Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Shakespeare, Jonson and Company
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay Assignment  (2,500 words)  60%
Semester Assessment Oral Assessment  (30 minutes group oral presentation)  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit Essay Assigment  (2,500 words)  60%
Supplementary Assessment Oral Assessment  - Submit scripts and visual aids for a 15 minute presentation  40%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the set texts, and an awareness of their relationship to the generic traditions of comedy;

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

3. Relate the texts studied to early modern ideas about theatre and society, and to the conditions of theatrical 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 studied;

5. Work effectively as part of a team and deliver a presentation.


This module, taught to second-year students, furthers their study of Renaissance comedy and complements and extends the study of Renaissance theatre. 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.

Brief description

The module offers students a chance to extend their knowledge of Shakespearean comedy and to relate their reading of the three set Shakespeare plays to three probably less familiar works by his contemporaries Thomas Dekker and Ben Jonson. 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.


Seminar Programme:
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).
Seminars 2-4: Comedy and Festivity
  • Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Dekker, The Shoemaker's Holiday
Seminars 5-7: Comedy, Tragicomedy and the City
  • Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
  • Jonson, Volpone
Seminars 8-10: Comedy and the Limits of Carnival
  • Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
  • Jonson, Bartholomew Fair

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Through group discussions and presentations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent reading and research.
Information Technology Use of digital resources for research and PowerPoint for presentations.
Personal Development and Career planning Develop critical self-reflection and through the development of transferable communication and research skills.
Problem solving 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 synthesizing information in an evaluative argument.
Subject Specific Skills Detailed critical/theoretical analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad intellectual concepts.
Team work Play an active part in group activities in the seminars and through group presentations.


This module is at CQFW Level 5