Introductory Seminar: Introductions to British Children's Books, Children's Theatre and Women's Literature

In the first semester, this class examines British children’s literature from its beginnings in the late 1600s to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). We look at ten classic children’s books: this introduces students to literary study, as well as to the historical development of ideas about childhood and education. In the second semester, the class looks at some examples of twentieth-century children's theatre and examines British women’s literature from its beginnings to Pride and Prejudice (1813). The second semester involves students in more advanced literary study and introduces them to some “feminist” thinking about the disadvantages women experienced (and often overcame!) in the past.

STUDENTS: To download texts for this class click HERE.

Junior Seminar: British Musical Theatre, 1900-2000  

This class examines the development of musical theatre in Britain between 1900 and 2000, concentrating on the modern "musical" but also looking at three operas – more serious and challenging kinds of musical theatre. We read and discuss the stories, watch or listen to extracts from filmed or recorded versions, and consider how the music contributes to the theatrical experience. One of the key emphases of the class is on the process of adaptation, and we study the way a series of famous novels (A Village Romeo and Juliet, Oliver Twist, The Phantom of the Opera and Wuthering Heights) have been adapted for theatre and song.

STUDENTS: To download texts for this class click HERE.

Senior Seminar: British Musical Theatre, 1700-2000  

This class extends and deepens the study you have done in Junior Seminar, though it can be taken separately. The first semester again works through the period 1900-2000, now looking in much greater depth at two musicals in particular: Salad Days (1954) and Mamma Mia! (1999). The second semester then examines the longer history, starting with The Beggar's Opera (1728) and moving forwards to 1900, focussing in particular on the development of the “musical” tradition in which British writers and composers found ways to combine music and song with spoken dialogue.

STUDENTS: To download texts for this class click HERE.

An Introduction to English Culture

This class introduces you to several key aspects of English culture and history and gives you a framework in which to compare them with Japanese culture. It begins by looking at other countries' views of England over the last 700 years, and considering England's historical relationship with Japan. It then looks at a number of topics―food, religion, humour, music, higher education, sport, nursery rhymes―and considers how these things evolved in England, and what that evolution tells us about England and the English. The course ends with a discussion of how England developed the influential idea of “Cultural Studies.”

STUDENTS: To download handouts for this class click HERE.

An Introduction to English Poetry

For this class, the textbook is The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language (1861), a collection of around 300 short poems written between the early 1500s and the mid-1800s. It is the most famous and successful anthology of English poetry ever published. Each week we discuss the language and ideas of two or three poems. The ideas, we find, are usually timeless and universal: ideas about love, death, happiness, loss, growing up, the countryside, and other fundamental elements of human experience. There will be a vote to decide which poems are studied in this class.

STUDENTS: To download a shortened version of  The Golden Treasury click HERE.