Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module ENGL53530: Renaissance Tragedy

Department: English Studies

ENGL53530: Renaissance Tragedy

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • to introduce students to tragedies / tragicomedies by a wide range of English Renaissance writers;
  • to consider the theatrical and critical history of these texts;
  • to place English Renaissance tragedy / tragicomedy in synchronic and diachronic literary contexts, and examine its relationship to other kinds of literature;
  • to explore the interface between drama and contemporary social / political / religious / historical issues;


  • the studied writers typically include Shakespeare, Marlowe, Kyd, Webster, Middleton, Ford, Tourneur, Heywood, Cary; the individual enthusiams of students will be consulted;

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • to gain/build upon knowlegde of English Renaissance tragic / tragicomic drama, expecially its major writers;
  • to contextualise this, where appropriate, through an awareness of tragedy and tragicomedy written at other periods and in other countries (e.g. classical Greece and Rome, Renaissance Europe);
  • to develop an awareness of dramatic genres, and of how drama relates to other kinds of literature;
  • to gain some knowledge of stagecraft (contempoary and other), where relevant to specifics topics pursued;
  • to read and utilise relevant scholarly source-material and literary criticism;
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:

      Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

      • Through a variety of teaching activities and approaches, seminars will facilitate the development of communication and critical skills. Sessions will introduce broad topics and genres, contexts and frameworks to aid conceptual understanding and specific texts for analysis as well as encourage individual interpretation and enquiry. Formative written work and consultation with the module tutor will operate as learning tools, allowing the investigation and testing of ideas and readings. Two summative assignments will assess the competencies and outcomes outlined above and foster advanced independent study.
      • Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

      Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

      Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
      Seminars 9 Fortnightly 2 hours 18
      Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
      Preparation and Reading 272
      Total 300

      Summative Assessment

      Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
      Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
      Essay 3000 words 50%
      Essay 3000 words 50%

      Formative Assessment:

      One essay (2,000 words maximum).

      Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University