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Renaissance and Restoration EN2030

This course offers an overview of English literature and literary culture in the period from the reign of Henry VIII (the lyric poets, Thomas Wyatt, and the Earl of Surrey) to the satirists and dramatists of the Restoration. 

Among the topics you may study are: women and writing in the early modern period; Jacobean drama; the origins of Elizabethan tragedy; literature of the commonwealth; Restoration comedy; surveys of the period, and other more specialist topics.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should now:

  • Have a detailed knowledge of a range of Renaissance and Restoration texts.
  • Possess the knowledge and skills to identify the key formal and thematic features of literature of the period.
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of how this period and its genres are related to relevant cultural and historical contexts.
  • Be able to analyse and explain how rhetorical language contributes towards meaning in selected period texts.
  • Be able to employ appropriate interpretative models and critical terms to read different texts studied on the course.

Essential reading

  • Wyatt
  • Surrey
  • Castiglione
  • Machiavelli
  • Sidney
  • Spenser
  • Raleigh
  • Kyd
  • Marlowe
  • Shakespeare
  • Jacobean tragedy
  • Jonson
  • the Metaphysical poets
  • Milton
  • Dryden
  • Rochester
  • Restoration Comedy
  • Bunyan
  • Locke
  • Hobbes
  • Aphra Behn
  • Lady Mary Wroth