EN3RWW-Renaissance Women Writing 1575-1625

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Michelle O'Callaghan

Email: m.f.ocallaghan@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
‘Did women have a Renaissance?’ This is one of the questions this module will address by introducing students to the variety of writing by English women in the Renaissance, including poetry, plays, polemic and letters in manuscript and in print. Texts will be located in their historical contexts and particular attention will be paid to the ways in which women publish their writings. These issues will be explored in relation to current debates over women’s writing as a critical category.

This module aims to examine texts written by and about English women writers in the Renaissance. It will provide students with knowledge of the variety of women’s writing in this period by introducing students to women writers of different social status, from Isabella Whitney to Elizabeth I, and to the range of genres which women writers explored. Students will gain an understanding of the opportunities available to women as well as the cultural and material constraints within which they wrote. Throughout the module, students will evaluate a range of critical approaches to these texts.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes

By the end of the module students will be expected to:
•demonstrate a knowledge of a variety of texts by women writers of the period
•recognize some of the ways in which choices of genre and topic were informed by ideas of gender in the period
•show an awareness of the different modes of publication available to women writers
•understand how texts were transmitted and disseminated in this period
•appraise modern theoretical and critical approaches to writing by women in this period
•organize and articulate in writing a coherent written argument.

Additional outcomes:
•Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities.
•Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner.
•Students will develop skills of close textual analysis.
•Students will engage critically with ideas discussed in seminars
•Students will construct and express coherent arguments, both orally and in writing.

Outline content:

Students will be introduced to a range of writing by women in the period. Texts will include poetry, both secular and religious, plays, polemic, and letters published in manuscript and print. Among the women whose writing will be studied are: Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, Elizabeth Cary, and Aemilia Lanyer. Consideration will be given not only to the topics on which women chose to write, but also to the circumstances in which they wrote, and the media through which their writing is preserved. Students will be encouraged to take a critical and self-reflexive perspective on their own approaches, and those of modern literary scholars and historians, to early modern women and their work.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Structured seminars, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. Students will keep a weekly journal in which they reflect on their learning and research and record their preliminary research for their end-of-module essay. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 139.5 30
Total hours by term 170.00 30.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 67
Report 33

Other information on summative assessment:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

Formative assessment methods:
Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

Students write one formative essay, of between 1500 and 2000 words or present a seminar paper. They receive feedback on this, and also on the assessed work, comprising the journal (33%) or the equivalent placement report, and the assessed essay of approximately 4000 words (67%).

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Key Readings List:
    You can view a Key Readings list for this module here: http://readinglists.reading.ac.uk/lists/A4721599-3EDC-48BD-80C4-1D865EE47C25 N.B. Reading lists may change before the module starts.

    Last updated: 4 April 2017

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