This list relates to the year 2019/2020 which does not start until 01/09/2019
  1. Introduction


    In this module we will study some of the most important poetry and prose of the English Renaissance, including masterpieces by Christopher Marlowe, Sir Philip Sidney, and Edmund Spenser, as well as Shakespeare's early narrative poetry (not covered on the Shakespeare module).  We will be studying these writers in a unique way.  Behind this great outpouring of Elizabethan writing lay a vibrant literary culture which valued rhetoric, argument, elaborate and often playful self-presentation, and which insisted that good reading helped you to develop an individual style as a writer.  In response to your reading of Renaissance literature, you will put the tenets of this culture into practice, building up over the course of the module an assessment portfolio of short pieces of writing. When reading Sidney's groundbreaking Defence of Poetry, for instance, you will draw on his rhetorical and argumentative techniques to write your own defence of any modern genre of your choice.  Or when looking at the way Edmund Spenser plays with the form of his printed books you will have the opportunity to experiment with innovative ways of presenting your own portfolio to readers.  This module allows you to think critically in genres other than conventional academic essays, and in doing so aims to foster connections between critical and creative writing. The whole module encourages you to see the great literary monuments of the past as live and active sources of inspiration today, and to approach those works with a sense of fun and experimentation.


    This module has a dossier containing all core reading.

  2. Week 1: Argument (i) 0 items
    A small collection of poems is provided in the dossier for this week.
  3. Week 3: Rhetoric and Reading: Defending Poetry 3 items
    1. Sidney's 'The defence of Poesy' and selected Renaissance literary criticism - Philip Sidney, Gavin Alexander 2004

      Book Core Reading We will be reading 'The Defence of Poesy'

    2. The shorter poems - Edmund Spenser, Richard A. McCabe 1999

      Book Core Reading We will be reading the 'October' eclogue in The Shepheardes Calender, pp. 128-137; 559-564.

    3. Wilson's Arte of rhetorique, 1560 - Thomas Wilson, G. H. Mair, Desiderius Erasmus, G. H. Mair 1909

      Book Core Reading Selected extracts, pp. 1-10; 99-116.

  4. Week 4: Rhetoric and Reading: Figures & Flowers 2 items
    1. An anthology of Elizabethan prose fiction 2008

      Book Core Reading We will be reading John Lyly, 'Euphues', pp. 85-150.

    2. Collected works of Erasmus - Desiderius Erasmus 1974-

      Book Core Reading Selections from De Copia, 'Book 1: Abundance of Expression', in Vol. 23, pp. 295-303.

  5. Week 7: Imitation: The Minor Epic (i) 2 items
    1. The Penguin book of Renaissance verse - H. R. Woudhuysen, David Norbrook 1992

      Book Core Reading We will be reading Christopher Marlowe, 'Hero and Leander', pp. 266-290.

    2. The poems of Catullus - Gaius Valerius Catullus, Guy Lee 1990

      Book Core Reading We will be reading Catullus, '64'.

  6. Week 8: Imitation: The Minor Epic (ii) 2 items
    1. Shakespeare's poems: Venus and Adonis, The rape of Lucrece, and the shorter poems - William Shakespeare, Katherine Duncan-Jones, H. R. Woudhuysen 2007

      Book Core Reading We will be reading 'Venus and Adonis', pp. 127-229.

    2. Ovid's Metamorphoses - Arthur Golding, Ovid 2002

      Book Core Reading We will be reading Books 1, 3, and 10.

  7. Week 10: Publication and Self-Presentation 1 item
    1. The shorter poems - Edmund Spenser, Richard A. McCabe 1999

      Book Core Reading We will be reading 'The Shepheardes Calender'.

  8. Week 11: Publication and Self-Presentation (ii) 0 items
    Various prefaces given to the students in the dossier.