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Level 6

6AACTL79 Shakespeare at School: the Classical Tradition in Early Modern England

Credit value: 15
Module convenor 2018/19: Dr Victoria Moul
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminar/lecture (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 2-hour exam (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Assessment Pattern for Graduate Diploma & Sem 1 Study Abroad Students only

Assessment: 2 x 2000-word essays (100%, essays worth 50%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand, there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This one semester level 6 module offers a different approach to the study of the classical tradition or classical reception. Rather than tracing the afterlife of a particular work or author (such as Ovid or the Aeneid) – which tends to be conditioned by the texts we now consider most important or interesting, rather than the patterns of cultural engagement at the time – this module offers a concentrated exploration of the range of Latin and Greek texts that were considered foundational at a particularly important and influential moment in English literary history: the latter part of the sixteenth century, the period in which Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson were educated.

Drawing on existing records, the module will read each week an extract from one of the works typically read in the sixteenth-century grammar school, and will also offer an introduction to the way in which they were read: the kinds of explanatory glosses, commentaries and introductory material with which they were typically accompanied. In each case, students will be asked to make connections between that week’s reading and either a specific English text of the period (such as Troilus and Cressida) or a characteristic form (such as the sonnet).

All texts will be available in translation, and no knowledge of Latin or Greek is required for this course. The course may be of particular interest to students of early modern history and English literature as well as to students in classics with an interest in the reception of this period.

This is a strongly research-led module arising directly from Dr Moul's research in the field and drawing upon research which as not yet been published as well as published work. There will be multiple opportunities to engage directly with primary sources such as early modern textbooks and images of unpublished manuscripts. The module may therefore be of particular interest to students in any department who are interested in the relationship between the 'nitty gritty' of archival research and the "big" questions in the field - in this case, the origins of literary creativity in early modern England.

Texts for study may include: Colloquies of Erasmus and Corderius [dialogues for use in school]; Cato’s Distichs and Martial’s Epigrams; Ovid’s verse epistles (selection from Heroides and Tristia); Ilias latina; Latin Aesop; Mantuan’s Eclogues; Mancini, De Quattuor Virtutibus; Palingenius, Zodiacus Vitae; Buchanan, Psalm paraphrases.  

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