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Post War British Drama 1950s-1990s

Class at Faculty of Arts |


10.2.2022 -- Please note -- this class is full. No more students will be permitted to enroll.

This course is a survey the work of a selection of British playwrights from the 1950s to the 1990s. It will explore the various characteristics of British theatre as it has developed in the latter half of the twentieth century, in terms of the dramatic techniques employed, the artistic and political agendas of playwrights and relevant historical contexts.

Schedule 1. (22.2) Introduction: Hot to Cool, Osborne to Ravenhill, Tynan to Billington 2. (1.3) Generation gap: John Osborne Look Back in Anger (1956) 3. (8.3) I WILL BE ABSENT 4. (15.3) Brechtian shadows: John Osborne The Entertainer (1957) & Shelagh Delaney A Taste of Honey (1958) 5. (22.3) A Theatre of the Absurd? Harold Pinter The Caretaker (1960), The Homecoming (1965) 6. (29.3) Provocations: Joe Orton Entertaining Mr Sloane (1964) & Edward Bond Saved (1965) 7. (5.4) Rewriting Shakespeare: Tom Stoppard Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1966) & Edward Bond Lear (1971) 8. (12.4) Experiments and role reversals: Caryl Churchill Cloud Nine (1979), Top Girls (1982) 9. (19.4) Political metaphors: Howard Brenton The Romans in Britain (1980) &

David Hare Skylight (1995) 10. (26.4) Postmodern / post dramatic: Martin Crimp Attempts on Her Life (1997) 11. (3.5) In-Yer-Face: Sarah Kane Blasted (1995) & Mark Ravenhill Shopping and Fucking (1996) 12. (10.5) Expanded spaces at century’s end: David Greig Europe (1994), The Cosmonaut’s last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union (1999)

ESSAY PROPOSALS ARE DUE 13. (17.5) Conclusions, review of essay proposals

Grading Scheme

Attendance and Participation 25%

Presentation 25%

Final Essay (+proposal) 50%

Course requirements:

Students are expected to attend classes. YOU ARE PERMITTED A MAXIMUM OF TWO ABSENCES. In order to pass this class you must capable of reading and discussing primary and secondary texts in English, and be able to compose an academic research paper at the end of the course.


Participation extends beyond mere attendance. Expect your instructor to keep track of how often you contribute to class discussion (as a whole), particularly during the class discussions of assigned readings.


Presentations should address an issue connected with the texts/topic in question. Depending on the number of students in the seminar, each presentation should be around 10 minutes in length. You may prepare your talk in bullet points and should include questions for further discussion. You may prepare handouts or use the powerpoint facilities but PLEASE focus on something specific, an idea, a key passage, a debate the plays in question give rise to or address. Reading out large chunks of text is to be avoided and will be interrupted.

Presentations should be uploaded to the Moodle site before the class session.


A list of suggested essay topics will be distributed during the semester. All students preparing essays should compose a paragraph length proposal outlining their topic and thesis statement/argument; length 150-200 words. A brief list of source materials in Chicago style should also be included.

Deadline for proposals for final essays: Proposals must be uploaded on the course site by 18.00 on 10 May 2022.

• Final essays for Credit (Záp.) for BA students should be 2500 words minimum (bibliography excluded).

• Final essays for Credit (Záp.) for MA students should be 3000 words minimum (bibliography excluded).

• Final essays for Grade (PP/ZK) for MA students should be 4500-5000 words minimum (bibliography excluded).

Deadline for essays: Essays should be uploaded on the course site by 18.00 on 31 May 2022. If you require an extension you need to write to me in advance and explain why you need more time.

Final essays should combine both close analysis of selected primary texts and secondary materials. Heavy reliance on the internet should be avoided. Please pay attention to correct citation procedures. Chicago format for citations and bibliographies is required (models can be found in the library, the departmental Study Guide and on the internet—See

Study programmes