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Module

SEL3055 : Chaucer, Shakespeare and the Book of the Future

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Cummings
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

What does it mean to write a text in the medieval and early modern period? Who was meant to read the manuscripts or printed works that survive to us? How do these texts become the books we read and the drama we perform? How does our experiences of text change with the medium, and how might this change in the future? What form will books of the future take? These are some of the questions we will be addressing in this module. We will explore the shifts in medium from handwritten, to print, to the digital world and especially its effects on modes of public and private writing. We will focus specifically on medieval and early modern prose, life writing, correspondence, drama and poetry, and the context of their production and dissemination.

By the end of the module students will:
- have developed an understanding of the relationship between literature and technology;
- be aware of technological developments in writing, copying and accessibility of texts in the medieval and early modern periods;
- have considered the relationship between the material form of texts and how that might affect their production;
- have knowledge of a range of text types from the medieval and early modern period;
- have an understanding of differences between public and private writing in pre-modern texts.

Outline Of Syllabus

Texts studied in this module have typically included works such as: The Book of Margery Kempe, The Paston Letters, Memoirs by Lady Ann Fanshaw and Lady Anne Halkett, Johannes Trithemius’ In Praise of Scribes, Chaucer's House of Fame, and Shakespeare's Hamlet. Through the study of these works and modern critical texts on digital technology, we will explore how these texts are written and received in their own time and in ours. Discussions will address issues of book history and the nature of authorship. At the end of the semester, we will find out how the advent of digital technologies is used to breathe new life into texts like these — and how these technological shifts open up new avenues for readers and researchers alike. As much as possible texts will be provided to students via an online module reader.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable