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Information for 2019-20

Important note: From 2019-20, the way that this module is taught and assessed is changing. Please read the details below before confirming your module selection.

This module is offered in variants for level 4, 5 and 6 students (first, intermediate, and final years). Students may take the module only once during their degree course, in the variant appropriate to their year of study.

Syllabus

Teaching will take place in term 1 (on medieval texts) and term 2 (on renaissance texts).

Autumn term

Week 1 Introduction (students should read Chaucer, The General Prologue, in The Riverside Chaucer; seminars begin in week 2).

Weeks 2 Chaucer, The Merchant's Tale

Week 3 Chaucer, The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale

Week 4 Chaucer, The Prioress's Tale

Week 5 Chaucer, The Nun's Priest's Tale

[week 6: reading week; no lecture or seminar]

Week 7 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, fitts 1-2

Week 8 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, fitts 3-4

Week 9 Piers Plowman, Prologue and passus 5

Week 10 Medieval drama

Spring Term

Week 1 Introduction to the Renaissance and Reformation

Week 2 Thomas More, Utopia

Week 3 The poetry of Thomas Wyatt

Week 4 Sir Philip Sidney, The Defense of Poesy

Week 5 Sir Philip Sidney, Astrophil and Stella

[week 6: reading week; no lecture or seminar]

Week 7 Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, bk 1 cantos 1-6

Week 8 Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, bk 1 cantos 7-12

Week 9 Shakespeare’s sonnets

Week 10 Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

Teaching methods

1 hour weekly lecture in terms 1-2; weekly seminars in term 1, weeks 2-5, 7-10 and term 2, weeks 1-5, 7-10; Middle English reading classes in term 1, weeks 2-5 only.

Readings in the primary texts are assigned for each week of term. In weeks 2-8 of each term, there will also be an assigned critical reading relevant to the primary text set for study. In weeks 9-10 of each term, students will be expected to identify a critical reading of their own relevant to the weekly reading; this may be either an article or chapter from the course reading list, or something that you have identified yourself through the library catalogue/databases.

Details of the readings for each week are available in the module reading list in Talis Aspire.

Assessment

All students will write two formative (i.e. non-assessed) commentaries of approximately 1000 words, one on a medieval and one on a renaissance text. These will be due in week 7 of the relevant term. All students will also write two assessed essays, due in week 1 of terms 2 and 3. The exact form of the essay will depend on year of study:

  • First-year students will be assessed by 2 x 2500 word essays (50%/50%), one on a medieval and one on a renaissance topic. Essay titles will be provided by the module convenor.
  • Intermediate year students will be assessed by 2 x 3500 word essays (50%/50%). Essay titles will be provided by the module convenor.
  • Final-year students will be assessed by 2 x 4000 word essays (50%/50%). Titles will be devised by the student in consultation with their tutor.