All entries for February 2008

February 26, 2008

Comic Book Macbeth


A new book combining two of my favourite things: comic books and c17th literature. One day I intend to write a book on Shakespeare and the graphic novel… Includes free downloads!!

Next Week


Please read Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (1688). You should hopefully have the Penguin edition (with The Rover) from last week but if not an online version of the text is available here:

Points to think about:

- Genre: how does this narrative differ from a novel? Think about the narrator; characterisation; narrative structure.
- What does Behn have to say about religion? How is this contrasted with natural honour?
- How are the black characters presented both physically and in terms of their characterisation?
- How are women presented? How does this intersect with representations of race?

Optional Extra Reading:

Rebecca Lindner, ‘Jacobean and Caroline Prose Romance’, Literature Compass 1 (2003).
This article is available online (Athens access off campus) and provides a brief introduction to the romance genre from which Oroonoko later emerged.

Some useful websites:

February 22, 2008

Online Conference

I like this idea:
An online conference/journal the current issue of which addresses the ‘relationships between literary texts and social contexts that hinge upon the significance of genres and forms of discourse’. Forms and genres are a big issue in early modern studies at the moment. All these articles/papers are peer-reviewed and can therefore be legitimately cited in essays etc.

February 21, 2008



Letchery did consult with witcherye
how to procure frygiditye
upon this ground a course was found
to frame unto a nullatye
And gravitye assuming lenytye
gave strength to this impietye
hoping thereby a way to spye
to rise to further dignitye
But whats the end both foe and frend
cry shame on such austerytye
And booke and bell do dam to Hell
the Lord and Ladyes lecherye
Fully searchable online edition of early stuart manuscript libels. Would be a very useful way of finding references/contemporary analogues for references to historical figures.

February 19, 2008

Next Week

Aphra Behn

Please read Aphra Behn, The Rover (1677). The most useful edition to buy is Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works ed., Janet Todd (London: Penguin, 1992). Next week we’ll be looking at Oroonoko.

Points to think about:

- How does Behn adopt and manipulate the conventions of Restoration comedy (think about the plays we looked at last week).
- What does Behn have to say about contemporary politics? How does her play respond to the Cavalier tradition we have already studied?
- Are her female characters different from those found in plays written by men?

Optional Extra Reading:

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929). This essay still haunts the study of early modern women’s writing, not least for the comments Woolf makes about Behn.

Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, esp. chapter three. Seminal work on the significance of carnival.

February 07, 2008

Citizen Milton

Citizen Milton

A quick reminder about the Citizen Milton exhibition that’s on at Bodleian Library in Oxford. It’s definitely worth a visit. The exhibition website can be found here:
It includes ‘Bodcasts’ of readings of Milton’s texts by various people including Philip Pullman.

February 05, 2008

After Reading Week

Elizabeth Barry

“Women-actors, notorious whores” (William Prynne, Histrio-mastix, 1633).

Please read Etherege, The Man of Mode (1676) and Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675). Both texts are in Gamini Salgado ed., Three Restoration Comedies (London: Penguin, 1986). Dorimant in The Man of Mode is supposed to be a portrait of Rochester and is mentioned several times in The Libertine. I’m looking forward to hearing from those of you who saw the recent production of The Country Wife.

Points to think about:
- Think about the characters of the fop and the hero. How are they played off against one another? What do they tell us about Restoration society?
- How are women presented? How is this inflected with/influenced by the presence of women on the Restoration stage?
- What do the plays tell us about love and marriage and their significance for society?
- How are these plays political? Do they represent a new development in c17th literature or can we trace their precedents?

Optional Extra Reading:
This is a really useful website providing a lot of information on all things related to the Restoration theatre.

Susan J. Owen, A Companion to Restoration Drama (Blackwell, 2001). I would highly recommend reading the essay on ‘The Restoration Actress’ (please don’t remove this from the library in case anyone else wants to use it). I’ll explain why in the seminar…

February 04, 2008


Charles II

Well worth reading for this part of the course. Harris is interested in popular history, not just institutional politics. He deals with the Exclusion Crisis in a lot of detail, making this particularly relevant for this week’s work on Dryden.

February 01, 2008


This is as much a ‘note to self’ as an entry. I’ve just come across this search engine: that allows you to search for the meaning of words in early modern lexicons.

Search this blog

OED Word of the Day Go to 'Word of the day'

Word of the day
The word of the day from Oxford English Dictionary

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