A study of major English authors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries from More to Milton.
In this paper we will study the major influences on and the mainstays of English Renaissance literature, including Donne, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Milton. This period was one of tremendous upheavals and tremendous possibilities. The emergence of the printing press began to shape the way that writers imagined themselves and sparked the first 'information revolution'. The first purpose-built permanent theatres in London were opened. Religion and church governance were pressing national issues: England broke with the Catholic church under Henry VIII, was forcibly re-aligned under Mary Tudor and became Protestant again under Queen Elizabeth. Rulers throughout Europe consolidated their power and attempted to rein in powerful lords, but by the mid-seventeenth century the English parliament took the unprecedented (and hitherto unimaginable) step of executing their king.
In the midst of this tumult and upheaval, the writers we will study made their names, renewing old forms and forging new ones. Works studiedwill be analysed in context to show the cultural, social, political, religious and ideological currents of the time that motivated the creation of this exceptional literature.
About this paper
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- 18 200-level ENGL points
- Schedule C
- Arts and Music
- Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
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- Teaching staff
- Teaching Arrangements
This paper is taught via a combination of lectures, seminar discussions and play readings.
Five Renaissance Tragedies, ed. Colin Gibson (available free from the Department of English).
Other texts will be available online.
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
- Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research.
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- Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this paper will gain:
- The ability to analyse and appreciate English literature published before 1700
- Knowledge of the cultural and historical context of the English Renaissance
- Knowledge of early modern theatrical history
- Familiarity with primary research resources for renaisssance literary scholarship