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Politics and Performance: Drama in the Civil War and Restoration (EAS3193)

30 credits

This module studies Restoration drama both inside and outside the playhouse, in performance history and in wider political debates—guided by the twin assumptions that performance is always political, and that politics is always performative. ‘Politics’ is defined widely, to include the politics of sexuality, of libertinism, of gender, of colonialism and empire, and of violence.

The module spans the period between the beheading of Charles I in 1649 and expulsion of James II in 1688. We will follow theatre’s survival in marginal forms through the dark days of puritan rule, before tackling the heights of the restored theatre under Charles II, including the period’s greatest playwrights, Aphra Behn and John Dryden, and most popular genres, the epic drama, libertine tragedy, and the social and sexual satire of Restoration comedy.

No prior knowledge is required for the module.