Brander Matthews Professor Emeritus
611 Philosophy Hall
A.B., Queens College (1952)
M.A., Princeton (1957)
Ph.D., Princeton (1960)
Professor Meisel, who served as Department of English and Comparative Literature Chair (1980-83) and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Vice President (1989-93), came to Columbia in 1968 after having taught at Rutgers, Dartmouth, and the University of Wisconsin.
He has held grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim, American Council of Learned Societies, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at Edinburgh, Huntington Library, National Humanities Center, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
He is currently at work on a book concerning the imagination and representation of chaos from Hesiod to Beckett.
Recent Courses in Theatre include:
Fall 1997:European Drama: Renaissance to 1700. The theater and drama of Renaissance Italy, baroque Spain, neoclassical France, Restoration England. Our concerns will include change and variety in performance conditions, professionalism, intellectual and political contexts, and the conventions and inventions of dramatic art. Readings in Machiavelli, early opera, pastoral drama, commedia dell'arte, Lope de Vega, Calderon de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, Corneille, Molire, Racine, Dryden, Wycherly, Etherege, others.
Contemporary Drama. Innovation, retrospection, and critique in European and American drama from 1950 to the present. Trends and playwrights, including Ionesco, Beckett, Frisch, Drrenmatt, Weiss, Genet, Havel, Handke, Arden. Pinter, Soyinka, Stoppard, Churchill, Friel, The Living Theater, Shepard, Mamet, Wilson, Hwang, Kushner, and others.
Spring 1997:Modern Drama I. Major playwrights and competing styles in modern drama, with an emphasis on the work of Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw. Other readings will exemplify such types and trends as the thesis play and the well-made play of the latter 19th century, late romantic and melodramatic modes, naturalism and symbolism, and the first avant-garde.
Modern Drama II: Shaw and Stoppard. A comparison of major works by two of the century's foremost British Dramatists.
Studies in drama: Anglo-Irish Drama. Drama from Dion Boucicault's Shaughraun, to Brian Friel's Translations, with an emphasis on language and politics and the period of the Irish Renaissance. Playwrights include Yeats, Lady Gregory, Synge, Shaw, O'Casey, Behan, Beckett and others.
Spring 1996:Problems in theatre history, II.: Eighteenth and Nineteenth century Europe . Theater in its cultural, social, and interpretive contexts, with a particular concern for the practical conditions of performance. The course will concentrate on several performance sites and their associated drama: Paris from the Revolution of 1789 to that of 1848; German court theater (Weimar, Saxe-Meiningen); London from Garrick and De Loutherbourg to the new theater of the 1890's. Matters of interest will include theater organization, the changing structure and role of the audience, sponsorship and censorship, acting style and its politics, the rise of pictorial dramaturgy, theatrical and dramatic historicism, authorship and property, the industrial revolution of the theater (lighting, design, kinesis), the profession of the actor and the actress. Such matter and their wider bearings will be approached wherever possible through dramatic texts.
Modern drama, II.. Drama in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Playwrights include Shaw, Pirandello, Brecht, Jarry, Cocteau, Giraudoux, Sartre, Blok, Andreyev, Gorki, Capek, Schnitzler, Toller, O'Neill, Wilder, Williams, Lorca, O'Casey, Ionesco, Beckett.
Fall 1995:Comparative Romantic Drama. Drama from Goethe to the earlier Ibsen, with an emphasis on the new historical drama, the revolution in dramaturgy, the representation of social and cultural conflict, and of alienated subjectivity. Playwrights also include Schiller, Kleist, Buchner, Byron, Shelley, Pushkin, Hugo, Dumas, and Musset. Developments in staging, acting, and audiences, the rise of melodrama, and continuities with romantic opera will be brought to bear.
Contemporary drama. European and American drama from 1950 to the present. Trends and playwrights, including Ionesco, Beckett, Frisch, Genet, Havel, Handke, Pinter, Stoppard, Churchill, The Living Theater, Shepard, Mamet, and others.
- Shaw and the 19th-Century Theatre (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963)
- Realizations: Narrative, Pictorial, and Theatrical Arts of the 19th Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, )