LIT104 : Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama

Convenor(s): Dr Marcus Nevitt


Please note: This module may or may not run in any given semester. Please check with the tutor.

General Information

This module aims to survey the drama of the early modern period in England, i.e., that written between the middle of the sixteenth and the middle of the seventeenth centuries. Whilst Shakespeare will be the dominant author on the module, we will also analyse texts by contemporary poet-dramatists such as Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Webster,  Thomas Middleton, William Rowley in order to gain a sense of the proliferation of dramatic styles and genres during the period. We will also pay particular attention to the conditions of performance, the modes of publication, the institutional mechanisms and the language which helped make this one of the richest periods of English literary history. This will involve us relating the texts we study to critical methods that have, in recent years, helped us understand the relationships between drama and the culture, politics and religion of the period


Like the IALS module, this course is taught through a combination of two weekly lectures and one weekly seminar. You can also visit your tutor in their weekly office hours to discuss issues further. Lectures in particular form an important part of the course. They are intended to start you thinking about the critical and cultural contexts necessary to facilitate your reading and enjoyment of early modern drama. Crucially, however, they are not intended as definitive ‘last words’ on particular topics which you then have to parrot in class and assessment. They are there to prompt your own ideas and enable you to contextualise your innovative close readings in new and exciting ways. Seminars occur in the department once a week and last for 50 minutes. You should always make the most of your seminars; they are an excellent opportunity to refine and share your ideas with other students and your tutor.


There are two assessments on this module and one compulsory bibliography exercise.. These are broken down as follows:

1 x 2000-word essay on topics set by your seminar tutor

1 x 3-hour closed-book examination .

In the early weeks of the course you will need to complete an unassessed bibliography exercise in which you present a bibliography of primary and secondary material in accordance with MHRA conventions. 

Contact Details

Dr Marcus Nevitt, 0114 2228487

Information last changed: Monday 10th of August 2015 :: 12:40:06 PM (BST)


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK