SEL3383 : From the Black Death to the Tudors:Traditions and transformations in medieval literature

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to give students the chance to develop detailed knowledge of a specialised area of Medieval Literature and to broaden their understanding of the wider themes and contexts, the conceptual and contextual approaches and the critical methods germane to the study of the literature of this period.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will offer a specialised study of the literature of the period 1350-1500, a period which experienced the Black Death, the fall of the Plantagenets and the rise of the Tudors, the growth of religious dissent, the introduction of print and the expansion of literacy. A similar dynamism invests the period’s literature. The emergence of writers such as Chaucer, later dubbed the Father of English Poetry, the development of new genres such as the autobiography, and the self-conscious reworkings of older modes such as the Arthurian chivalric romance testify to the energy and innovation as well as the enduring significance of the literary culture which accompanied England's emergence as a centralised kingdom. The module will explore a variety of texts in a range of modes and genres composed in this period which may include court fictions, dream-visions, life-writing, fables, satires and didactic literature and examine how digital resources have enabled rich studies of medieval material culture. Themes and debates discussed may include how these writers respond creatively to new and old influences; how they explore the figure of the author and the reader; gender representations and persistent themes such as chivalry and honour, sin and innocence, and poverty and protest.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading184:0084:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Study Groups
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce students to knowledge outcomes. Seminars develop this knowledge and enable the practice of skills, namely close textual analysis and interpersonal communications. Study groups give students a chance to develop independent study and prepare for the seminars in terms that give them genuine ownership over the material.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601M30N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A703,000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The in-course exam/test will ask students to concentrate on particular passages and demonstrate skills in the translation of Middle English and/or close reading.

The end of module essay will ask students to write an evaluative essay.

Offering a mix of modes of assessment (close reading, translation, comparative/contextual analysis and/or a reading of a single text) ensures good coverage of the texts on the module, and the assessment will focus students upon detailed aspects of the material in terms that connect their ideas with the module’s broader thematic content.

Reading Lists