LIT234 : Renaissance Literature

Convenor(s): Dr Marcus Nevitt


Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course Convenor.

General Information

The early modern period (or ‘The Renaissance’) is one of the most exciting in English literary history. Wide-reaching cultural changes – to education, religion, identity – are reflected in new genres and styles of writing; and it is the era which gave us some of best-known and best-loved authors, including John Donne, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare. This module explores poetry, prose, and drama written c. 1530-1640, bringing canonical and non-canonical writers into dialogue with each other, and relating the texts we study to their cultural, social, and political contexts.


The Renaissance Literature module is taught through a combination of two fifty-minute lectures and one fifty-minute seminar per week. You can also visit your tutor in their weekly office hour for further discussion. Lectures form an important part of this module. They are designed to start you thinking about the critical and cultural contexts which will facilitate your reading and enjoyment of early modern texts. However, they are not intended as definitive ‘last words’ on particular topics which you then have to parrot in assessment. They are there to prompt your own ideas and to enable you to contextualise the texts you study in new and exciting ways. You should also aim to make the most of your seminars: they are an excellent opportunity to refine and share your ideas with other students and your tutor. Lectures, seminars, and – crucially – the reading and research you do outside the classroom will prepare you for the assessments.


The module has three assessments. The first is a 2,000-word research essay (worth 60%), submitted approximately two-thirds of the way through the semester. The second is a close-reading exercise (worth 30%) sat under exam conditions at the end of the module during the University’s examination period. The third assessment (10%) is a Seminar Participation Mark, which reflects your engagement with the module (e.g. through participation in research tasks outside the classroom, and your preparation for – and participation in – seminar discussions).

Contact Details

0114 2228487

Information last changed: Friday 09th of February 2018 :: 01:52:40 PM (GMT)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK