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Unit information: Renaissance Literature: Texts and Contexts in 2021/22

Unit name Renaissance Literature: Texts and Contexts
Unit code ENGLM0037
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Steggle
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will consider key Renaissance texts in relation to their wider historical context, exploring the complex ways in which literary works take up, critique, and are in dialogue with the cultural practices, debates, and technologies of their time. It will focus on selected current issues in the field of early modern studies. Example topics include: early modern ideas about interiority; literary and cultural geography and the ways in which identity is seen to shape, and be shaped by, encounters with space and place; ideas about sexuality, gender, and the body on stage and in medical texts; women’s writing; and the representation of violence and trauma on the Renaissance stage.

The unit aims to give a broadened experience of the range and variety within Renaissance literature and its comparable textual cultures, as well as providing an insight into the current shape of Renaissance studies as a discipline. Students will learn to read literary texts historically, developing a strong sense of the ways in which literature works within its broader contexts. They will also learn to write critically about literary texts, and to develop their skills in in close and interdisciplinary textual analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students should have:

1. A greater appreciation of the range and variety within Renaissance literature.

2. An advanced understanding of the key literary, historical and cultural developments of the early modern period.

3. A strong grasp of the ways in which Renaissance texts can be understood in relation to their wider historical and social contexts.

4. A sense of the current shape of Renaissance studies and some of the recent preoccupations of the field.

5. An ability to write critically about literary texts, and a familiarity with methodologies for reading literary texts historically.

6. A development of existing skills in research, analysis and independent thinking.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. These can include seminars, lectures, class discussions, formative tasks, small group work and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

1 x 4000 word summative assignment (100%) [ILOs 1-6] 1000 word presentation


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGLM0037).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.