Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral Presentation.  A 20-minute individual orally presented research paper, to be delivered in week 7. Accompanying documentation to to include an annotated bibliography, any presentation materials used and an electronic copy of the PowerPoint presentation.  40%
Semester Assessment One essay of 6000 words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed or make good any missing elements. In the event of failure in the oral presentation element, a 20-minute written script on a new topic to be submitted, written as if for delivery, to include an annotated bibliography, any presentation materials used and an electronic copy of the PowerPoint presentation.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. articulate their knowledge of the production, performance and reception of dramatic works in the English Renaissance;

2. demonstrate knowledge of recent critical work on English Renaissance drama and recent critical work on the representation of one of the thematic strands delivered during the course of the module;

3. formulate their own responses to a range of dramatic texts which engage with issues of space, place, and community in diverse ways and identify and analyse connections between these disparate texts;

4. present a nuanced argument in the form of an orally presented research paper, and subsequent discussion, that takes as its focus one of the thematic strands delivered during the course of the module and appropriate texts.


This module will be structured by three physical and/or conceptual spaces of representation and performance: the City of London; the royal Court; and the country. Three seminars will be devoted to each region and/or space. The module will be supported by an introductory seminar which will focus on the history, theory and criticism of dramatic production in Renaissance England. The precise combination of primary texts will be determined by the specialism of teaching staff available in any given academic year.

Week 1: Introduction to the module
The rise of playing companies and permanent playing houses in London; the laws governing censorship and playing; audiences; collaborative authorship and the publication of play-texts; varieties of performance spaces, including private and civic entertainments, court masques, and public playhouses (indoor and outdoor). Reading for this introductory seminar will include extracts from historical and critical sources.

Week 2: The City of London 1.
Anthony Munday et al., Sir Thomas More (1590s)
Thomas Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday (1599)

Week 3: The City of London 2.
Thomas Middleton, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (circa 1613)
Lord Mayor's pageants: Thomas Middleton, The Triumphs of Truth (1613), and Anthony Munday, Chruso-Thriambos: The Triumphes of Gold (1611)

Week 4: The City of London 3.
The London Prodigal (pub. 1605)
Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, The Roaring Girl (pub. 1611)

Week 5: The Court 1. Drama at Court, Courtly Drama
John Lyly, Endymion (1588)
Thomas Nashe, Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592)

Week 6: The Court 2. The Portable Court: Tudor and Stuart Progress Entertainments
Philip Sidney, The Lady of May (1578)
Anon., The Elvetham Entertainment (1591)
Thomas Campion, The Caversham Entertainment (1613)
Ben Jonson, The King's Entertainment at Welbeck (1633)

Week 7: The Court 3. Court and Nation
Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, Gorboduc (1562)
Francis Davison, The Masque of Proteus (1595)

Week 8: Country 1.
George Peele, Edward I (pub. 1593)
William Shakespeare, Richard II (pub. 1597)

Week 9: Country 2.
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 (circa 1596-9)

Week 10: Country 3.
William Shakespeare, King Lear (1605-6)
William Shakespeare, Cymbeline (circa 1611)

Brief description

This module draws together a diverse selection of dramatic texts from the English Renaissance (1575-1635) and explores the ways in which they engage with and are inflected by the contingencies of space and place. It therefore draws together two trends in recent scholarship on Renaissance drama: work on performance spaces, including public and private playhouses, civic pageants, entertainments at the royal Court and in the regions; and work on national, regional and local identities as they are represented, contested and normalised in these texts. The primary texts studied on this module are thus treated as `chorographical' texts, i.e. as texts that are shaped by and that in turn help shape the places that they represent. They are grouped in three inter-related thematic strands, each one focusing on a particular space or place (ideational or actual): the City of London; the Court; and the country (encompassing the regions and nation(s)). The texts will be read both in terms of the ways in which performance spaces impacted on their content and reception, and for their representation of physical and ideological spaces and locations.


Students will engage with recent scholarship and theoretical debate regarding the authorship, production and performance of dramatic texts in the English Renaissance, and they will be required to interpret literaray representations of city, court and country in their historical, political and cultural contexts.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Written communication in an academic context Oral communication skills in formal presentations Oral communication in group work in seminars
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent reading and research skills Time management and organisational skills
Information Technology Use of electronic resources Use of e-learning technologies Production of written work
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection and the development of transferable communication and research skills
Problem solving Identifying problems and suggesting reasoned solutions in seminars Formulating and developing an extended argument in the assessment tasks
Research skills Independent and directed research conducted as part of seminar preparation Independent research to complete the summative assessment tasks Relating literary texts to historical and interpretative contexts
Subject Specific Skills Advanced research skills in a specific area of specialist literary study Detailed critical /theoretical analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad theoretical concepts
Team work Group work in seminars Preparing and presenting group presentations

Reading List

Essential Reading
Campion, Thomas the Caversham Entertainment (1613) Primo search Davison, Francis The Masque of Proteus (1595) Primo search Dekker, Thomas the Shoemaker's Holiday (1599) Primo search Dekker, Thomas and Middleton, Thomas The Elvetham Entertainment (1591) Primo search Dekker, Thomas and Middleton, Thomas The Roaring Girl (1611) Primo search Johnson, Ben The Kig's Entertainment at Welbeck (1633) Primo search Jonson, Ben The London Prodigal (1605) Primo search Lyly, John Endymion (1588) Primo search Middleton A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (circa 1613) Primo search Middleton, Thomas The Triumphs of Truth (1613) Primo search Munday, Anthony Chruso-Thriambos: The Trumphes of Gold (1611) Primo search Munday, Anthony et al Sir Thomas Moore (1590s) Primo search Nashe, Thomas Summer's Last Will and Testament (1592) Primo search Norton, Thomas and Sackville, Thomas Gorboduc (1562) Primo search Peele, George Edward I (1593) Primo search Shakespeare, William Cymbeline (circa 1611) Primo search Shakespeare, William Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 (circa 1596-9) Primo search Shakespeare, William Richard III (1597) Primo search Sidney, Philip The Lady of May (1578) Primo search
Recommended Text
Longstaffe, Stephen (2011) 1 Henry IV: A Critical Companion Continuum Primo search Shakespeare, William King Lear (circa 1605-6) Primo search

(2010.) Shakespeare's histories and counter-histories /edited by Dermot Cavanagh, Stuart Hampton-Reeves and Stephen Longstaffe. Manchester University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7