Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama - EN694

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
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5 30 (15) DR R Loughnane
Canterbury Spring
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5 30 (15) DR R Loughnane




Not available as wild



The drama of early modern England broke new literary and dramatic ground. This module will focus on key plays across the period. It will explore the development of dramatic writing, the status of playing companies within the London theatres, drama's links to court entertainment and its relationship to the provinces. Dramatic and literary form will be a central preoccupation alongside issues of characterisation, culture, politics, and gender. Shakespeare's work will be put into context in relation to the plays of his contemporary dramatists as well as the various cultural, historical and material circumstances that influenced the composition, performance and publication of drama in early modern England.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

The module will be taught by ten weekly two-hour seminars and ten one-hour 'lecture' slots, as well as trips to Shakespeare's Globe in London and Canterbury Cathedral Library.

Method of assessment

50% coursework: seminar performance (20%), 2,500 word close reading (40%), 2,500 word essay (40%);
50% examination - 3-hour paper

Indicative reading

Primary Sources:
English Renaissance Drama: a Norton Anthology, eds. Bevington, Engle, Maus, Rasmussen (2002)
The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Crtical Edition, gen. eds., Taylor, Jowett, Bourus, Egan (2016)

Secondary sources:
Braunmuller, A.R. and Hattaway, Michael (eds), The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Drama (sec. ed. 2002)
Briggs, Julia This Stage-play World: Texts and Contexts, 1580-1625 (sec. ed. 1997)
Greenblatt, Stephen Renaissance Self-fashioning, (1980)
Gurr, Andrew Playgoing in Shakespeare's London (third ed. 2004)
Kinney ed., Companion to Renaissance Drama (2002)
Sullivan, Garret, Cheney, Patrick and Hadfield, Andrew (eds), Early Modern English Drama: A Critical Companion (2006)
Wiggins, Martin Shakespeare and the Drama of his Time (2000)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following subject specific learning outcomes:

i. read and analyse critically the works of Shakespeare and his contemporary dramatists
ii. read and understand the set texts in relation to their relevant literary, theatrical, political, cultural and social contexts
iii. develop a critical understanding of the development of drama in the early modern period
iv. Become conversant with current critical approaches to and debates about the drama and evaluate their appropriateness to their chosen topics

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate the following generic learning outcomes:

i. develop their abilities to analyse theatrical texts critically and make comparisons across a range of reading
ii. develop their command of written and spoken English and their abilities to articulate coherent critical arguments
iii. understand and interrogate various critical approaches and the theoretical assumptions that underpin these approaches
iv. develop their abilities to carry out independent research
v. develop their presentational skills

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