Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 1 hour


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 2000 WORD ESSAY  33%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Two questions  67%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

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

demonstrate knowledge of a representative range of literary texts from the period 1350-1650

locate these texts in appropriate cultural and historical contexts

articulate a detailed critical analysis of individual texts from the period that shows an understanding of their distinctive qualities

relate texts from the period either to each other or to a common theme

Brief description

The module seeks to introduce students to a representative range of texts from the period 1350-1650. THe texts have been selected in order to illustrate the rich variety within and between the dominant literary genres of the period, and to raise and question conflicting versions of cultural history. The module is structured around a recurrent set of themes: monarchy and the relationship between rulers and subjects; religious experience and the challenge of new modes of belief; courtliness, courtship and courtly politics; tensions in the representation of gender and sexuality.


1. Introduction to Medieval Literature
2-3. Arthurian Romance: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
4-5. Gender and Authoirity: Geoffrey Chaucer, the Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
6-7. Women and Devotional Writing: The Book of Margery Kempe
8-10. Drama, Religion, and the Reformation: Mystery plays, Moralities, Interludes

11-12. Poetry of the Elizabethan Court: Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella
13-14. Elizabethan Theatre and English History: Christopher Marlowe, Edward II
15-16. Jacobean Theatre and Tragicomedy: William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
17-18. Faith and Scepticism at the Turn of the Century: John Donne, selected poems and prose
19-20. Poetry, Patronage and Poilitics: The Country House poem

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication (Written) in essays and examination answers students are encouraged to express their ideas articulately and fluently (Oral) seminars are based on group discussion and brief student presentations
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are encouraged to take more personal initiative in the planning and conduct of their preparation for assignments than at Level 1, and to make use of a broader range of resources; formal feedback on essays and informal feedback on seminar participation helps students measure their improvement
Information Technology Substantial use is made of electronic text-databases (EEBO, LION), of electronic journals, and of Blackboard, and students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these
Personal Development and Career planning Only insofar as the module covers key areas of literature in which students intending to teach English would need to demonstrate competence; or which might be related to future academic research
Problem solving In essays and examination answers: by formulating an putting into practice a critical approach appropriate to text and topic set
Research skills In preparation for seminars, essays, and exams: by investigation of literary texts, associated critical and scholarly writing, and the relationship of literary texts to historical an cultural contexts
Subject Specific Skills Close reading of older literary texts; grasp of generic and intertextual relationships between texts; identification and analysis of appropriate historical an cultural contexts
Team work Informal group work in seminars

Reading List

General Text
Medieval and Tudor Drama (texts will be provided in seminars) Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Barron, W R J (ed) (1998 (various p) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight /edited, with an introduction, prose translation and notes, by W.R.J. Barron. Manchester University Press Primo search Chaucer, Geoffrey (1996.) The wife of Bath /Geoffrey Chaucer : complete, authoritative text with biographical and historical contexts, critical history, and essays from five contemporary critical perspectives / edited by Peter G. Beidler. Macmillan Primo search Donne, John (2000) The Major Works, ed Carey, John Oxford University Press Primo search Kempe, Margery. (1985.) The book of Margery Kempe /translated by B.A. Windeatt. Penguin Primo search Marlowe, Christopher (March 2003) Edward II, ed. Wiggins, Martin and Lindsay, Robert A & C Black Primo search Shakespeare, William (1991.) Measure for measure /William Shakespeare; edited by Brian Gibbons. Cambridge University Press Primo search Sidney, Philip (Oct. 2002) Sir Philip Sidney:The Major Works Oxford University Press, Incorporated Primo search
Essential Reading
Texts provided in Seminars Country House Poetry Online resources to be confirmed Primo search
Supplementary Text
(2003) A companion to English renaissance literature and culture/edited by Michael Hattaway. Blackwell Primo search (1994.) Feminist readings in Middle English literature :the Wife of Bath and all her sect /edited by Ruth Evans and Lesley Johnson. Routledge Primo search (2006) The Cambridge companion to John Donne /edited by Achsah Guibbory CUP Primo search (2000.) The spirit of medieval English popular romance /edited by Ad Putter and Jane Gilbert. Longman Primo search Barron, W. R. J. (1987.) English medieval romance /W.R.J. Barron. Longman Primo search Dillon, Janette (1998.) Language and stage in Medieval and Renaissance England /Janette Dillon. Cambridge University Press Primo search Fox, Alistair. (1997.) The English Renaissance :identity and representation in Elizabethan England /Alistair Fox. Blackwell Publishers Primo search Low, Anthony (1993, 1995 prin) The reinvention of love :poetry, politics, and culture from Sidney to Milton /Anthony Low. Cambridge University Press Primo search Lunney, Ruth. (2002.) Marlowe and the popular tradition :innovation in the English drama before 1595 /Ruth Lunney. Distributed in the USA by Palgrave Primo search McBride, Kari Boyd. (2001.) Country house discourse in early modern England :a cultural study of landscape and legitimacy /Kari Boyd McBride. Ashgate Primo search Rigby, S. H. (1996.) Chaucer in context :society, allegory, and gender /S.H. Rigby. Distributed exclusively in the USA by St. Martin's Press Primo search Shugar, Debora K (2001) Political Theologies in Shakespeare's England Basingstoke:Palgrave Primo search Simkin, Stevie. (2000.) A preface to Marlowe /Stevie Simkin. Longman Primo search Simpson, James (2002. ;) The Oxford English literary history. Reform and cultural revolution /James Simpson. Oxford University Press. Primo search Watt, Diane (2007.) Medieval women's writing :works by and for women in England, 1100-1500 /Diane Watt. Polity Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5