Gender & Devotion in EM Lit.
Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
30 Credits or 15 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Sue Niebrzydowski
Overall aims and purpose
This module focuses on a wide range of writing by women in the medieval and early modern periods, exploring the concept of devotion – secular as well as sacred – as a dominant concern of these early women writers. Students will investigate the interplay of faith, desire, gender, genre, and creativity in women’s writing of devotion across an excitingly diverse variety of texts from the Middle Ages through to the late seventeenth century. In doing so, those following the module are encouraged to develop an understanding of a number of appropriate critical approaches to medieval and early modern texts, including historicist and feminist debates concerning the contexts of production, authorship and textual transmission. Students are also encouraged to question the usefulness of period labels such as ‘medieval’ and ‘early modern’, and to uncover continuities as well as contrasts between pre- and post-Reformation writing.
This module explores a wide selection of published and manuscript texts that demonstrate the breadth, continuities and dissimilarities of late medieval ad early modern women’s devotional writing practices (both religious and secular). Graduate students will be introduced to the writing of anchorites, mystics, mothers and lovers, from across the social spectrum, who expressed their devotion in a variety of genres and for widely differing audiences. The material under discussion emerges in forma as varied as translation, lyric poetry, letters, early autobiographical writing, exegesis, polemic, prophecy and prayer. This module offers opportunities for students to develop and pursue highly innovative lines of research in the analytical comparison of devotional writing from pre- and post-Reformation England.
50-59% A Pass (C) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities: • A satisfactory level of knowledge, analysis and expression. • Some familiarity with, and understanding of, relevant theoretical issues. • Generally sound organisation of argument, with some critical ability. • Accurate expression. • Competent use of quotation and references.
60-69% A (B) candidate’s work reaching Merit will show many of the following qualities: • An advanced level of factual knowledge. • Significant [substantial] knowledge of relevant theories and types of analysis. • Some evidence of original thought. • The ability to organise and argue effectively, make balanced judgements, and demonstrate critical thought. • Fluent and accurate expression. • Competent use of quotation and references.
70% and above Typically (A), the work of a candidate reaching Distinction will show many of the following qualities: • Thorough knowledge and understanding of relevant theories and types of analysis. • Thorough knowledge of a range of sources and the capacity to engage these critically. • Introduction and discussion of original ideas. • Relevant, well-organised and sophisticated argument. • High ratio of analysis to exposition. • Maturity, clarity and cogency of expression. • Excellent handling of quotation and references.
Understand, analyse and discuss the selected module texts and contextual materials.
Consider differing critical attitudes to these texts, and assess the contribution of relevant theories of gender, religion and literary history.
Show an advanced awareness of the interrelationships of text, context, authorship, audience and textual transmission
The assessment for this module is one 5,000-word essay on a topic of your choice, decided upon in consultation with both tutors, involving both medieval and early modern texts.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- 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
Subject specific skills
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 2.1; 2.2; 3.1.3; 3.1.7; 3.1.11; 3.2.8).
- Command of a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate critical terminology (English Benchmark Statement 3.1.9; 3.2.6).
- Broad knowledge of literature and the distinctive characters of texts written in the principal literary genres of fiction, poetry and drama, and of other kinds of writing and communication (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.1; 3.1.1; 3.1.2).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis and the ability to acquire substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way involving the use of the distinctive interpretative skills of the subject (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.2; 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.3.3; 3.3.5; 3.3.8; 3.3.12; 3.3.13).
- Rhetorical skills of effective communication and argument, both oral and written (English Benchmark Statement 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.5; 3.3.1; 3.3.6).
- Sensitivity to generic conventions and to the shaping effects upon communication of circumstances, authorship, textual production and intended audience (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.8; 2.3.; 3.1.2; 3.2.3).
- The capacity for independent thought and judgement; the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories and to interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.2; 3.3.1; 3.3.7; 3.3.11).
- Responsiveness to the central role of language in the creation of meaning and a sensitivity to the affective power of language (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.5; 1.3.8; 3.1.5; 3.1.11; 3.2.4).
- The ability to comprehend and develop intricate concepts in an open-ended way which involves an understanding of purpose and consequences (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.6; 3.3.9).
- Understanding of how cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement (English Benchmark Statement 2.1; 2.2; 3.1.6; 3.1.7; 3.2.9).
- Recognition of the multi-faceted nature of literature, and of its complex relationship to other media or disciplines and forms of knowledge (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.7; 2.1; 2.2; 2.4; 2.5; 3.1.8; 3.1.12).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of texts (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.2.1; 3.3.8; 3.3.12).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.6).
- 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 express ideas clearly in discussion and in organised written form. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.5; 3.2.7; 3.3.11; 3.3.15; 3.3.16; 3.3.21; 3.3.24).
- The ability to analyse texts, using appropriate critical terminology. ( English Benchmark Statement 3.1.8; 3.2.1; 3.2.6; 3.3.12).
- The ability to situate texts in intertextual debate and as responses to and interventions in contemporary culture. (English Benchmark Statement 3.1.7; 3.1.10; 3.1.11; 3.2.3; 3.2.8).
- Translation skills (Middle English).
- Communicate effectively in interpersonal settings, in writing and in a variety of media; engagement with forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through an appropriate command of oral, written and other forms of communication (Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmark 6.1.5; 8.2.6).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work; bibliographic skills, including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of conventions in the presentation of scholarly work and the ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style; making use, as appropriate, of a problem-solving approach (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.7; 3.3.4; 3.3.6; Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmark 6.1.7).
- Broad knowledge of a range of texts, genres, aesthetic forms and cultural practices, and the ability to produce close analysis of these and of the uses and implications of these approaches; an understanding of particular media forms and genres, and the way in which they organize understandings, meanings and affects (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.1; 3.1.1; 3.1.2; Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies benchmarks 4.1.5; 8.2.5).
- Ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to English studies.
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
Resource implications for students
The texts studied in seminar are available primarily as e-copies and hard copy available in the University Library. Less readily available texts will be provided as photocopy.
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/qxe-4029.html
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- Q3AJ: Diploma Creative Writing (English) year 1 (DIP/CWE)
- Q3AC: Diploma English year 1 (DIP/E)
- V9AB: Diploma Medieval Studies year 1 (DIP/MS)
- Q3AK: MA Creative Writing (English) year 1 (MA/CWE)
- Q3AD: MA English year 1 (MA/E)
- Q3AS: MA English Literature year 1 (MA/EL)
- V9AC: MA Medieval Studies year 1 (MA/MS)
- Q2W9: MArts English Literature with Creative Writing year 4 (MARTS/ELCW)
- Q320: MArts English Literature year 4 (MARTS/ELIT)