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English 4312: Studies in Drama
British Romantic Drama
Response Paper #3 Prompts

Part 1

Use the following prompts to guide your thinking and writing about the plays we have read at the end of the semester. Make your response brief.

Use in-text citations of primary sources.
  • Joanna Baillie’s Count Basil (1798), Lord Byron’s Sardanapalus (1821), George Colman the Younger’s Blue-Beard; or Female Curiosity (1798), and Matthew Lewis’s Timour the Tartar; A Grand Romantic Melo-drama in Two Acts (1811) all focus on issues of national leadership and the “masculine” qualities of those put in positions of leadership. Discuss this motif in these plays.
  • All four plays represent generic oddities emerging during the Romantic period. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these dramas that bend the generic rules.
  • All four plays engage in negotiations with Orientalism—their settings, their characters and characterizations, and their dramatic “special effects” reify or challenge emergent British ideals of colonialism and imperialism. Discuss the Orientialism embedded in these plays.
  • All four plays re-write quasi-historical or folkloric tales for the stage. What are the effects of adapting popular culture, knowledge already a part of the collective cultural consciousness, and re-casting it for the theatre? Why might Romantic playwrights turn to these stories as material for their plays?

Part 2

Use the following prompts to guide your thinking and writing about the entire semester, our course in British Romantic drama, the plays we’ve read, discussed, written about. Use this opportunity to share with me something that you have learned or discovered, something about the learning process that I might not otherwise recognize from our previous assignments. Be honest and candid in both this course assessment and self-assessment.

  • What have you learned about Romanticism that you did not know before this class? What have you learned about drama that you did not know before this class?
  • What have you learned about yourself from this course?
  • If you were to teach this course, what plays would you definitely keep, and what plays might you delete from the syllabus? What assignments would you keep, and what assignments might you modify? How? Why?
  • In what ways has the course enriched your degree program as an English major? Would you like to see this course offered regularly? If I were to teach the course again, what recommendations would you make as someone who has experienced its “pilot” version?
  • At the beginning of the semester, I made it clear that you would encounter feminist pedagogy in this course. Comment on the effectiveness of this pedagogy for you. One of the features of feminist pedagogy is to build community among the class members, but this community building can happen only when we have all class members coming to class regularly. Why is attendance a problem for a senior-level course (therefore a course students elect to take and are not required to take)? What can we do to foster better attendance and so enhance community building?
  • Are there some affective experiences (as opposed to intellectual or cognitive) that the drama or the course prompted that you find useful to share? Have the dramas and class caused you to feel differently about anything than you did before the course began?
  • I invite you to share anything else about the course, its readings, its assignments, its instructional delivery, and your role in the learning-teaching dynamic that might be useful to me as I render evaluations for individuals and as I assess the course in general. Since my presidential address at the fall meeting of the International Conference on Romanticism will focus on the praxis of teaching British Romantic Drama and teaching Romanticism through and with the drama, your comments will be helpful to my scholarship as well as to my teaching.

Published @ RC

May 2011