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ENH3110 - Renaissance Literature: Power and Love

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Peter Groves


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


A study of the literature of the English renaissance (roughly 1560-1660) through an examination of works illustrating a variety of treatments of power and love in political, social and religious contexts. The first half of the unit concentrates on works by Marlowe, Donne and Milton; the second half considers these and some related works in a series of specific studies of

  1. literature of the politics and ethics of power, and
  2. literature of love - sexual and sacred. There will be some emphasis on the representations of gender in the prescribed texts and its relation to the socio-political status of women in the period.


On successfully completing this course students will be expected to have developed:

  1. A knowledge of the outlook - philosophical, religious, political and social - of the Renaissance and of the changes in it which characterize its sensibilities and inform its literature.
  2. An understanding of the ways in which a variety of poetic and dramatic texts explore the concepts of power (political, social and sexual) and of love (divine, courtly, neo-Platonic and sexual) in the Renaissance period.
  3. The ability to respond imaginatively and critically to texts of a period of English literature whose traditions and conventions are very different from those of the present yet which have a significant influence on it.
  4. An understanding of the differing attitudes to women in the Renaissance as they are expressed in its literature.
  5. The ability to apply different critical approaches to Renaissance texts and to the preoccupations and themes which they embody.
  6. The ability to argue, interpret and analyse coherently both in written work and orally in seminar discussion.
  7. The capacity to meet the general learning objectives of the department.


Critical Exercise (1000 words): 25%
Essay (3000 words): 55%
Class paper (equivalent 450 words): 10%
Participation: 10%
An optional examination may replace the long essay
Third-year students will be expected to show a greater awareness both of the cultural background and of present-day theoretical approaches to the literature.

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial) per week


A second-year sequence in English.