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EN301 - Shakespeare & Selected Dramatists of his Time

  • Module code: EN301
  • Module name: Shakespeare & Selected Dramatists of his Time
  • Department: English and Comparative Literary Studies
  • Credit: 30

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

In this module we look at a selection of plays by Shakespeare and two of his most eminent contemporaries in the context of the theatres and cultures of their time and ours. In the first half of the Autumn Term we aim to write a ‘grammar’ of the Elizabethan theatre and to explore elements of text and performance in a concentrated body of five plays, all of which feature plays-within-plays or hyper-aware role-players and thus reflect self-consciously on the purpose of playing: Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV, Part 1, The Taming of the Shrew and Richard III. Students should come prepared for the term by having read these five plays, from which lecturers will be taking material to talk about, for example, beginnings and endings, theatre speech and theatre 'stuff'. Students will be seeing Propeller theatre's Richard III (directed by Ed Hall) at the Coventry Belgrade on Friday 19 November, 7.45 (week 7) In the second half of the term, we'll explore the plays of Christopher Marlowe, studying them both in their own right and as profound influences on Shakespeare's early dramaturgy. In the final set of paired lectures of the term, putting Dr. Faustus against Macbeth, we will circle back to where the term began, picking up ideas from the Northern Broadsides workshop

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have consolidated their skills in reading narrative, poetry and drama. They should be able to comment illuminatingly on a passage of dramatic poetry, analyse the dramatic structure, appearance and effect of a scene, comment on the ideas in a play and the way they are presented and know enough about Elizabethan and Jacobean conditions of performance to think about how the dramatists use the resources of the stage and how the ensemble nature of theatrical companies influenced play composition and production. They should have sufficient experience of live and film performances of the plays to be able to talk about the impact of particular scenes today, have some familiarity with problems of textual transmission and editing in the plays and know a group of plays well enough to understand how the separate scenes and speeches of the play contribute to the whole. they will know a range of plays such that they can begin to ask questions about Shakespeare’s development and know some plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson/Webster/Middleton so that they can address the issue of connections and dependencies between them. They will have some critical awareness of the traditions of Shakespeare criticism and will be able to use their knowledge of Shakespeare to think about problems which concern them and understand how some of the major issues and themes dramatised in Shakespeare’s plays – love, war, sexuality, religion, law, civilization, race, etc – function in an early modern context while continuing to challenge readers and spectators today.

Timetabled teaching activities

2 lectures and 1 seminar per week.

Departmental link

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/undergraduate/current/modules/fulllist/third/en301

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
30 CATS (Module code: EN301-30)
C (Assessed/examined work) 5000 word essay 50%
  3-hour examination 50%
V1 (Visiting students only) Assessed/visiting students attending single term only 100%
V2 (Visiting students only) Assessed/visiting students attending two terms (Terms 1 & 2) 50%
  Assessed/visiting students attending two terms (Terms 2 & 3) 50%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

Core
  • Undergraduate English and Theatre Studies (QW34) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate English and Theatre Studies with Intercalated Year (QW35) - Year 4
Optional Core
  • Undergraduate English and Latin Literature (QQ36) - Year 2
Optional
  • Undergraduate English Literature (Q300) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate English Literature (Q300) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate English Literature with Intercalated Year (Q301) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate English Literature and Creative Writing (QP36) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate English Literature and Creative Writing (QP36) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate English Literature and Creative Writing with Intercalated Year (QP37) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate English and Latin Literature (QQ36) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Film and Literature (QW25) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Film and Literature (QW25) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature (VQ72) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature (VQ72) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature with Intercalated Year (VQ73) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature with Intercalated Year (VQ73) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Film Studies (W620) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Film Studies (W620) - Year 3