EN3SHF-Shakespeare on Film

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lucinda Becker

Email: l.m.becker@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Filmic adaptation of Shakespeare is a major component of the ‘Shakespeare Industry’. This module explores how the medium of film has treated Shakespeare, with a focus on how the written text can be used in depictions, interpretations and adaptations, and how film making techniques affect our perception of Shakespeare’s works. Alongside consideration of how plays have been interpreted on screen we will also consider key actors and directors, tracing changes and developments in both cinema and the ways early modern drama has been interpreted and appropriated by filmmakers in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Throughout we will work with an awareness of Shakespeare as a cultural icon.


The module aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the theatre text as a ‘play-text’ for filmic interpretation. It introduces students to the rudiments of film theory, aims to develop critical awareness of the various cultural and ideological contexts that need to be considered when reading these films, and considers how these texts affect the academic/popular understanding of Shakespeare.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be expected to: • Demonstrate skills of close textual analysis • Deploy appropriate critical vocabulary in discussing visual texts • Make a comparative analysis of sequences of film • Show an awareness of broader theoretical issues generated by the texts • Engage critically with ideas discussed in seminars • Take a view on the effect of film on Shakespeare’s texts • Construct and express coherent arguments, both orally and in writing.

Additional outcomes:

Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. An awareness of film making techniques and their effects upon narrative structure will be created, alongside a competence in film analysis. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner. Students will develop their oral presentation skills.

Outline content:

This module requires students to engage critically with both written and visual texts. Familiarity with modern, critical editions of a small number of plays is expected, and students will also examine films on DVD. The texts under consideration may change depending upon film releases and play openings, but would be expected to include Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado about Nothing.

Global context:

We will be considering Shakespeare on Film in countries and cultures other than the UK, and work on non-English versions of Shakespeare texts on film will be acceptable as part of the assessment assigments for the module.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Three seminar hours weekly, for which students are required to do preparatory reading and viewing. 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
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study 169
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

There is no examination for this module.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

This module is assessed by a formal presentation (20%), given in a seminar, and a 4,000 word essay (80%). If an academic placement is undertaken for this module, with the approval of the convenor, the written assessment for the module will be a 2,000 word essay (40%) and a 2,000 word placement report (40%).

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 are given the option of writing one formative essay, of between 1500 and 2000 words. 

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

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

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August 2017

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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