Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20 Hours. Seminar. (10 x 2 hr seminar/workshops)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 2,500 WORD ESSAY  One essay of 2,500 words  60%
Semester Assessment 30 MINUTE GROUP SUMMATIVE ORAL PRESENTATION  Oral presentation  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves failure in the essay assignment, a new topic must be selected. In the event of failure in the oral presenation element, a 15 minute written script on a new topic, written as if for delivery, with accompanying visual aids to be submitted.  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the set texts, and an informed awareness of their relationship to the generic traditions of comedy;

2. articulate this knowledge and awareness in the form of a reasoned critical analysis of particular texts;

3. relate the texts studied to early modern ideas about theatre and society, and to the conditions of tehatrical performance, and show how an understanding of these ideas and conditions can inform critical interpretation;

4. explain and engage with relevant aspects of recent critical and/or theoretical debates about the texts studies;

5. articulate some of their findings in the form of an oral presentation.


This module, taught to second-year students at level three, furthers their study of Renaissance comedy already begun in the first-year core module EN10420 Aspects of Genre and complements and extends the study of Renaissance theatre undertaken in the second-year core module EN20520 Medieval and Renaissance Writing. It develops students' understanding of genre and of the complex and rapidly changing theatre of the period 1595-1615, and enables them to engage with recent theoretical debates about the relationship between theatre and society. It is designed to give students a solid grounding in the study of the early modern comic theatre on which they can build, if they so choose, in more specialised final-year project/dissertation work. The original version of the module focused exclusively on plays by Shakespeare and his great contemporary Ben Jonson; the revised version of the module introduces plays by two other dramatists into the syllabus. this should make it easier to bring into focus larger issues of genre and of cultural context, and to free the module from the pedagogic and intellectual constrictions of the 'comparison between great authors' framework.

Brief description

The module offers students a chance to extend their knowledge of Shakespearean comedy and to relate their reading of the four set Shakespeare plays to four probably less familiar works by his contemporaries Thomas Dekker, Ben Jonson, and Francis Beaumont. Each Shakespeare play is studied in conjunction with a related play by another dramatist, the set texts being selected to build up a representative picture of the range of forms and meanings of comedy in the period 1595-1615. Important themes of the module will include: the relationship between the theatre and popular festive practice (carnival and carnivalesque); the theatre's role in mediating between courtly and popular culture; the ways in which the plays engage with the help to define contemporary urban experience; the regulation and meanings of laughter, mockery and burlesque.


Teaching will be by ten two-hour seminars and will make regular use of small-group presentations.

Seminar 1 Introduction:
  • Playwrights, Companies, Audiences (incorporating preparatory session on the mechanics of small-group presentation).
Seminar 2 and 3: Comedy and Festivity
  • Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday
Seminars 4 & 5: Comedy, Tragicomedy and the City
  • Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
  • Jonson, Volpone
Seminars 6 & 7: Comedy, Humours and Satire
  • Shakespeare, Twelfth Night;
  • Jonson Every Man in his Humour;
Seminars 8 & 9: Comedy, Romance and Pastiche
  • Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle
  • Jonson, Bartholomew Fair
Seminar 10
  • Retrospect (and final preparations for summative small-group presentations.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written, through production of essay; and oral, through group discussions and presentations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through imdependent reading and research.
Information Technology Through powerpoint presentations.
Personal Development and Career planning By critical self-reflection and through the development of transferrable communication and research skills.
Problem solving By developing evaluative analysis and critical skills and by formulating and conducting a detailed argument.
Research skills By relating literary texts to historical contexts and by synthesising information in an evaluative argument.
Subject Specific Skills Details critical/theoretical analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad intellectualconcepts.
Team work Through group presentations


This module is at CQFW Level 6