Module Identifier EN20520  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Elisabeth E Salter  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Elisabeth E Salter, Mr Michael J Smith, Dr Stewart J Mottram, Dr Jayne Archer, Professor Diane Watt  
Course delivery Lecture   20 x 1 hour  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 1 hour  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours 2 QUESTION EXAM Question 1 on a single text/topic from Section B Question 2 on any two texts from the module67%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.100%

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

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  
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  
Team work Informal group work in seminars  
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  
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  

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
(2000.) Medieval drama :an anthology /edited by Greg Walker. Blackwell 0631217266PBK
(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 0719055172
Brooks-Davies, Douglas (Dec. 1988) Silver Poets of the Sixteenth Century Orion Books Limited 046087103XTRADEPAPER
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 0312158599STMARTINSPRESSHBK
Donne, John (2000) The Major Works, ed Carey, John Oxford University Press
Kempe, Margery. (1985.) The book of Margery Kempe /translated by B.A. Windeatt. Penguin 0140432515
Marlowe, Christopher (March 2003) Edward II, ed. Wiggins, Martin and Lindsay, Robert A & C Black 0713666692TRADEPAPER
Shakespeare, William (1991.) Measure for measure /William Shakespeare; edited by Brian Gibbons. Cambridge University Press 0521222273
** Recommended Text
Country House Poems Available electronically through LION and EEBO
Watt, Diane (2007.) Medieval women's writing :works by and for women in England, 1100-1500 /Diane Watt. Polity 9780745632568
** Supplementary Text
(2003) A companion to English renaissance literature and culture/edited by Michael Hattaway. Blackwell
(1994.) Feminist readings in Middle English literature :the Wife of Bath and all her sect /edited by Ruth Evans and Lesley Johnson. Routledge 0415058198
(2006) The Cambridge companion to John Donne /edited by Achsah Guibbory CUP 0521540038
(2000.) The spirit of medieval English popular romance /edited by Ad Putter and Jane Gilbert. Longman 0582298806
Barron, W. R. J. (1987.) English medieval romance /W.R.J. Barron. Longman 0582492203
Dillon, Janette (1998.) Language and stage in Medieval and Renaissance England /Janette Dillon. Cambridge University Press 0521593344
Fox, Alistair. (1997.) The English Renaissance :identity and representation in Elizabethan England /Alistair Fox. Blackwell Publishers 0631190295
Low, Anthony (1993, 1995 prin) The reinvention of love :poetry, politics, and culture from Sidney to Milton /Anthony Low. Cambridge University Press 0521450306
Lunney, Ruth. (2002.) Marlowe and the popular tradition :innovation in the English drama before 1595 /Ruth Lunney. Distributed in the USA by Palgrave 0719061180
McBride, Kari Boyd. (2001.) Country house discourse in early modern England :a cultural study of landscape and legitimacy /Kari Boyd McBride. Ashgate 0754603814
Rigby, S. H. (1996.) Chaucer in context :society, allegory, and gender /S.H. Rigby. Distributed exclusively in the USA by St. Martin's Press 0719042356
Shugar, Debora K (2001) Political Theologies in Shakespeare's England Basingstoke:Palgrave
Simkin, Stevie. (2000.) A preface to Marlowe /Stevie Simkin. Longman 058231299X
Simpson, James (2002. ;) The Oxford English literary history. Reform and cultural revolution /James Simpson. Oxford University Press. 0198182619


This module is at CQFW Level 5