Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Medieval and Early Modern Literary Texts ENGLANG4061

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course concentrates on medieval and early modern literary texts produced or copied between 1300 and 1550. Students will be invited to challenge the assumptions that underlie traditional period distinctions, through study of a selection of texts. Topics might include: the nature of sanctity pre- and post-reformation as evidenced by a comparison of Catholic saints' lives and Foxe's Book of Martyrs; the development of prosody from medieval alliterative poetry to Chaucer's introduction of iambic pentameter into English; and the development of the sonnet form in England in the early modern period.


1 x 2hr session per week (comprising 1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar) over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

This is one of the Honours options in English Language and English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into English Language or successful completion of English Literature Junior Honours, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Two 2500-word essays: 50% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ analyse texts from the Middle English and Early Modern periods in the original language;

■ interpret the ways in which texts from the Middle English and Early Modern periods engage with contemporary historical events and/or linguistic developments in the period;

■ consider texts from the Middle English and Early Modern periods in the light of contemporary literary criticism about them;

■ gain an understanding of representative works of a genre or theme as it develops over time;

■ trace a theme throughout a series of varied works by various authors, by a single author, or that occur in a single genre.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ translate and comment on select passages of Middle English end Early Modern literary texts;

■ analyse and locate select texts within the culture, society and the linguistic and literary milieux in which they were produced;

■ discuss the approaches and techniques available to and used by critics and commentators in the interpretation of these texts.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.