Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Shakespeare, Then and Now

Module summary

Module code: ENGL1134
Level: 5
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Jennifer Young


Pre and co requisites



• To enhance knowledge of, and the ability to critically analyse, the plays of Shakespeare
• To introduce students to the key debates and developments in Shakespeare Studies
• To explore the process and politics of appropriation in a variety of media
• To examine the role and legacy of Shakespeare in education and other spheres
• To develop analytical skills, written and oral communication skills, and IT skills

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:
1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Shakespeare’s plays, their context, meaning and legacy
2 Critically analyse as well as creatively engage with the plays and relevant historical and critical texts
3 Discuss the key debates and developments in Shakespeare Studies; in particular, theoretical approaches such as Feminism, New Historicism, spatial theory, Post-colonialism and theories of adaptation, appropriation, authorship and material text studies

4 Show understanding of Shakespeare’s (changing) role in popular culture, mass media and digital media

5 Evaluate and utilise the technologies that are transforming how we view and engage with Shakespeare

6 Demonstrate a range of transferable skills such as writing skills, acting skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, IT skills etc.

Indicative content

This course explores performances, rewritings and critical analyses of Shakespeare’s works, and the role of Shakespeare as canonical playwright and cultural icon. Providing students with an interdisciplinary approach, it introduces the key debates and developments in Shakespeare Studies and encourages students to examine the playwright’s (ever-evolving) role in our cultural landscape. The course will also prompt students to explore Shakespeare’s continued legacy in modern culture popular culture through the study of modern renditions of Shakespeare across a variety of visual and written media. Major topics include: Shakespeare’s plays in his time, Theoretical Approaches, early modern literary culture, history of the book, and Shakespeare and modern popular culture.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will be delivered by means of a weekly 1-hour lecture, a 1-hour seminar and via on-line technologies such as Moodle. A trip to a performance of Shakespeare will also be arranged.


Essay - 40%
LO - 1,2,3,6.
Pass mark - 40%
2,500 words.
Questions on a range of topics will be distributed.

Close reading - 20%
LO - 1,2,6.
Pass mark - 40%
1,500 words.
Close reading on a topic and text to be determined.

Final Project - 40%
LO - 1,2,3,4,5, 6.
Pass mark - 40%
2,500 words equivalent /15 min.
Creative project developed in consultation with instructor.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
Formative assessments are included in seminar preparation materials at least every other week. Students are welcome to submit these short writing assignments for ‘free feedback’. Such activities include:

1. A written close reading of a pre-assigned excerpt exercise of 1,000 words. Rationale: Many students have limited experience with close literary analysis of the early modern poetry that is central to understanding Shakespeare’s plays. A close reading exercise where students will be asked to analyse in as much detail as possible the poetic images and devices (meter, rhyme, wordplay, etc.) will give them a chance to practice these skills and receive feedback on their analysis and writing before they begin preparing their major essay.

2. Essay plan & pre-writing consultation session: Students will produce a provisional plan and short reading list of possible sources for feedback and discussion with tutor. Rationale: To prompt students to begin working on their essays before they leave for the Winter holiday and provide feedback on topic scope and approach that will provide students with a supported plan of work for their major essay over the winter break.

These activities will support and prepare students for the assessment of the first half of the module throughout the semester. They will form a clear progression in building writing, critical analysis and essay organisation skills that will be vital to their success for this assessment and the rest of the module.