English 520 (Summer 2011)
Representations of London in Early Modern English Literature
London Studies is an important area of early modern studies, bridging the disciplines of literature, history, geography, and cartography. Early modern London -- the centre of English commerce, home to the first purpose-built playhouses in England, and a magnet for both the dispossessed and the upwardly mobile -- was the terminus of "all roads and many dreams" (Orlin, ed., Material London, ca. 1600). This course will consider the ways in which texts worked to create or resist a new identity for the growing city, to alienate or incorporate the new Londoners, to preserve or re-imagine medieval institutions, re-write rituals of inclusion and exclusion, and enforce or expand the city’s literal and imaginative boundaries.
Taking our cue from A Survey of London, John Stow’s historical walk through the streets of 1598 London, we will work with the long-view and bird’s-eye-view maps of London to keep our focus on the imaginative force of urban topography in the means by which "London" and its citizens and denizens enacted civic subjectivity. Was London a place in the natural environment, a community of people, an overlapping array of institutions, or an aggregate of buildings and streets? How did Londoners understand the space in which they lived, worked, and played? We will read and apply historical background, theories of the everyday, the rhetoric of space, and recent developments in this new interdisciplinary field. Primary readings cover a variety of genres and forms by canonical and non-canonical authors.
One assignment will introduce students to the use of the Short Title Catalogue (1485-1640) and the Early English Books collection (microfilm or via Early English Books On-Line). Students will be given the opportunity to contribute to The Map of Early Modern London.
Part 1: Place and the Play of Genre
Class 1: Tuesday, 10 May. Mapping London
Class 2: Thursday, 12 May. Topography and Mythography; Conduit Culture
Class 3: Tuesday, 17 May. The Historical and Spatial Axes
Class 4: Thursday, 19 May. The Res Publica
Class 5: Tuesday, 24 May. Worlds within Worlds; Communitas and City Types
Class 6: Thursday, 26 May. The Urbs and Suburbs
Class 7: Tuesday, 31 May. New Arrivals; Heterotopian Spaces
Part 2: Plays and the Place of the Stage
Class 8: Tuesday, 7 June. The City and the Crown
Class 9: Thursday, 9 June. The City or the Crown
Playreading: Tuesday, 14 June. The Knight of the Burning Pestle
Class 10: Thursday, 16 June. Citizen Romance: The King and the Cobbler
Class 11: Tuesday, 21 June. Send up the Citizens
Class 12: Thursday, 23 June. Seasons of Work and Play
Syllabus (.doc file)
Possibilities for Street/Site Presentations and Write-Ups (.docx file)
Contributor Guidelines: Street or Site Short Essays (.docx file).
Researching the Streets and Sites of Early Modern London (.doc file). Use these guidelines to help you find the information you need to complete your presentation and short essay on the street or site you’ve chosen.
Participation (5%) (.docx file). This document gives suggestions for the discussion questions and responses.
Early Text Assignment (.doc file).
Research Question and Major Project Guidelines (.doc file).
-- Updated 1 June 2011 by JJ
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
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