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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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4. Spirit of Nationalism   



4. Spirit of Nationalism

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
Activities
- Author
Activities
- Context
Activities
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities


Royall Tyler - Teaching Tips

Back Back to Royall Tyler Activities
  • Have students read the review of The Contrast that appeared in The New York Daily Advertiser in 1787 (the text of the review is featured in archive). The review, with its commentary on the acting and staging of the first New York production of Tyler's play, should help students recognize that eighteenth-century audiences experienced The Contrast as a performed spectacle rather than as a written text. Ask students to think about what the reviewer praised and what he criticized. Why does he critique Maria and Manly's soliloquies? What values inform his claim that soliloquies "wound probability"?

  • Ask your students to assume parts and act out a scene from the play (the end of Act II, Scene 1 with Charlotte, Letitia, and Manly would work well, as would the concluding scene, Act V, Scene 2, which involves all of the main characters). Be sure that students have read through the play and the accompanying footnotes on their own before acting it out--the language and allusions can be obscure so you want to be certain that they understand the action and characters before performing the script. Ask students to think about which characters are the most enjoyable to play and which lines are the easiest to deliver. Is the play still funny? Why or why not? What are its most comedic aspects?




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