Shakespeare's Afterlives - CPLT6560

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Patricia Novillo-Corvalan checkmark-circle


How have twentieth-century writers across the world negotiated and appropriated Shakespeare's omnipresent cultural influence? How have they revised, reinvented, and reimagined his legacy in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (North, Central, and South)? This module focuses on a selection of Shakespeare’s most influential plays (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest) in order to examine how their thematic, historical, and cultural concerns have been transplanted to a wide range of global locations including the Caribbean, Germany, Japan, a farm in the USA, and the Argentine Pampas. The module also engages with theoretical notions related to the act of appropriating Shakespeare, including the theory of intertextuality, the Benjaminian concept of the 'afterlife’ of a text, and Genette’s study of the ‘palimpsest’ as a text derived from a pre-existent text. In addition, the module will reflect on issues of race, gender, and cultural identity embedded in the adaptations of the bard in the various world contexts in which his work has been complexly modernized and redeployed.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
Essay (3,000 words) – 80%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Accurately deploy techniques of close reading and textual analysis in order to come to a systematic understanding of a range of Shakespeare's plays and their twentieth-century appropriations;
2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key aspects of recent critical approaches to Shakespeare's plays and adaptations of his plays;
3 Engage critically with and comment upon these critical approaches as well as to understand the specific cultural, historical and political contexts from which these approaches emerge;
4 Demonstrate detailed and high-level understanding of the intertextual relations between texts, and how Shakespeare's plays have been adapted to new historical and cultural circumstances across the world;
5 Evaluate the various ways in which world writers 'talked back' to Shakespeare, and how they responded to his canonical discourse with reverence and irreverence, sympathy and antipathy, and homage and parody;
6 Demonstrate an ability to assess comparatively the literary, political, historical, and cultural legacy of Shakespeare's plays in different world-wide locations;
7 Demonstrate a cogent understanding of the theory of intertextuality and broader approaches to the 'translation' of literary works as cultural acts of adaptation and appropriation, and to appreciate the complexities and limitations of these approaches.

9. The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate confident communication skills;
2 Demonstrate refined written communication skills, including the structuring of an original argument;
3 Demonstrate the ability to read closely and critically, and to apply a range of critical terms to literary texts;
4 Devise and sustain arguments and to solve problems by engaging critically with current critical approaches and methodologies;
5 Demonstrate the ability to undertake the comparative analysis of literature, and to understand both the potentialities and the pitfalls of this approach to the discipline.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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