Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials One x 2-hour weekly seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 4 Hours   30-minute group oral prsentation  Room for half day for rehearsal and room for half day actual exam 1 week apart. Room with DP and blackout ability. Small seminar room.  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2500 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.  100%

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;

5. Demonstrate through oral presentation a critical understanding of the inter-relationships between and contexts of Early Modern Utopian writing and its analogues.

Brief description

This module explores early modern literary representations of imagined worlds, which register the impact of discovery of the New World. The most inventive response was Thomas More's Utopia a new literary genre where society itself becomes the subject matter of fiction. More's Utopia was in its turn widely imitated and adapted in response to changing issues in different contexts, contributing to the development of other genres. The course will examine the inter-textual relationship between utopian fiction and its comic, serious and satirical analogues from the Renaissance through to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, while at the same time relating individual texts to the historical context in which they were produced.


This option extends the range and variety of modules on early modern writing. It will be a genre-based course which focuses on Utopias and travel-writing in early-modern writing relating to imagined societies, in order to explore the context and development of Utopian writing from its Renaissance beginnings through its early-modern modulations.


1. Introduction: ideal places and imagined journeys: Plato, Lucian
2. Voyages West: selections from Montaigne, Ralegh, Harriot.
3. Utopian fiction, a new genre: More's Utopia (1516)
4. The English context of More's Utopia (1516)
5. Analogues of Utopia: Bacon, New Atlantis (1627)
6. Anticipating Crusoe: Henry Neville: The Isle of Pines (1668)
7. A voyage east: Denis Veiras The History of the Sevarites (1675)
8. Out of this World: Aphra Behn, The Emperor of the Moone (1688), and her translation of Fontenelle's A Discovery
of New Worlds in the Moone
9. Satirical worlds: Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726)
10. Overview

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written communication in the form of essays Oral communication in seminars and formative presentation Oral communication and presentation in summative presentation
Improving own Learning and Performance Developing own research skills Developing time-management skills
Information Technology Use of electronic resources, e.g. powerpoint in oral presntation
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection and the development of communication skills.
Problem solving Formulating and developing an extended argument
Research skills Developing advanced independent study Relating literary texts to historical and interpretative contexts.
Subject Specific Skills Detailed critical and contextual analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad theoretical concepts
Team work Developing team working skills through group presentation

Reading List

Essential Reading
(1999) Three Early Modern Utopias Set text will include a selection from Three Early Modern utopias: Sire Thomas More's Utopia, Francis Bacon's New Atlantis. Henry Neville's The Isle of Pines. Oxford University Press Primo search Bacon, Francis (1999) New Atlantis in Three Early Modern Utopias Oxford University Press Primo search Behn, Aphra (translator) A Discovery of New Worlds Translation from Fontenelle: (extracts) Primo search Godwin, Francis (2009) The Man in the Moone ed, William Poole Primo search Harriot, Thomas Reports on Virginia (extracts) Primo search Lucian Icaromenippus (extracts) Primo search Montaigne, Michel de Essays (extracts) Primo search More, Thomas Utopia in Three Early Modern Utopias Primo search Neville, Henry The Isle of Pines in Three Early Modern Utopias Primo search Swift, Jonathan (2002) Gulliver's Travels Norton Primo search Veiras, Denis (2006) The History of the Sevarambians ed J C Laursen SUNY Primo search Campanella, Tommaso City of the Sun On line Edition Project Gutenberg Primo search
Supplementary Text
Albanese, Denis New Science, New World Durham NC and London: Duke University Press Primo search Appelbaum, Robert (2002) Literature and Utopian Politics in Seventeenth-Century England Cambridge University Press Primo search Baker-Smith Dominic (2000) More's Utopia First published 1991 Renaissance Society of America Reprint Texts 11 University of Toronto Press Primo search Boesky, Amy (1996) Founding Fictions: Utopias in Early Modern England Athens: University of Georgia Press Primo search Davies, J C (1981) Utopia and the Ideal Society: A Study of English Utopian Writing 1516-1700 Cambridge University Press Primo search Fox, Christopher (2002) The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Swift Cambridge University Press Primo search Kenyon, Timothy (1989) Utopian Communism and Political Thought in Early Modern England Pinter Primo search Logan, George M (1983) The Meaning of More's Utopia Also published by Haven: Yale Univesity Press 1969 Princeton University Press Primo search McKnight, Stephen A (ed) (1992) Science, Pseudo-Science and Utopianism in Early Modern Thought Columbia: University of Missouri Press Primo search Nicolson, Marjorie Hope (1948) Voyags to the Moon New York Primo search Price, Bronwen (ed) (2003) Francis Bacon's The New Atlantis: New interdisciplinaary essays Manchester University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6