Module Identifier EN30530  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Professor Andrew Hadfield  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Claire Jowitt, Mr Michael Smith, Dr Diane Watt  
Pre-Requisite EN10320 , EN10420  
Course delivery Lecture   30 Hours (30 x one hour lectures)  
  Seminar   10 Hours (10 x 1 hour seminars)  
Assessment Essay   1 x 2,500 word essay.   25%  
  Exam   3 Hours   75%  
  Resit assessment   Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.    

Brief description

This module does not attempt the impossible task of comprehensively surveying this long stretch of English literary history, but aims instead to provide some useful co-ordinates from which students may take their bearings. 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.

Texts and Topics

Strand 1: Late medieval texts (1380-1430): Lectures will focus on Gender, Power and Romance in the Later Middle Ages (Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The A-fragment; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and Devotion and Drama in the Later Middle Ages (Margery Kempe and Women Visionaries; Selected Mystery Plays)
Strand 2: Renaissance poetry (1580-1630): Lecture topics will be related to The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse. Students will also need to purchase a copy of the poems of John Donne, on which there will be special emphasis.
Strand 3: Plays from the years 1580-1630. Lectures will focus on Spectacles of State (Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine Parts I and II; William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part I; Shakespeare, Coriolanus); Public Worlds/Private Spaces (John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi; Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling)

Lectures and seminars

The lectures (three per week) are arranged in three independent but thematically interwoven strands (1-3 above). Strand 1 will run throughout the semester (1 lecture per week) in parallel with strand 2 and 3 which will run sequentially (Strand 2 will be two lectures per week in weeks 1-5, strand 3 will be 2 lectures per week in weeks 6-10). The weekly seminar will provide opportunities to discuss texts from all three strands. Each seminar tutor will present a seminar programme including texts from each of the strands.


Assessment is by one x 2,500 word essay on poetry from the years 1580-1630 (strand 2); and by a three-hour, two question examination paper. In the essay, students will be expected to demonstrate some breadth of reading (as explained in the rubric of the question paper). In the examination, students will be expected to answer one question from the two remaining strands (1) late medieval texts from the years 1380-1430, and (3) plays from the years 1580-1630. At least one examination answer should involve comparison of two or more texts. The essay will contribute 25% of the module mark and the examination will contribute 75%.

Reading list

Knight's Tale and Miller's Tale. If you bought an edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for the Part I Genre module, it will have these in it. If you didn't, then the following edition is recommended:
Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The First Fragment, ed. Michael Alexander (Penguin)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. & trans. W.R.J. Barron (Manchester UP)
The Book of Margery Kempe, tr. Barry Windeatt (Penguin)
Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays, ed. A.C. Cawley (Everyman)

The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse 1509-1569, ed. David Norbrook and H.A. Woudhuysen (Penguin)
John Donne, Selected Poetry, ed. John Carey (World's Classics)

Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine. Texts of both parts contained in Marlowe, Doctor Faustus and Other Plays (World's Classics) as recommended for EN10320 The Study of English, last year. If you need a separate edition, the best (and most reasonably priced) is: Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great, ed. J.S. Cunningham and Eithne Henson (Revels Student Editions; Manchester UP)
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, ed. David Bevington (World's Classics)
William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, ed. Lee Bliss (New Cambridge Shakespeare)
John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi, ed. Elizabeth M. Brennan (New Mermaid)
Thomas Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling, ed. Joost Daalder (New Mermaid)

Aims and objectives

to introduce students to a range of writing in a variety of genres from the late-medieval period the period from 1580 to 1630;
to locate this writing in the literary, socio-historical and cultural contexts in which it was produced and read;
to encourage students to reflect critically on the texts chosen for special study;
to encourage students to explore the relations between literary texts and between texts and their contexts;
to encourage students to familiarize themselves with recent critical debates about the writing of these periods.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students should typically be able to:
demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a range of texts drawn from the medieval and early modern periods;
articulate this knowledge in the form of a reasoned critical analysis of particular texts;
locate the texts studied in appropriate literary, historical, and/or cultural contexts;
explain and engage with relevant aspects of recent scholarly and/or critical debates about the texts studied.