‘The Game is up’ – Transgressive Dynamics in Romantic Drama

Lecturer: Dr Mirka Horová

This seminar will discuss key transgressive elements in Romantic drama which unravel the correlation between action and meaning, eroding the moral foundations of tragedy. Taking a cue from the Sturm und Drang tradition, these Romantic dramas interrogate the Romantic preoccupation with radical individuality and freedom. The aim of this seminar will be to explore the aspects of liminality and the nomadic in the selected texts and the ways in which these propagate transgressive dynamics, paving the way towards modern dramatic and ethical concerns, and to discuss the resulting vestiges of the tragic. 

Assigned reading will comprise two key Romantic tragedies:

Wordsworth, The Borderers (1796-97/1842)

Byron, Werner (1823)

Optional reading:

Coleridge, Osorio / Remorse (1797/1812)

Cox, Jeffrey N., ‚Romantic Redefinitions of the Tragic‘, in Romantic Drama, ed. Gerard Gillespie (John Benjamins, 1994), 153-65.
Horová, Mirka, ‚Romantic play: from ludus to paidia, from agon to ilinx‚, Litteraria Pragensia, 60:30 (June 2020), 151-69.

Richardson, Alan, ‚The Borderers and the Drama of Recognition‘, A Mental Theatre (Pennsylvania State UP, 1988), 20-42.