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SEL2201 : Renaissance Bodies

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Emma Whipday
  • Lecturer: Dr Ruth Connolly, Dr Kate De Rycker
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 150 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The Renaissance ‘rebirth’ of intellectual and artistic activity across Western Europe gave rise to new genres, onstage and on the page. From closet drama to Shakespearean tragedy, and from elite sonnets to popular printed prose, we will explore how writers aimed to stimulate the sensory experiences of their audiences. What did it feel like to be a body in Renaissance England? What did writers, readers, and audiences see, hear, touch, and smell? This module will trace how the rich and various genres of Renaissance literature imagine, represent, and affect the Renaissance body, in print, manuscript, and performance.

Outline Of Syllabus

Texts may change from year to year, but we will always have plays by Shakespeare and other early modern playwrights. Poetry will include works by female poets, such as Hester Pulter. Our prose choices will be taken usually from 'popular' print intended for a 'mass' audience.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Weekly seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities104:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00Assessment Preparation Workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:3010:00Watch parties (with live chat)
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0022:00N/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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A70EITHER an essay OR a creative portfolio (both 2,500 words)
Written exercise2M301,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The mid-module assessment asks students to close read an extract from one of the module 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 an essay.

The ‘creative portfolio’ offers an alternative to the essay paper. Students may choose from one of the following three options:

1) Design a programme for an imagined production based on one of the course plays, with accompanying explanation of rationale

2) Design an exhibition guide for an imagined exhibition inspired by one of the course texts with accompanying explanation of rationale

3) Write a short, public-facing digital project relating to course texts, with accompanying explanation of rationale

Reading Lists