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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2085 Medieval and Tudor Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 27

School of English

Module manager: Dr Catherine Batt

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is mutually exclusive with

ENGL2029Renaissance Literature

Module replaces

ENGL2025 - Medieval Literature

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to English language and literature from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. We will see English evolving in a multilingual culture to become a major literary language. Our texts push the bounds of literary possibility (and social decorum) to offer startling insights into the relationship between orality, performance, writing, and printing; fierce contests over the place of women in the world; and explosive encounters between literature, politics and religion.


- Confidence in reading early varieties of English.
- Ability to analyse texts from radically different cultures critically and without prejudice.
- A strong sense of the literary and cultural diversity of the Anglophone world in the centuries around 1450.
- An awareness of the place of English literature in an international context before English began to develop hegemonic status.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
1. Embrace early varieties of English and the literary possibilities they offered.
2. Explore the power and constraints of historicist approaches to textual and literary analysis.
3. Find your bearings within, and analyse, new and unfamiliar cultures.
4. Assimilate and build on past research to seek new interpretations of texts.
5. Express yourself purposefully yet with nuance.


This module challenges the traditional divide between ‘medieval’ and ‘early modern’ periods in English Literature, thinking across three centuries of literary innovation and cultural change to give new perspectives on what English and its literature are and on what they can do.

People in this period were thinking intensely about how society could and should work, and we will investigate the biting social criticism that these contests generated, finding out how writers balanced cynicism with utopianism and explored their hopes for new futures.

You will explore courtly romance and trace the development of love poetry as it adapted to a changing world—and study all the contestation of gender norms that these genres imply. You will also encounter the poetry of everyday life, not least as manifested in drama, which emerged in this period as an important genre.

Reading these texts will enable you to think about the dynamic, sometimes fraught, relationship between English-speaking England and the wider world at a time when English was a minor language, one of several spoken on an island located at the far edge of the map.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly seminar discussions enable all students to articulate and develop questions, ideas, and arguments, and to benefit from the feedback from other students and the tutor.

Tutors’ weekly office hours provide a further regular opportunity for formative feedback, as do opportunities to meet Writing Mentors.

Feedback (written and oral) on written work (see below) also has a key formative function.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayResearch exercise involving library resources (1 x 500 words)15.00
EssayComparative essay or creative writing + critical reflection (1 x 3000 words)85.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 11/06/2024 11:40:26


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