Interpretation Seminar 4

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
202EIR4 exam 2 2 hours (45 min) of instruction per week, 32 to 42 hours of self-study English winter

Subject guarantor

Michaela RAISOVÁ

Name of lecturer(s)

Ondřej POLÁK, Michaela RAISOVÁ

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Instructing students to read carefully, make reading a need in life, that is, to demonstrate its sense. Considering the study focus, it is a training to read dramatic texts. Drama is not the summation of all lines and stage knowledge. To read a dramatic text is to decipher its structure. The interpretation course teaches this specific type of reading. It also shows how the structure of a dramatic text (today more often, post-dramatic) changed throughout the history of theatre. Different adaptations of the same dramatic texts are compared and other influences, contexts and media (film, Theatre, visual culture) are explored.

Mode of study

In the first year of the two-year course, Shakespeare is the subject of study. His position and significance reflects back to the beginning of drama culture and forward to modern drama. In the second year the students encounter with modern and contemporary anglophone plays. Special focus is given to play and theatricality as a theme. Students prepare short presentations.

Prerequisites and co-requisites

Course contents

Students come to class with a previously read text which is, based on the first observations, read again and re-interpreted, in at least key scenes. Primary texts are accompanied by reading secondary texts or other material of visual character (online).

Recommended or required reading

Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Mansfield Centee, CT: Martino Publishing, 2014 [1950].

Esslin, Martin. The Theatre of the Absurd. London: Methuen, 2001.

Aristotle. Poetics. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1997.

Kott, Jan. Shakespeare Our Contemporary. Translated by Boleslaw Taborski. London: Methuen, 1967.

De Garcia, Magreta and Wells, Stanley, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Sontag, Susan. An essay „Against Interpretation“ distributed as a printed document in the class.

Barthes, Roland. „The Death of the Author“ In Image, Music, Text. Translated by Stephan Heath. New York: Hill and Want, 1978.

Selected plays by William Shakespeare (King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Richard III., Coriolanus, Midsummer Night‘s Dream, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo a Julie, Measure for Measure, The Tempest and other, depending on the group focus).

Selected plays by Tom Stoppard, J. M. Synge, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Marina Carr, Martin McDonagh, Patrick Marber, Sarah Kane, Joe Penhall, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, David Mamet and other playwrights according to group’s interest.

Other essays and texts are distributed in the class according to the need and focus of the group.

Assessment methods and criteria

Students gain credits after the first semester and do an exam after the second semester. Part of the exam is an oral presentation on a selected topic. Aside from active participation during the whole course, students are evaluated according to their ability to communicate their thoughts based on thorough reading. In the winter semester, students write seminary papers on selected topic based on the reading list.

Further information

This course is an elective for all students of this school

Schedule for winter semester 2022/2023:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

Schedule for summer semester 2022/2023:

room R407

(Karlova 26, Praha 1)


Date Day Time Tutor Location Notes No. of paralel
Thu 11:00–14:00 Ondřej POLÁK
Michaela RAISOVÁ
Karlova 26, Praha 1

The subject is a part of the following study plans