Professor Mazer

Spring 2000


Bennett Hall 305, x7382;

Office Hours: Tu, Th 1:30-3:00, and by appointment.


January 18: Introduction.


January 20: Classicism to Romanticism I: David Garrick and Drury Lane.

January 25: 18th Century Acting:

Readings: Joseph R. Roach, “Garrick, the Ghost, and the Machine” (bulkpack); Henry Fielding, except from Tom Jones. (bulkpack).


January 27: Classicism to Romanticism II: Goethe and Weimar Classicism.

Readings: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Rules for Actors” (bulkpack); Egmont (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.

February 1: Romanticism, the Visual Arts, and Scene-Painting.

[in-class slide presentation]


February 3: Gothic Melodrama.

Readings: M.G. “Monk” Lewis, The Castle Spectre (in Jeffrey N. Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas, 1789-1825).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.


February 8: Romantic Theatre and Society.

Readings: Elaine Hadley, “The Old Price Wars: Melodramatizing the Public Sphere in Early-Nineteenth-Century England” (bulkpack).


February 10: Gothic Melodrama and Romantic Opera.

Listening assignment (on reserve, Ormandy Listening Room, Van Pelt Library): Carl Maria von Weber, Der Freischütz.


February 15: Defining English Romanticism:

Readings: Joanna Baillie, “Introductory Discourse to the Plays on the Passions” (bulkpack); Baillie, De Monfort (In Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.


February 17: Romantic Acting.

Readings: William Hazlitt, reviews of Edmund Kean (bulkpack); George Henry Lewes, “Edmund Kean,” from On Actors and the Art of Acting (bulkpack); Michael R. Booth, “Sarah Siddons,” in Three Tragic Actresses (bulkpack).


February 22: Romantic Acting and Romantic Character:

Readings: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Pizarro (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.




February 24: French Romanticism.

Readings: Victor Hugo, Preface to Cromwell (bulkpack); Hugo, Le Roi S’Amuse (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.


February 29: French Romanticism and Popular Theatre:

Readings: Robert F. Storey, Pierrot: A Critical History of a Mask, pp. 93-138 (bulk-pack).

Film Screening: Marcel Carné, Children of Paradise (to be arranged, either on video, or to be narrow-case on PVN).


March 2: Edwin Forrest and American Romantic Acting.

Reading: John Augustus Stone, Metamora, or the Last of the Wampanoags (bulkpack); Jeffrey D. Mason, “Metamora and the ‘Indian’ Question,” in Melodrama and the Myth of America, pp. 23-59 (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.



March 7: Pictorialism and Spectacle.

Readings: Douglas Jerrold, The Rent-Day (bulkpack); “Speaking Pictures” (pp. 38-51) and” “W.P. Frith and the Shape of Modern Life” (pp. 373-401) in Realizations: Narrative, Pictorial, and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England (on reserve in Rosengarten).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.

March 9: Middle-Class Melodrama.

Reading: Dion Boucicault, The Corsican Brothers (bulkpack); George Henry Lewes, “Charles Kean,” from On Actors and the Art of Acting (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.


[spring break]


March 21: Bourgeois Domestic Drama.

Readings: T. W. Robertson, Caste (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.


March 23: Victorian Romanticism::

Readings: Leopold Lewis, The Bells (bulkpack); skim through the notes and pictures in David Mayer, ed., Henry Irving and "The Bells" (reserve).

Prepared in-class staging: __________.


March 28: Spectacular Theatre and the Director.

Readings: Michael R. Booth, Victorian Spectacular Theatre, pp. 30-59 (bulkpack); Oscar Wilde, “The Truth of Masks” from Intentions (bulkpack).




March 30: Wagner at Bayreuth.

Readings: Richard Wagner, “The Art-Work of the Future” (bulkpack).

Listening Assignment (on reserve, Ormandy Listening Room, Van Pelt Library): Deryck Cooke, An Introduction to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.


April 4: Mid-Century American Melodrama.

Readings: George Aiken, Uncle Tom's Cabin (in Daniel Gerould, American Melodrama); Jeffrey D. Mason, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Politics of Race,” in Melodrama and the Myth of America, pp. 89-126 (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class Staging: __________.




April 11: American Melodrama (cont.).

Readings: Dion Boucicault, The Octoroon (bulk-pack); Joseph R. Roach, “Slave Spectacles and Tragic Octoroons: A Cultural Genealogy of Antebellum Performance” (bulkpack).

Prepared in-class Staging: __________.


April 13: Urban Melodrama.

Readings: Augustin Daly, Under the Gaslight (in Gerould, American Melodrama).

Prepared in-class Staging: __________.


April 18: Neo-Romanticism and the Avant-Garde:

Readings: Oscar Wilde, Salome.

Prepared in-class Staging: __________.


April 20: Melodrama and Realism I:

Readings: Lise-Lone Marker, David Belasco: Naturalism in the American Theatre, pp. 46-98 (bulkpack); David Belasco, The Girl of the Golden West (in Daniel Gerould, American Melodrama).

Prepared in-class Staging: __________.


April 25: Melodrama and “Realism” II: Verismo Opera:

Listening Assignment (in the Ormandy Listening Room, Van Pelt Library): Puccini (and Sardou), Tosca.


April 27: Catch-up and conclusions.



You are responsible for participation in ONE prepared scene, to be presented during the classes noted. BRING YOUR SCRIPTS TO CLASS THAT DAY, even if you are not participating in the prepared in-class staging; if no one has signed up in advance to stage a scene, we might work through a scene and put it on its feet during the class hour. There will be TWO take-home essay assignments, plus ONE final research project, due at a date to be announced, on a topic that must MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE. Attendance in class is crucial; CHRONIC ABSENCE OR LATENESS WILL BE COUNTED AGAINST YOU.


The following books can be purchased at the Penn Book Center, 34th and Sansom Sts.:


Jeffrey N. Cox, Seven Gothic Dramas, 1789-1825

Daniel Gerould, American Melodrama

Oscar Wilde, Salome


The bulkpack can be purchased at the Campus Copy Center, 39th and Walnut.


The listserv for this course is mazer140@english. An electronic version of this syllabus can be found at: In addition, we will be using an experimental web site for this course. Make a bookmark on your browser for, click on Theatre Arts, and click on our course. If you are registered, you are automatically subscribed: your login will be your PennName and your password is the last five digits of your social security number. CHECK THIS SITE DAILY. The web site will include daily announcements (including information about theatregoing assignments), and an electronic copy of the syllabus. The site also includes a discussion group, with access restricted to members of the course.