Module QXE-3094:
Realms of Magic

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics.

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Raluca Radulescu

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to build the students’ knowledge and understanding of a range of texts from the medieval and early modern periods, develop and refine their knowledge and understanding of the relationship of texts to the historical context, and assist with working on their ability to analyse texts in different genres and apply the concepts and aesthetic terms specific to each.

Course content

This module covers a selective history of the genre of medieval romance, especially in relation to its magical elements and the roots of fantasy, while also engaging with modern theory such as gender, postcolonial, and other approaches. We will study Marie de France’s and Chrétien de Troyes’ work through to insular productions such as Emaré, King of Tars, Isumbras, Sir Amadace, Malory's Morte Darthur and other texts, while comparing and contrasting these typical romance forms with Chaucer's Shakespeare's, Spenser's and later adaptations and rewritings. The range of texts will remain flexible, and their early modern versions will also form part of the discussion; the transformations and adaptations of these romances in medieval manuscripts and early modern prints will also be addressed. Topics as varied as spiritual instruction, courtly love, political governance, war, sexual fulfilment and magic will be investigated alongside incest, race, gender and ideology. The versatility of the genre will be explored in its development into other genres, in particular, but not exclusively, in early modern drama, and the endurance of its appeal will be judged with reference to the transformation of the genre in the early modern period. The module will end with analyses of adaptations of romance in the modern period such as Tolkien and Martin, as well as film adaptations.

Assessment Criteria


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium


Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production

Learning outcomes

  1. display an informed sense of the overall development of the genre of romance from the twelfth century to the sixteenth.

  2. possess detailed knowledge of a number of major works relating to the genre.

  3. have the ability to evaluate the literary quality of these works.

  4. have the ability to situate these works in their various socio-historical contexts.

  5. possess informed knowledge of a range of differing interpretations of the romance genre

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay 2 50
ESSAY Essay 1 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


One two-hour seminar per week for 11 weeks

Study group

Study group preceding each seminar

Private study

Private study


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Resource implications for students

see above: minimal

Talis Reading list

Reading list

as provided in blackboard

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: