Course Jukebox

Course Jukebox

Course Detail

Bachelor, Master
Standard Academic Year
Course delivery methods
Online (Synchronous)
Languages, Historical & philosophical studies, Creative arts & design
Philology: English Studies
Course Offering Year
Course Offering Month
October - February
Weekday and Period
20.10.2022 - 02.02.2023 8.30 - 10.00 h (CET)
Anticipated number of participants: 150 Slots available for CiC students: upon demand
Course Number

Comedy and the Comic Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Course Overview

Why do we laugh when we see a toddler taking his or her first steps, when we watch a male comedian impersonating a woman or when someone tells us that a sadist is a person who is nice to a masochist? Do all of these phenomena have a common denominator? And if so, what is it? After looking at some answers to these questions, we will move on to the genre which is most closely associated with laughter and the comic, i.e. dramatic comedy. I will provide a model of the genre and a typology of its most popular modes (romance, sentiment, satire, play ...); representative plays will be analysed in the light of these theoretical considerations. The focus will be on three early modern and on two twentieth-century comedies: William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, Ben Jonson’s Volpone, G.B. Shaw’s Pygmalion, and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. I will also discuss Notting Hill, a film based on the tradition of dramatic comedy. I am planning to give the lecture on campus (while also making it available as a podcast). However, depending on the Covid situation, I might record the lecture and make it available as a videocast.

Required texts: students who want to prepare for the lecture should read the plays mentioned above. No particular editions are required.

Learning Achievement


Course prerequisites

Grading Philosophy

Assessment: written exam or oral exam.

Course schedule

Course type

Online Course Requirement


Niederhoff, Burkhard

Other information

Programme: English Studies

Site for Inquiry

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