Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module QXE-2013:
Renaissance and Reformation

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Andrew Hiscock

Overall aims and purpose

  1. To extend students' knowledge of a variety of texts in English from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
  2. To equip students with the necessary critical skills to examine literature in its historical and cultural contexts
  3. To familiarise students with the major debates concerning politics, religion and identity in the period
  4. To introduce students to the importance of manuscript circulation, genre, gender, readership and performance when studying Renaissance literature
  5. To further students' skills in analysis, research, and both written and oral presentation

Course content

This module is designed to introduce you to one of the richest periods in English literature from the reign of Henry VIII to that of James I in the opening years of the seventeenth century. You will have the opportunity to sample the sonnets of courtly love poets across a period of 120 years and to study a range of history plays, comedies and tragedies produced by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, such as Marlowe, for the London playhouses. There will be opportunities to explore the period of enormous religious turmoil through the historical writing of the period as well as time to travel through Thomas More’s Utopia and short prose fiction of the period. You will consider a range of examples of sixteenth-century women’s writing and consider the Elizabethan accounts of sea-faring and discovery in the company of such figures as Sir Walter Ralegh.

Assessment Criteria


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


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 C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas, but without much confidence • A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there • Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned • Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole • Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question • Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily • Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium
• Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times

Learning outcomes

  1. The ability to understand and analyse selected texts from c. 1500 to c. 1620

  2. An awareness of the changing dynamics of genre throughout the early modern period

  3. An awareness of the interrelationships of text, context, circumstances of production, literary tradition and ideology

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
2,000 word Essay 50
Presentation 15
Critical Analysis of 2 Articles 35

Teaching and Learning Strategy


1 hour per week for 11 weeks


2 hours per week for 11 weeks

Private study 156
Study group 11

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.
  • 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
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Conceptual skills developed by demonstration and discussion. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.2; 3.3.14; 3.3.17; 3.3.18; 3.3.19).
  • Study skills in researching concepts and contexts by directed reading. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.22; 3.3.23).
  • The ability to analyse texts, using appropriate critical terminology. ( English Benchmark Statement 3.1.8; 3.2.1; 3.2.6; 3.3.12).


Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: