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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2011 Renaissance Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 308


Module manager: Professor Martin Butler

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

Please note: This module is restricted to Level 2 and 3 students.

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module provides an opportunity to study the work of major writers from the English Renaissance, principally in drama and poetry. The module will focus on three plays, and on the work of a number of major poets including Donne, Herbert, Sidney, Marlowe and Johnson. Students will be encouraged to explore a number of topics including the literature of love and sexual relations, religion, and the place of the individual within the social order. Texts will be studied with reference to the social, political and intellectual questions of the time.


This module will introduce students to a range of literature written between 1500 and 1640, in order to gain a sense of the richness and variety of the period. Through study of this literature students will develop their knowledge and understanding of some of the major figures in literary history. At the same time the literature will be placed within the cultural, intellectual and social crosscurrents of the period, and students will be encouraged to refine their understanding of the ways in which the contextualisation of literary texts contributes to a fuller understanding of the drama and poetry of the period.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


The module will focus on a selection of dramatic and poetic texts from the Renaissance period to provide an introduction to the range and diversity of literature produced in England during the Sixteenth and early Seventeenth centuries. The precise selection of principal texts will vary from year to year, but will include such figures as Shakespeare, Donne, Spenser, Jonson and Middleton. Students will be encouraged to develop their ability to read literary texts closely, and, at the same time, to deepen their understanding of the ways in which literature functions within its particular historical and cultural circumstances.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar contribution.

Unassessed assignment.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 15 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

One unassessed essay of approximately 1700 words (including quotations and footnotes) is required, for which the deadline is given in the Undergraduate Student Handbook. This does not form part of the examination for this module, but is a module requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/05/2008


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