Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 hour lectures per week
Seminars / Tutorials Weekly one hour seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment One x 2000 word essay  30%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   One x two-hour examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Make good any missing assessment elements and/or resubmit any failed coursework assignments (writing on a fresh topic) and/or sit the supplementatry examination paper 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate competence in the interpretation and analysis of a range of texts drawn from the period 1300-1800.

2. Demonstrate an informed awareness of appropriate historical contexts.

3. Discuss literary texts wtih sensitivity to issues of historical difference and continuity.

4. Demonstrate a basic competence in the construction and delivery of an oral presentation.

5. Relate their own arguments to current critical debate about particular texts.


Lecture topics

1. Introduction to the module

2-4. Reading Medieval Poetry: the Breton Lai (reference to the 'Lais' of Marie de France and the ME romances 'Sir Orfeo' and 'Sir Launfal')

5-6. Skills Sessions: how to design and deliver an effective oral presentation

7-10. Reading Early Modern Poetry (with reference to a range of poetry in a variety of different genres across the priod 1500-1800; poems by Thomas Wyatt, Edmund Spenser, Mary Wroth, John Donne, Isabella Whitney, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Gray)

11-12. Skills Sessions: skills of note-taking and summarising arguments, best practice in citation and in use of secondary materials.

13-16. Reading a Renaissance Play: Shakespeare's 'Othello' (approaching the play through a variety of historical contexts and modern theoretical perspectives)

17-20. Reading Gender in Eighteenth-Century Fiction and Drama (with reference to Daniel Defoe's 'Moll Flanders', Eliza Haywood's 'Fantomina' and Susannah Centlivre's 'The Busybody'


1. Introduction
2-3. The Breton Lai
4. Early Modern Poetry: Sonnets
5. Early Modern Poetry: Satire and Pastoral
6. Early Modern Poetry: Elegy and Ode
7-8. Othello
9. Moll Flanders
10. Haywood/Centlivre

Brief description

The module seeks to develop students' knowledge and informed enjoyment of literature from the centuries before 1800, helping you to deal with the particular challenges that such texts pose for modern readers, and increasing your confidence in handling this rewarding material, much of which will be unfamiliar. Study of a closely linked set of romance narratives offers a gateway to the medieval period. Detailed analysis of a carefully chosen group of poems from the period 1500-1800 equips students with a set of necessary reading strategies that will help to open up an area that may intially seem strange and induce nerves. Intensive focus on a familiar Shakespeare play, 'Othello', allows you to explore the text from a variety of different historical and theoretical perspectives, enlarging the sense of what 'reading' a literary text might imply. Finally, concentration on a group of early eighteenth-century texts about women's experience both introduces this literary period and gives an opportunity to develop further key historical and theoretical concerns.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Written - developing a sustained critical argument Oral - group discussions and seminar presentations
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent research and reading
Information Technology Use of word-processing packages, use of Blackboard adn other e-resources to research and access course documents and other materials
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection and the development of transferable, ICT, communication and research skills
Problem solving Evaluative analysis and critical skills
Research skills Independent research adn synthesizing information in an evaluative argument
Subject Specific Skills Reading, writing and researching skills involved in the interrogation of literary texts, and the conceptual/theoretical analysis of works of imaginative literature in relation to a range of other non-literary texts.
Team work Group work in seminars and/or preparation of paired presentations for seminars

Reading List

General Text
Marie (1999.) The Lais of Marie de France /Marie de France; translated with an introduction by Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby. Rev. ed. Penguin Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Defoe, Daniel (1989) Moll Flanders ed. David Blewett Penguin Classics Primo search Finberg, Melinda (Ed) (2001) Eighteenth-Century Women Dramatists Oxford World's Classics Primo search Haywood, Eliza (2008) Fantomina, or Love in a Maze Dodo Press Primo search Shakespeare, William (2008) Othello Oxford World Classics Primo search Shepherd, Stephen H A, Ed (1995) Middle English Romances Norton Critical Editions Primo search
Supplementary Text
Barron, W.R.J. (1987) English Medieval Romance London, Longman Primo search Corns, Thomas N. (ed) (1993) The Cambridge Companion to ~English Poetry, Donne to Marvell Cambridge University Press Primo search Fairer, David (2003) English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century 1700-1789 Harlow, Longman Primo search Findlay, Alison (1997) A Feminist perspective on Renaissance Drama Oxford: Blackwell Primo search Fox, Alistair (1997) The English Renaissance:P Identity and Representation in Elizabethan England Oxford: Blackwell Primo search Hadfield, Andrew (2003) A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on William Shakespeare's Othello London: Routledge Primo search Loomba, Ania (2002) Shakespear, Race and Colonialism Oxfofrd Univesity Press Primo search Poplawski, Paul (2008) English Literature in context Cambridge University Press Primo search Putter, Ad and Gilbert Jane (eds) (2000) The Spirit of Medieval English popular Romance Harlow, Longman Primo search Richetti, John (1999) The English Novel in History, 1700-1780 London: Routledge Primo search Skinner, john (2001) An Introduction to Eighteenth Century Fiction Basingstoke Palgrave Primo search Sullivan, Garrett A. et al (eds.) (2006) Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion Oxfofrd Univesity Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4