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PS Tudor Myth : Course Description

Course Description ^top


subject area: literature and cultural studies
language: English
reading: William Shakespeare, Henry VIII (1623); Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl (2001); variety of Tudor sources
films: The Tudors (selected episodes, 2007); Blackadder (selected episodes, 1986); Shekhar Kapur, Elizabeth (1998), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Film screenings will take place on Monday evenings (8 pm). Attendance is mandatory!

Portrait Henry VIII

The 'Tudor Myth' - an interpretation of history favourable to the Tudors - was used to legitimise and consolidate the reigns of Tudor King Henry VIII and his successors. In this course, we will not only scrutinize the historical, political and social foundations of Elizabethan culture, but also have a look at art and literature and how they mirror(ed) and/or adapt(ed) the royal myth. As the Tudor Myth seems to have regained momentum in recent years, we will also have a look at modern adaptations and representations of the Renaissance and the Tudors.
To make ourselves familiar with the Elizabethan world, we will read contemporary sources on various topics such as politics, society, culture, the body and cosmos, science and magic, gender relations and the body and sexuality. We will then focus on both literary and filmic representations of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I: W. Shakespeare's Henry VIII, P. Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), the recent TV series The Tudors (2007), the BBC's comic classic Blackadder (1983), and S. Kapur's two Elizabeth-films (1998/2007).

Portrait Anne Boleyn

Reading List ^top


various sources (on Tudor history, literature and culture) - cf. seminar reader
W. Shakespeare, Henry VIII (Arden edition, € 14,99)
P. Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl (HarperCollins, € 10,99)

Please note that the reading load for this course is relatively demanding as we are going to read a substantial amount of 17th-century sources. Film screenings will take place on Mondays at 8 p.m. - attendance is mandatory! You should have finished reading at least Henry VIII by the beginning of the summer term (keep in mind that shipping might take up to a fortnight).