BA Art History and English Literature

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities

Unit code ENGL31211
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Shakespeare lived in an age that witnessed rapidly expanding overseas trade, an influx of immigrants into London, the widespread importation, translation, and imitation of contemporary European and ancient Greek and Roman books, overseas exploration and encounters with other civilizations and races, increasingly troubled relations between the four ‘British’ nations (England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland), religious wars with the Continent and the threat of foreign invasion. This course will explore early modern England’s lively and diverse transnational culture in relation to a wide range of Shakespeare’s plays, from histories to tragedies, and from problem plays to Roman plays. We will look at the presentation of foreign languages and characters on the stage, Shakespeare’s appropriation of foreign-language texts (both ancient and modern), and the plays’ use of foreign settings. We will also read the plays alongside a variety of foreign-language texts in translation, from language manuals to travel accounts, from Italian tales to Roman histories, and from treatises on European politics to essays on the New World. In so doing, the course invites you to examine the tension between England’s new self-assertiveness as a nation and an empire and the interrelations and interdependencies which existed between England and a range of foreign cultures in the early modern period. Exploring a variety of national, racial, religious, political, class, and gender identities within the plays, the course will encourage students to interrogate such concepts as ‘nation’, ‘language’, and ‘English literature’ in relation to England’s most iconic writer, William Shakespeare.

Aims

See outcomes.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • To think critically and in a theoretically informed way about issues of nationality, empire and the transnational in a range of Shakespeare’s works
  • To engage with the different forms and genres of Shakespearean drama
  • To discuss knowledgeably and critically the diverse ways in which foreign languages and characters are represented in Shakespeare
  • To present rigorous and persuasive arguments about the nature and effect of translation in its various guises
  • To understand the relationship between England and various foreign cultures in the early modern period
  • To interrogate such concepts as nation, language and English literature in relation to Shakespeare

 

Syllabus

Please see recommended reading.

Teaching and learning methods

1 x one-hour lecture per week

1 x two-hour seminar per week

Office hours for further individual and small group discussion

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Conduct extended close readings with careful attention to textual detail

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Analyse literary and other texts, and to construct and elaborate complex arguments through textual evidence, both in writing and in seminar discussions
  • Use relevant library resources, databases and search engines, to locate material for discussion and for assessment purposes
  • Demonstrate enhanced skills of written and verbal communication, analysis, and argument.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Analyse literary and other texts, and to construct and elaborate complex arguments through textual evidence, both in writing and in seminar discussions
  • Use relevant library resources, databases and search engines, to locate material for discussion and for assessment purposes
  • Demonstrate enhanced skills of written and verbal communication, analysis, and argument.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Construct a coherent, written argument
  • Debate complex ideas in a group setting
  • Manage multiple deadlines and negotiate group work
  • The ability to research independently

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate arguments and texts. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with an advanced capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
Group/team working
Students taking this unit will be able to work courteously and constructively as part of a larger group.
Innovation/creativity
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
Leadership
Students on this unit must take responsibility for their learning and are encouraged not only to participate in group discussions but to do so actively and even to lead those discussions.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Oral communication
Students taking this unit will be able to show fluency, clarity and persuasiveness in spoken communication.
Research
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Comparative essay on a transnational early modern English text and a Shakespeare play (2,500 words) (40%); Essay (3,500 words) (60%)

Feedback methods

  • Formative written feedback and tutorial discussion of essay plans
  • Oral feedback on seminar presentations
  • Formative written feedback on essays
  • Optional tutorials to discuss seminar performance and written work

Recommended reading

Readings for 2019-20 will include:

Henry IV, Part I

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Love’s Labour’s Lost

All’s Well That Ends Well

The Merchant of Venice

Othello

Cymbeline

The Tempest

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Douglas Clark Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Timetable for 2019/20:

Lecture: Tue 1pm - 2pm

Seminar 1: Wed 10am - 12pm

Seminar 2: Thu 10am - 12pm

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