Module Catalogue 2018/19

SEL2201 : Writing the Renaissance

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ruth Connolly
  • Lecturer: Professor Jennifer Richards
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The ‘Renaissance’ is marked by a general surge of different kinds of artistic and intellectual activity in Western Europe. In England, for example, a new and unique form of theatre developed in London. There were similar ‘rebirths’ in all sorts of poetry, for example the long narrative epic. In this course, we try to give you a glimpse of the richness and variety of the writing of the period. We pay closest attention to its drama but we will also read some key moments in English Renaissance epic (extracts not the whole poem!) and we will explore some of the experimental prose writing composed for a whole new reading public.

Outline Of Syllabus

Texts may change from year to year, but we will always have some tragedies and comedies by Shakespeare and two or three other playwrights. Epic is most likely to be represented by book 1 of Spenser’s Faery Queen and/or by two or three books of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Our prose choices will be taken usually from 'popular' print intended for a 'mass' audience.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1) An understanding of the distinctive aspects of early modern literature.

2) An ability to situate these texts in their intellectual and social contexts.

3) An ability to read texts comparatively and in the context of their sources.

4) An awareness of how these texts are intended to initiate a dialogue between writers and readers and a capacity critically to explore and analyse that dialogue.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1) Engage critically with a wide range of Renaissance genres.

2) Understand the processes of composition which underlie these works.

3) Construct their own version of one of these genres (the commonplace book).

4) Communicate their arguments effectively both orally and in written forms.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Present
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading180:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity110:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The Learning Outcomes are intended to illustrate that texts in this period are read in dialogue with one another, and are intended to encourage discussion, analysis and debate among their readers. By co-teaching lectures and by examining texts comparatively, that dialogue is embedded into the course structure.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A702, 500 words
Written exercise2M301,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The mid-module assessment asks students to explain a pithy quotation from one of the set-texts and to show how it illuminates some aspect of that text. It helps students to use their close-reading and analytic-organisational skills, and asks them to think through the organisation of an argument based on close textual analysis. That prepares them to do better in the longer end-of-module assessment, which is a take-home essay paper.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.