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20th Century European Drama

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course aims to complement other short courses in drama and offer a broader understanding of the development of European drama in the 20th century. By studying examples from different currents and cultures as well as theoretical texts of the time, students will be better able to understand the transformations in the concept and practice of drama during the 20th century.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. Introduction.

2. Chekhov - The Cherry Orchard.

3. Strindberg - A Dream Play.

4. Wedekind - Spring Awakening.

5. Brecht - The Threepenny Opera.

6. Federico García Lorca –Yerma.

7. Eugene Ionesco – The Lesson.

8. Jean Genet – The Maids.

9. Shelagh Delaney - A Taste of Honey.

10. Yasmina Reza - God of Carnage.

Teaching method(s)

Discussion-based classes, with a short introductory lecture in every session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good general understanding of how European drama has evolved over the 20th Century:

  • Engage critically with fictional texts, describing and analysing themes and techniques:

  • Show understanding of the social, political and cultural context in which the texts analysed were created:

  • Evaluate the degree to which literature and popular culture in general are influenced by politics and ideology.


Core Readings

The edition shown is the one currently in print. Students may use any other edition.


  • Chekhov, A. (2008). Five Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Strindberg. A (2008). Miss Julie and Other Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Wedekind, F. (2010). Spring Awakening. London: Nick Hern Books

  • Brecht, B. (2005). The Threepenny Opera. London: Bloombsbury

  • Garcia Lorca, F. (2008). Four Major Plays. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics

  • Ionesco, E. (2000).  "Rhinoceros", "The Chairs", and "The Lesson". London: Penguin Books

  • Genet, J. (2016). The Maids. London: Faber and Faber

  • Delaney, S. (2016). A Taste of Honey. London: Bloombsbury

  • Reza, Y. (2008). God of Carnage. London: Faber and Faber

Class Handouts

Fragments from critical appraisal of the works and authors will be provided to provide a background and facilitate teaching.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.