The Art of the Dramatic Monologue

116 TUTOR: John Byrom

The formula is as follows: take a striking character about to commit an unusual act. Stir in an element of repressed or unrepressed excitement, blend with an element of taboo or scandal and add a motive that is sometimes violent, sometimes enigmatic and sometimes unknown even to the perpetrator. These are the main elements of a dramatic monologue, a form of poetry popular among the Victorian and modern writers. In this course, full of dodgy dukes, cunning churchmen, artful artists and historical characters we shall show how Robert Browning and his successors revealed some surprising psychological insights. Come and enjoy learning something about poetry - and possibly ourselves...

1 PM
PM course

Course Notes

This year I hope to offer an invigorating and enjoyable course on Dramatic Monologues in which we look at the actions and mindset of a galaxy of interesting characters, mainly in poetry, but also in prose. We shall investigate Chaucer's Pardoner (with modern explanation), Shakespeare's Hamlet, Henry V and Richard II, and Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess” and "A Bishop Orders his Tomb in St Praxed's Church”. In prose we have an excerpt from "Mrs Dalloway” and in modern idiom "The World's Wife” by Carol Ann Duffy.

Don't worry: this is a course based on extracts, and I will supply most of the books to ease the weight of your luggage - but if you could obtain copies of "Mrs Dalloway” and Carol Ann Duffy's "The World's Wife” which I can't supply, that would be splendid. Cheap good second-hand copies may be had online from Abe books or Amazon.

You will be most welcome to the course, and I look forward to seeing you in the summer - and if you wish to rev yourself up for the experience, why not try out some poems from "Archie and Mehitabel” by Don Marquis? It's not every day that you come across a philosophical cockroach.

Course Tutor

John Byrom

About John

John Byrom is now retired but taught in a number of institutions in his career. One of them was Marlborough College where he was a housemaster and Head of the English Department for a time. He left Marlborough for the colder climes of Aberdeen University and then Norway, returning to Scotland to teach in Aberdeen and Perthshire, where he now lives in the shadow of the Highlands. At present he spends a lot of his time reading Scandinavian language with his cats on his knees and looking out at the weather. There is a lot of it.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM