Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Ancestral Voices
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment .2 Hours   Video Essay  40%
Semester Assessment One x 2500 word essay  2500 Words  60%
Supplementary Assessment .2 Hours   Video Essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment One x 2500 word essay  2500 Words  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate competence in the interpretation and analysis of a range of texts drawn from the period 1300-1800.

2. Demonstrate an informed awareness of appropriate historical contexts.

3. Discuss literary texts wtih sensitivity to issues of historical difference and continuity.

4. Demonstrate a basic competence in the construction and delivery of an oral assessment in the form of a video essay.

5. Relate their own arguments to current critical debate about particular texts.

Brief description

The module seeks to develop students' knowledge and informed enjoyment of literature from the centuries before 1800, helping you to deal with the particular challenges that such texts pose for modern readers, and increasing your confidence in handling this rewarding material, much of which will be unfamiliar. Study of a closely linked set of romance narratives offers a gateway to the medieval period. Detailed analysis of a carefully chosen group of poems from the period 1500-1800 equips students with a set of necessary reading strategies that will help to open up an area that may initially seem strange and induce nerves. Intensive focus on a familiar Shakespeare play, 'Othello', allows you to explore the text from a variety of different historical and theoretical perspectives, enlarging the sense of what 'reading' a literary text might imply. Finally, concentration on a group of early eighteenth-century texts about women's experience both introduces this literary period and gives an opportunity to develop further key historical and theoretical concerns.


Students will be required to attend 1 x 1-hour lecture each week and 1 x 2-hour seminar each week.

Week 1: Introduction to the module
Week 2: Chaucer’s ‘General Prologue’ to The Canterbury Tales: Imagining Society
Week 3: Selections from Medieval English Political Writings
Week 4: John Gower’s ‘Prologue’ to Confessio amantis: A Society in Decline
Week 5: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Ruling the Self in a Chilvalric Society
Week 6: Reading Week
Week 7: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great (Pts 1 and 2): Exploring the Other in an Expanding World
Week 8: Aphra Behn’s The Widow Ranter and selections from Richard Hackluyt’s Voyages and Discoveries: Expansion, (anti-)Colonialism, and Otherness
Week 9: Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World: Utopian Self-Fashioning
Week 10: Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year: Dystopia and Fake News
Week 11: Review and Revision

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Written - developing a sustained critical argument Oral - group discussions and seminar presentations
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent research and reading
Information Technology Use of word-processing packages, use of Blackboard adn other e-resources to research and access course documents and other materials
Personal Development and Career planning Critical self-reflection and the development of transferable, ICT, communication and research skills
Problem solving Evaluative analysis and critical skills
Research skills Independent research adn synthesizing information in an evaluative argument
Subject Specific Skills Reading, writing and researching skills involved in the interrogation of literary texts, and the conceptual/theoretical analysis of works of imaginative literature in relation to a range of other non-literary texts.
Team work Group work in seminars


This module is at CQFW Level 4