Shakespeare (EAS1036)

StaffDr Victoria Sparey - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to explore two key Shakespearean texts from a wide range of perspectives, including sources and precursors, the contexts of production and reception, and the plays' afterlives in print, performance, and the work of other writers. The module will explore how the plays came into existence, how they achieved their unique status in English literature and culture, and how Shakespeare's dominance has been and continues to be challenged. Throughout, the module pays close attention to the particular possibilities of theatre as a mode of cultural production.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate a critical appreciation of some of the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing the study of Shakespearean drama;
  • 2. demonstrate an ability to analyse the form and content of particular plays;
  • 3. demonstrate an awareness of how responses to Shakespeare's work have developed over time;
  • 4. demonstrate a grasp of the interpretative choices involved in editing, performing and adapting Shakespearean texts;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. demonstrate a basic ability to analyse the literature of an earlier era and to relate its concerns and its modes of expression to its historical context;
  • 6. demonstrate a basic ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history;
  • 7. demonstrate a basic ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts;
  • 8. demonstrate a basic ability to analyze contemporary debates in light of the history of their discipline;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. through seminar work, demonstrate basic communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups;
  • 10. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, a basic capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose;
  • 11. through research for seminars and essays, demonstrate basic proficiency in information retrieval and analysis.

Syllabus plan


1. Unlearning Shakespeare

2. Shakespeare and Genre: the First Folio

3. The Text

4. Editing King Lear: editorial history and the role of the editor


5. Origins: Shakespeare and his Sources

6. Performance 1: early modern stage spaces

7. Performance 2: actors, parts, characters and cross-dressing

8. Shakespeare in his age: history and politics


9. Shakespeare's Afterlives: Restoration drama and staging

10: Shakespeare in present-day performance: As You Like It in two ways (Edzard and Branagh) and Peter Brook’s King Lear

11. Shakespeare Today

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities11Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities16.51.5 hours GroupSeminars
Guided independent study22study group meetings and individual study and preparation
Guided Independent Study46seminar preparation (individual)
Guided Independent Study60reading, research and essay preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Editing Shakespeare exercise30 lines edited text+ 1000 word critical commentary1-2,4,7-8,10cohort feedback with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar participation10Continuous9Oral feedback from tutor and opportunity for tutorial follow-up.
Essay901500 words1-8, 10-11Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Seminar participationRepeat Study / Mitigation9Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-8, 10-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Core Reading:

William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew  (Norton Critical Editions), ed. Dympna Callaghan, Norton, 2009.

William Shakespeare. King Lear (Norton Critical Editions), ed. Grace Ioppolo, Norton, 2008.

William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Norton Critical Editions), ed. Leah Marcus, Norton, 2011.

Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier (eds), Adaptations of Shakespeare: A Critical Anthology (2000).

(which includes John Fletcher, The Tamer Tamed; Nahum Tate, King Lear; John Lacy, Sawney the Scot)

You should buy copies of the three Shakespeare plays and Adaptations of Shakespeare.


Secondary Reading:

Laurie Maguire (ed.), How to Do Things With Shakespeare (2007)

M. J. Kidnie, Shakespeare and the Problem of Adaptation (2009)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date

February 2012

Key words search

English, Literature, Shakespeare