CANCELLED English - Elective Subject, topic 4: The War of the Sexes in Comedy from Shakespeare to Noel Coward

Course content



“The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war” (John Lyly). This course revolves around verbal wit and gender battles on the stage from the early modern period to the early 1930s. Through the study of 6-7 comedies (among them Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado about Nothing, R. B. Sheridan, The Rivals, Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Noel Coward, Private Lives) we will study the genre of comedy across the centuries on the English stage and contemplate the ways in which dialogue and verbal and physical fighting between the sexes provoke our notions of romantic love. The course will furthermore have both a practical and a theoretical component. We will work with selected scenes, under the direction of a trained actor, to lift the texts off the page and into three-dimensional space. We will also read literary theory on the drama, from Aristotle over Sir Philip Sidney to Northrop Frye in order think at a more abstract level about the functions and mechanisms of comedy. A brief study trip to London to see comedy at some of the world’s best theatres may also be a possibility.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 84
  • Preparation
  • 325,5
  • English
  • 409,5