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Unit information: Intertextual Shakespeare in 2015/16

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Unit name Intertextual Shakespeare
Unit code ENGLM3013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lesel Dawson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


A central aim of the course is to pursue the variety of creative transformations which Shakespeare made in respect of earlier writers and which later writers have made in respect of Shakespeare. It will thus both explore the ways in which Shakespeare takes up, changes, and re-thinks his literary and historical sources and the ways in which other writers and directors reinterpret Shakespeare in plays, poems, novels, and films. This Unit also examines the various languages, vocabularies and theories which describe literary relations, considering ideas of influence and intertextuality. Specific authors studied will vary from year to year, but may include: Seneca, Plutarch, Kyd, Middleton, Ford, Keats, Eliot and Angela Carter.

Intended learning outcomes

1. A broadened understanding of both Shakespeare’s literary precursors and those writers who later draw on his works.

2. A knowledge of how intertextual Shakespeare relates to a number of categorizations current in literary study including history, gender, and genre.

3. A developing understanding of theories of influence and intertexuality.

4. Developing an appropriate style of critical writing for the discussion and analysis of Shakespeare and intertexuality.

5. Improving existing skills through independent reading, research and writing on specific texts and topics.

Teaching details

8 x 2-hour seminar, 1 reading week, 11 Consultation Hours

Assessment Details

1 essay of 4,000 words which would assess the standards reached of the abilities and knowledge listed in learning objectives 1-5. Each student will also be required to give a 1000-word presentation in class.

Reading and References

Marianne Novy, ed., Transforming Shakespeare: Contemporary Women’s Re-visions in Literature and Performance (Boston: St Martin’s Press, 1999)

Jean I. Marsden, ed., The Appropriation of Shakespeare: Post-Renaissance Reconstructions and Myths (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991)

Peter Erickson, Rewriting Shakespeare, Rewriting Ourselves (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991)

Brian Vickers, Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993)

Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare (London: Hogarth Press, 1990)

David Ellis, That Man Shakespeare, Icons of Modern Culture (Mountfield: Helm Information, 2005)