Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Medieval Lives
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral Presentation  1 x 15 minute individual oral presentation  40%
Semester Assessment Essay Assignment2  1 x 3500 word critical essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment Revisit failed or missed oral presentation  Revisit the 1 x 15 minute individual oral presentation  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit missed of failed essay assignment  Resubmit 1 x 3500 word essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of a range of life writing produced by men and women during the medieval, late medieval, and early modern periods.

2. Situate medieval and early modern life writing in its historical, social, political, and religious contexts.

3. Engage with relevant critical theories of life writing, biography, and autobiography as appropriate.

4. Discuss medieval lives in a critically-informed, focused, and well-structured manner.


Building on staff expertise and recent developments in the field, this module introduces students to a wide-range of ‘life writing’ from the medieval, late medieval, and early modern periods. The variety of kinds of texts studied is particularly distinctive: students will read and discuss histories, hagiographies, biographies, autobiographies, and letters. Both print and digital sources will be employed and the module will also include discussion of the latest critical theories of life writing as they are relevant to the texts studied.

Brief description

This module explores lives and life writing in England and Wales during the medieval, late medieval, and early modern periods. It introduces students to a wide variety of sources – including histories, hagiographical writing, biographies, autobiographies, and letters – written between the eighth and sixteenth centuries. Recent scholarship has recovered a great deal of previously neglected women’s and men’s life writing from the medieval period, both spiritual and secular. The purpose of this module is to survey the whole range of both canonical and lesser-known examples of life writing produced during the medieval and early modern periods, drawing upon the latest critical theories concerning biography, autobiography, and self-fashioning.

Estiamted Student Workload
Contact time: 20 hours
Preparation for seminars: 20 hours
Reading of primary texts: 60 hours
Research for assignments: 80 hours
Writing assignments: 20 hours


Week 1 Introduction: Theories and concepts
Week 2 History 1: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History
Week 3 History 2: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History
Week 4 Hagiography: Women’s Saints Lives
Week 5 Biography 1: The Life of Christina of Markyate
Week 6 Autobiography 1: The Book of Margery Kempe
Week 7 Autobiography 2: The Book of Margery Kempe
Week 8 Letters: The Paston Letters
Week 9 Biography 2: More’s History of Richard III
Week 10 Revision and assessment advice

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Written: By developing a sustained critical argument. Oral: Through class discussion, small group exercises, and assessed individual presentations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent and directed research and reading.
Information Technology By using word-processing packages; using AberLearn Blackboard and other e-resources to research and access course documents and other materials; by submitting assignments via Turnitin.
Personal Development and Career planning Through increased critical self-reflection and the development of transferable, ICT, communication and research skills.
Problem solving By evaluative analysis and the use of critical skills.
Research skills By directed and independent research; by synthesizing information in an evaluative critical argument.
Subject Specific Skills Through the reading, writing and researching skills involved in the interrogation of literary texts; through comparative models of reading and understanding; and through the conceptual/theoretical analysis of works of imaginative literature in relation to a range of other non-literary texts.
Team work Through group work in seminars; and through preparation for paired presentations in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 7