found in a wide variety of both well-known and less-familiar Renaissance plays. A series of reading, performance, and research strategies is outlined for teachers who wish to encourage students to understand the English Renaissance from a fresh perspective.

Like the other volumes in the Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, this one offers classroom advice from experienced teachers. The first section, "Materials," surveys classroom practice and discusses the resources available to teachers, including editions, historical information on performance conditions, films and videos of productions, and related Internet sites. The second section, "Approaches," offers strategies for teaching the plays as performance, for introducing students to the language of Renaissance drama, and for demonstrating the collaborative nature of Renaissance authorship. Contributors also consider the plays in the context of racial, gender, religious, and class issues in the Renaissance and compare the dramas to Stuart masques, festive practices, and other art forms such as painting.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching English Renaissance Drama


Classroom Practice
Alexander Leggatt

Editions, Recommended Reading, Performance, the Internet
Karen Bamford

A Renaissance Filmography
Philippa Sheppard


Introduction: The Strangeness of Renaissance Drama
Alexander Leggatt

Texts and Resources

Texts That Won't Stand Still
Leah S. Marcus

Performance Conditions
A. R. Braunmuller

Fair Counterfeits: A Bibliography of Visual Aids for Renaissance Drama
Philippa Sheppard


Teaching Texture in Jonson's The Alchemist
Joseph Candido

The Witch of Edmonton: A Model for Teaching Collaboration in the Renaissance
Jayson B. Brown, William W. E. Slights, and Reta Terry

Responding to Renaissance Drama: One Way of Guiding Students
Frances Teague

Vittoria's Secret: Teaching Webster's The White Devil as a Tragedy of Inscrutability
James Hirsh

Against the Bogeyman in English Renaissance Drama
Theodore B. Leinwand

"Our Sport Shall Be to Take What They Mistake": Classroom Performance and Learning
Helen Ostovich

Teaching Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam through Performance
Laurie Maguire

Teaching History, Teaching Difference, Teaching by Directing Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness
Ric Knowles

Webbing Webster
C. E. McGee


Arden and the Archives
Arthur F. Kinney

"This Strumpet Serves Her Own Ends": Teaching Class and Service in Early Modern Drama
Jan Stirm

Teaching the Details of Race and Religious Difference in Renaissance Drama
Rebecca Ann Bach

Historicizing Gender: Mapping Cultural Space in Webster's The Duchess of Malfi and Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam
Christina Luckyj

Tragedy and the Female Body: A Materialist Approach to Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness and Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
Lori Schroeder Haslem

Sex Matters
Mario DiGangi

Teaching Drama as Festivity: Dekker's The Shoemakers' Holiday and Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle
Phebe Jensen

How Much History Is Enough? Overcoming the Alienation of Early Modern Drama
John Hunter

Jonson's Bartholomew Fair and Brueghel's Children's Games
Judith Weil

Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue: Introducing Undergraduates to Stuart Masques and Enjoying It
Randall Ingram

Contextualizing the Demonic: Marlowe's Dr. Faustus in the Classroom
Thomas Akstens

Tamburlaine to Tarantino
Paul Budra

Works Cited

Index of Playwrights

Index of Dramas

Index of Names

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© 2015 Modern Language Association. Last updated 02/24/2015.