ENMEML-Early Modern Literature: Texts, Contexts and Methods

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Chloe Houston

Email: c.houston@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:


The aims of the module are to encourage students to read widely and to develop their own interests in the field of early modern literature and drama. In so doing, the module aims to encourage students to think about texts in their historical, literary and critical contexts, paying attention to questions of method and approach. In providing deeper knowledge and understanding of the drama, poetry and prose of this period the module aims to introduce students to a range of critical perspectives, encouraging students to think about their own approaches to reading.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the selected early modern texts

  • Formulate critical questions and interpret texts critically and within their critical contexts

  • Conduct bibliographic research

  • Conduct and demonstrate independent thought and research in the selection and analysis of texts

  • Synthesise a written argument

Additional outcomes:

The module will encourage students to develop their oral communication skills through discussions in seminars, to think critically both within and across disciplines, and to interrogate their own assumptions and arguments, as well as those of others including their peers and seminar leaders.

Outline content:

The module will trace a number of key concepts and ideas in the history of early modern English literature and drama. These include questions regarding: periodization; form and genre; authorship and readership; the materiality of text; the history of the book; the global Renaissance; early modern identities; gender and sexuality; critical, literary and historical contexts.

The authors studied are likely to include Isabella Whitney, Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell, Fynes Moryson, John Donne, Lucy Hutchinson, John Dryden, and Margaret Cavendish.

The module will be taught by a team of staff, likely to include Dr Rebecca Bullard, Dr Chloe Houston, Dr Mark Hutchings, Professor Grace Ioppolo, Dr Mary Morrissey and Professor Michelle O’Callaghan (staffing correct at the time of writing).

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact time will take the form of ten weekly seminars, each two hours long. Each seminar will involve discussion of texts or other materials set and prepared in advance. The seminars will be taught by a number of different members of the English department, working as a team to combine their individual expertise so as to provide students with a wider range of materials and approaches. The convenors will be available for consultation on a one-to-one basis to discuss students’ work and progress on the module as a whole.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 11
Tutorials 11
Guided independent study: 178
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will produce a 4,000-word essay on one or more of the set texts. The specific essay question or title will be determined by the student in consultation with the module convenor. In addition, students will also complete a shorter piece of assessed work (10 credits) of a bibliographical nature. This will be set centrally by the module convenor.

Formative assessment methods:

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:


Reassessment arrangements:

Re-submission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 10 April 2019


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