ENGL 444 A: Dramatic Literature: Special Studies

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
LOW 219
William Streitberger

Additional Details:

Spring 2015
English 444
W.R. Streitberger
Tragicomedy from The Winter’s Tale to Breaking Bad

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.’ Samuel Beckett, Endgame

While comic treatment of potentially tragic experience is as old as Euripides’ ironic tragedies with comic endings and as new as some of the latest Hollywood films, tragicomedy has predominated mainly in two periods--the Renaissance and the modern era. The theoretical conceptions and critical concerns common to both periods are that tragicomedy is a quintessentially ‘modern’ genre, that it is more true to life than either tragedy or comedy, that the relationship between the comic and tragic must not be haphazard but rather the one should modify the other to bring a meaningful mixture of responses from the audience, and finally that success in this genre is difficult to achieve. We will read plays and theoretical discussions of the genre from the Renaissance and modern periods and see film productions of some of the plays before going on to investigate the genre in contemporary films and television. Reports, essays, in class exam.

Catalog Description: 
Study of a particular dramatic tradition (such as expressionism or the absurd theatre) or character (the clown) or technique (play-within-a-play, the neoclassical three unities). Topics vary.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:20am