ENGL4106 Emotions in the Theatre

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in English and Literary Studies [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
This unit enables students to pursue specialist studies in literature and culture of the medieval or early modern periods (500–1750). The unit offers the opportunity for intensive textual analysis, informed by current critical and theoretical understandings of the period in question, of the relationships between literature, history, philosophy and politics, and of language and textuality.

How can modern actors approach early modern emotions, and what is the relationship between the emotions of a playwright, an actor, a character, and a spectator or reader? Is early modern drama emotionally therapeutic? Emotionally risky? Are some emotions universal? In Theatre Studies, we have been asking questions about the purpose and function of the emotions since Aristotle theorised catharsis, and through the work of Diderot, Stanislavski, and many others these issues have remained at the forefront of the discipline. By looking at History of Emotions scholarship alongside approaches from Theatre and Performance Studies, students consider how early modern drama mobilises, regulates, names and characterises emotions; how the early modern theatre can be understood in terms of emotional communities, emotional regimes and emotional refuges; how elements such as the spatial configuration of the playing space, the circulation of objects, and the bodies of the actors create sites of emotional blending or emotional scaffolding; and how historical and modern approaches to acting affect the circulation of emotions in performance.
Students are able to (1) critically assess literary-historical arguments, and contribute to debates in the field; (2) recognise and analyse dominant and emergent ideologies of the period, as manifested in the set texts; (3) understand the major philosophical, political, religious and historical developments of the period; (4) present informed and well researched interpretations of texts in the studied genres; and (5) read and critique a range of important texts and genres from the medieval and/or early modern periods.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a seminar presentation and related short essay; (2) a research project; and (3) a final seminar presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Paul Megna
Unit rules
sufficient units to ensure admission to Honours in English and Cultural Studies
Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Contact hours
seminars: 2 hours per week for 12 weeks
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.