ENMWR-Early Modern Writing and Reading

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:7
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Michelle O'Callaghan

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

Type of module:

Summary module description:
The printed book was a novelty in the early modern period, and many of the conventions that shape our experience of reading (even the presence of a title page or page numbers) developed at this time, in parallel with the traditions of manuscript books. Our ideas about authorship, particularly the differences between composition and copying or translating, were also changing rapidly. In this module, we will consider the potentials and problems of reconstructing the apparently silent, traceless act of reading, by analysing representations of reading in literary texts; by examining manuscript commonplace books kept by women such as Constance Fowler and Anne Southwell; and by considering the marginal annotations that readers left in their books. Through an examination of influential texts, including the First Folio of William Shakespeare (1623) and an original copy of Ben Jonson's Workes (1640) now held in Reading University's Rare Books Library, as well as miscellanies compiled from several authors (often by groups of writers), students will consider the degree to which a newly powerful, 'modern' conception of authorship was evolving. By exploring techniques of editing and transcription, we will scrutinise the ways in which we encounter the literature of the past on the printed page.

Aims:
This module aims to provide knowledge and understanding of emerging ideas of author and reader, and of reading and writing, in the early modern period. It aims to provide students with a sense of the historical conditions of writing and reading; to encourage in students an awareness of the mutability of the apparently stable categories of author and reader; and to encourage students to think about questions of method.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students will be expected to:
-Identify the main developments in ideas of the author and of the reader in the early modern period
-Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of selected early modern texts as they relate to issues of author and reader
-Formulate critical questions and interpret texts critically with reference to debates about authorship and reading in early modern literature and culture
-Conduct and demonstrate independent thought and research in the selection and analysis of texts

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Students will begin by considering questions of theory and method: how might early modern ideas of author and reader be uncovered? Students will then consider the changing position of the author by examining works including the First Folio of William Shakespeare (1623) and an original copy of Ben Jonson's Workes (1640) now held in Reading University’s Rare Books Library, as well as miscellanies compiled from several authors. Students will then analyse representations of reading in literary texts; examine manuscript commonplace books kept by women such as Constance Fowler and Anne Southwell; and consider the marginal annotations that readers left in their books, in order to think about the position of the early modern reader. Students will also explore techniques of editing and transcription to scrutinise the ways in which the literature of the past is mediated on the printed page. Throughout, students will engage with relevant theoretical and critical material about the subject.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of eleven weekly seminars, each two hours in length. Each seminar will involve discussion of texts or special materials that have been set and prepared in advance. The module teacher will also be available for consultation with students on a one-to-one basis to discuss their work and the progress of the module as a whole.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 22
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study: 177
       
Total hours by term 18
       
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:
Not applicable.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Aside from the set readings and questions for discussion, students must submit a 4000-word essay on a topic of their choice, in which they will respond to and develop upon an aspect of the material covered in the seminars. The specific title will be determined by the student in consultation with the module convenor.

Formative assessment methods:
Presentations with feedback.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50%.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework.

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: 29 October 2019

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

Things to do now