Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 3 Hours   Pre-released examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of early modern texts;

2. Articulate this knowledge in the form of reasoned critical analysis of particular texts;

3. Locate the texts studied in appropriate literary, historical and cultural contexts;

4. Demonstrate an engagement with relevant aspects of recent scholarly and/or critical debates about the texts studied.

Brief description

The mid-seventeenth century was the most turbulent period in early modern British history which witnessed in close succession civil war, the execution of the monarch, the installation of a republic, dictarorship and restoration of monarchy. The course will explore the twin strands of politics and writing, focusing on the ways in which power and politics were imagined in this period of major political upheaval, through contextualised readings of some of the writing it produced. The focus of the course will be John Milton and Andrew Marvell.


Seminar 1: 'The poet's time': historical context (Marvell and the Cavalier poets)
Seminar 2: Some political theories (Hobbes, Baxter and others)
Seminar 3: Censorship and the art of writing
Seminar 4: Supporting the cause (Milton, Areopagitica and other writings)
Seminar 5: Supporting the cause (Milton, Political Sonnets)
Seminar 6: Balancing powers: Marvell - a selection of poems including 'An Horation Ode'; 'Upon Appleton House'
Seminar 7: Cavalier Poets: writing retreat, writing back (Vaughan, Denham)
Seminar 8: Milton: rewriting defeat Paradise Lost
Seminar 9: Milton: rewriting defeat Paradise Lost
Seminar 10: Images of authority: Leviathan, Cromwell, Satan (Hobbes, Marvell, Denham, Milton)


This is a new option developed to extend the rang and variety of modules on early modern writing, and to strengthn the place of Milton on the syllabus.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number No
Communication Written communication in the form of essays and examination; Oral communication in seminars;
Improving own Learning and Performance Developing own research skills, management of time;
Information Technology Use of electronic resources, production of written work;
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection and the develoopment of transferable communication skills;
Problem solving Formulating and developing an extended argument;
Research skills By relating literary texts to hisotrical context and by synthesizing information in an evaluative arguement;
Subject Specific Skills Detailed critical and contextual analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad theoretical concepts.
Team work Through group work in seminars;

Reading List

General Text
(c2003.) A princely brave woman :essays on Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle /edited with an introduction by Stephen Clucas. Ashgate Primo search Authorial Conquests:Essays on Genre in the writings of Margaret Cavendish Fairleigh Dickinson University Press US Primo search Battigelli, Anna (Nov. 1998) Margaret Cavendish and the Exiles of the Mind University Press of Kentucky Primo search Cavendish, Margaret Margaret Cavendish:Observations upon Experimental Philosophy Cambridge University Press Primo search Fitzmaurice, James (Dec. 1996) Margaret Cavendish:Sociable Letters Garland Publishing, Incorporated Primo search James, Susan (Aug. 2003) Margaret Cavendish:Political Writings Cambridge University Press Primo search Mendelson, Sara H. (Aug. 2008) Margaret Cavendish Ashgate Publishing, Limited Primo search Rees, Emma L. E. (Jan. 2004) Margaret Cavendish:Gender, Genre, Exile Manchester University Press Primo search Whitaker, Katie (2004.) Mad Madge :Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, royalist, writer and romantic /Katie Whitaker. Vintage Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6