Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
english masthead
english masthead
Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 314J • Literature and Theater

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33575 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 303
Kim, D

Course Description

This course will focus on the relationship between literary interpretation of drama and its theatrical production. Concentrating on modern drama from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, we will examine literary texts and their representation on stage. We will read secondary criticisms and watch film adaptations of the texts to discuss how literary texts are interpreted and visualized on stage. For instance, an English translator of Ibsen's A Doll's House omitted a scene in which Nora shows her leg and silk stocking to Dr. Rank because the translator personally did not like it. Sometimes, public sentiments can also be the cause of stage modification of the original text. In the first German production of A Doll's House, Ibsen was "forced" to modify the ending where Nora ultimately changes her mind and decides to stay at home upon looking at her children. Questions arise: To what extent and in what way does the translator or the director compromise the original text in the process of translation or production? What tension arises when a text is translated or produced in a different cultural context? How do directors and actors negotiate the author's "intent"? We will discuss how a director's interpretation affects the audience in their understanding of the text and how each production reflects the contemporary social conditions. In addition, the course will be concerned with the issues of rhetoric. The genre of drama is especially suitable for an in-depth exploration of a narrative because this genre must necessarily have various narrative voices at play. As there is no intervening arbiter on stage, we need to be constantly reminded that there is no completely reliable narration upon which to depend in analyzing a play. In this respect, we will consider the reliability of diverse voices on stage.

Grading Policy

Class Participation 10%, Final Presentation 15%, 3 Papers (5-6 pages) 20 % each, 4 short responses (1-page) 15%


Ibsen, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts (+ stage adaptation)
Shaw, Candida
Pinter, The Homecoming
Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (+ film adaptation)
Secondary criticisms


bottom border