A level Literature Lecture

“Tis within ourselves that we are thus or thus” –  William ShakespeareOthello

On Tuesday, the Sixth Form English Literature students enjoyed a riveting A Level English Lecture by Dr Chris Stamatakis, a Lecturer and Teaching Fellow of UCL, specialising in Renaissance poetry. Both the Upper and Lower Sixth Formers were very engaged in an in-depth analysis of Shakespeare’s Othello and the Upper Sixth girls proceeded to also focus on Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.

Sixth Former Rachel picks up the story ‘Dr Stamatakis spoke to both the Upper and Lower Sixth Students on a variety of themes seen within the play, some of these included the various types of tragedy that Othello can be classified as, the portrayal of female characters, and the rather complex, but immensely interesting theory of ‘Dilatory time’ and ‘double time scheme’ within the play. After break, Dr Stamatakis led the Upper Sixth on ‘Dr Faustus’ by Christopher Marlowe. In this seminar, we learnt about the various types of tragedy that ‘Dr Faustus’ could be classed as, including the ‘De Casibus’ morality play structure, the importance of setting the play in Wittenburg and finally, the theory of ‘histrionic re- enactment’ within the play. We all found Dr Stamatakis to be a very engaging speaker, who helped us ‘unravel’ the complexities of these two plays, helping us to gain new insights into the authors of these plays, plot, context and the complex language that both playwrights use; this new knowledge shall undoubtedly prove extremely beneficial to us as we continue to examine these plays in our lessons, and in our exams in the future. ‘

Mr Butler adds. One of the lovely things about the seminars was the engagement of our students. Dr Stamatakis said both in the seminars and afterwards to me how impressive the knowledge and engagement of the girls had been, how he had been challenged by some of their points and how well the girls worked together intellectually, building on and discussing ideas in a ‘true spirit of academic co-operation’. Well done girls – you did yourselves (and your teachers) proud!

As well as his academic responsibilities, Dr Stamatakis has written Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Rhetoric of Rewriting: ‘Turning the Word’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). He is currently working on a book studying the influence of Italian poetic form on English Literature.

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