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Unit information: Period Unit 1 - 1150-1550 in 2020/21

Unit name Period Unit 1 - 1150-1550
Unit code ENGL20117
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Gournet
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts



This unit will introduce you to medieval and early modern literature. It will explore the diversity of literature written between 1150 and 1550 and identify its distinctive qualities. Students will learn to read and translate Middle English; will read texts written in the other languages of medieval Britain in translation; and will study texts by both male and female writers. Students will be encouraged to study parallel developments in society and in late medieval and early modern thought and to consider changing methods of literary production and consumption.


This unit aims to introduce students to a range of literature in the period running from 1150 to 1550. Students will be introduced to a range of literary developments in this period, and to relevant contexts that impact on particular texts and on literary production and reception. The unit aims to facilitate students' ongoing appreciation of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical understanding of the non-dramatic literature of the period and its contexts.
  2. Analyse and translate Middle English.
  3. Apply an understanding of historical, cultural and intellectual contexts to readings of medieval texts.
  4. Demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation appropriate to level I/5.

Teaching details

The unit will delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions over a period of 10 weeks, each of which will utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, small group discussion supported by practical activities and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

1 x 2000-word essay (50%) [ILOs 1-4]

1 x timed coursework with particular focus on critical commentary (50%) [ILOs 1-3]

Reading and References

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle 'Ages, 10th edition. Edited by Stephen Greenblatt.

The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Contemporary Dramatists ed. Ton Honselaars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.