Literature, Culture, and Crisis in Early Modern England (TRU3028)
|Staff||Dr Ayesha Mukherjee - Convenor|
|Pre-requisites||120 credits at level 2|
|Duration of Module||Term 1: 11 weeks;|
This module will explore the literary and cultural history of early modern England (1550-1630) through the theme of crisis. During the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, England faced repeated threats of war, civil strife, anxieties about royal succession and political authority, religious conflict, economic shortage, outbreaks of disease, population explosion, immigration issues, urban overcrowding and environmental degradation. Through the close-reading of a range of literary texts along with contemporary official documents, manuscripts, maps, economic and scientific manuals, the module will examine the meaning/s of crisis in early modern culture and discover how its concomitant fears stimulated human ingenuity and imagination in varied fields of activity. The module will cover a range of genres - satires, commonplace books, religious poems and prose, prose fiction, and drama - and examine the perceived roles of literature in defining and managing crisis. It will encourage students to analyse the work of much-discussed authors such as Shakespeare and John Donne as well as less frequently examined works of Robert Greene and Thomas Middleton. It will address questions of contemporary early modern reception of the selected texts, and encourage analysis of their rhetorical and performative strategies.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of the literature and cultural history of early modern England.
- 2. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of how early modern literature engaged with key aspects of political and social change and the construction of cultural identities.
- 3. Demonstrate wider acquaintance with lesser known authors and independently assess their position in the early modern canon.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse early modern literature and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context.
- 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of material, cultural, and intellectual history.
- 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to work with both primary research materials and theoretical ideas pertinent to literary texts and develop independent research interests.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 7. Through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups.
- 8. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose.
- 9. Through research for seminars, essays, and presentations demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.
- 10. Through research, seminar discussion, and essay writing demonstrate an advanced capacity to question assumptions and to critically reflect on their own learning process.
1: A lost world: Introduction to early modern cultural history
2: Satire and social criticism (Hall, Marston, Guilpin, Bastard)
3: Households (commonplace and receipt books, country house poems)
4: Utopias (More, Bacon)
5: Underworlds: crisis and the act of writing I (Greene, Nashe)
6: Underworlds: crisis and the act of writing II (Nashe, Dekker)
7: Religion (Selected poems, sermons and tracts)
8: Staging the crises I (Shakespeare)
9: Staging the crises II (Jonson, Dekker)
10: Staging the crises III (Middleton)
11: Symposium: presentations based on research conducted during an archival field trip
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||11||Lecture (11x1hr)|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||22||Seminar (11x2hrs)|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||11||Study group (11x1hr)|
|Guided independent study||256||Private study|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||35||2000 words||All (except PKS a)||Essay feedback sheet and marker annotations|
|Presentation||15||10 minutes||All (except parts of PKS b, c and d)||Oral|
|Essay||50||3000 words||All (except PKS a)||Essay feedback sheet and marker annotations|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Essay||Essay||All (except PKS a)||tbc|
|Presentation||Presentation||All (except parts of PKS b, c and d)||tbc|
|Essay||Essay||All (except PKS a)||tbc|
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Francis Bacon, New Atlantis; Thomas More, Utopia: in Three Early Modern Utopias (Oxford, 2008)
Thomas Dekker, The Wonderfull Yeare. 1603. (Online: EEBO); Shoemaker’s Holiday (New Mermaids, 2008)
Robert Greene, selected ‘conny catching’ pamphlets (Online: EEBO)
Ben Jonson, Volpone (New Mermaids, 2003)
Thomas Middleton, A Game at Chess (Revels Plays, 1997)
Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penniless; Lenten Stuff (Penguin, 2006)
William Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV (Arden, 3rd series, 2002), King Lear (Arden, 3rd series, 1997)
R.H. Tawney and Eileen Power (eds), Tudor Economic Documents (London, 1924)
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
ELE site for the module
EEBO (Early English Books Online)
Indicative learning resources - Other resources
Selected secondary texts
William C. Carroll, Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare (Ithaca, 1996)
John Guy (ed.), The Reign of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (Cambridge, 1995)
Arnold Hunt, The Art of Hearing: English Preachers and their Audiences, 1590-1640 (Cambridge, 2010)
Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost: further explored (Methuen, 1983)
Gerald Maclean, Donna Landry and Joseph Ward (eds), The Country and the City Revisited: England and the Politics of Culture 1550-1850 (Cambridge, 1999)
Andrew McRae, God Speed the Plough: The Representation of Agrarian England 1500-1660 (Cambridge, 1996)
Deborah Shuger, Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture (1990)
Linda Woodbridge, Vagrancy, Homelessness and English Renaissance Literature (Illinois, 2001)
Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain, 1470-1750 (Penguin, 2002)
Available as distance learning?