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Unit information: Literature 1150-1550 in 2021/22

Unit name Literature 1150-1550
Unit code ENGL10042
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sebastiaan Verweij
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to medieval literature, and will present both the diversity of literature written between 1150 and 1550 and its distinctive qualities. Students will study a selection of texts including some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, medieval drama, romance, and court poetry; religious writing, lyrics and travel writing may also feature. They will learn to read and translate Middle English, but will also read some texts in the other languages of medieval Britain in translation, and will study texts by both male and female writers. They will learn to analyse medieval poetry and prose, and will gain an understanding of medieval modes of writing, genres and metres. They will be introduced to some key contexts and ideas to help them understand the literature, such as manuscript and oral cultures, Christianity and medieval social and gender hierarchies.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of the unit a successful student will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the literature of medieval England;
  2. read and translate Middle English;
  3. analyse the literary features of medieval poetry and prose;
  4. apply an understanding of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of medieval texts;
  5. demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including long- and short-form lectures, group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Information

  • 1 x 1000 word commentary (33%) [ILOs 1,4,5]
  • 1 x timed assessment (67%) [ILOs 1-5]


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. ENGL10042).

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.