BA English Literature and American Studies

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code ENGL20372
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course introduces students to the writing of Shakespeare, including some poetry as wellas drama. It takes a thematic approach and is structured into three segments, in order toexplore the interconnections between texts as well as between the texts and the widerculture. The issues discussed are at the forefront of current Shakespeare scholarship,enabling students to engage with the latest ideas and debates in the field. The coursewilltherefore discuss individual Shakespearean texts in detail, as well as engaging with widertheoretical and critical discussions in Renaissance studies.


  • To introduce students to a range of Shakespeare’s plays and to examples of his poetry
  • To familiarize students with some current debates and themes in Shakespeare scholarship
  • To equip students to discuss texts written by Shakespeare in detail, within the context of critical debates and in relation to early modern culture
  • To develop skills in written expression and the presentation of a coherent argument at a level appropriate to second-year degree work

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the successful student will have demonstrated:

  • A knowledge and understanding of a series of representative dramatic texts from the beginning to the end of Shakespeare's career.
  • An understanding of the idea of genre and its importance in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.
  • An ability to engage critically with the prescribed texts and with the relationships between text and performance and genre and theme, especially but not exclusively the specified 'key themes'.
  • The ability to read texts closely and to understand their place in their historical context.
  • The ability to work independently, to develop research skills, to use evidence, and to structure an argument.

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.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by texts and other media.
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.
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

Essay 1 40%
Essay 2 60%


Feedback methods


Face-to-face (upon arrangement)

Recommended reading

The Rape of Lucrece
Titus Andronicus 
Julius Caesar
Measure for Measure 
Richard II 
Richard III 
Antony and Cleopatra 
The Winter’s Tale 

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Fred Schurink Unit coordinator

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