Shakespeare and the Modern

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module introduces students to the challenges - imaginative, conceptual and methodological - of conducting research in Shakespeare and early-modern literature. The module will explore major critical approaches to the study of Shakespeare's works and major paradigms, with each class being keyed to particular Shakespeare texts.

In addition to furnishing MA students with in-depth knowledge of selected texts, their contexts, and relevant critical achievements, this module also provides them with significant research-related skills. The module includes focused discussions of the module teacher's ongoing research projects, and familiarisation with the particular steps in a significant research project from an insider's perspective.

Module aims

This module aims to develop students' knowledge and understanding of different critical paradigms by which Shakespeare criticism has oriented itself. Student will be developing the capacity to work at advanced level with the textual bases of Shakespeare (quarto & folio) and explore, identify and evaluate contextual and contemporary approaches.

Module learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students would have developed a critical understanding of and capacity to work at advanced level with the textual bases of Shakespeare (quarto & folio); acquired a range of research skills and explored, identified and evaluated relevant contextual and contemporary approaches.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

For 2020-21, we will offer a mixture of tailored online, digital, and campus-based teaching where it may be possible and as appropriate, along with personalised one-to-one consultation with academic staff.


  • Shakespeare, William; Brooks, Harold F. (c2007, 1979) A midsummer night's dream, London: Arden Shakespeare.
  • Shakespeare, William; Halio, Jay L. (2005) The tragedy of King Lear, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Drakakis, John. (c1985) Alternative Shakespeares, London: Routledge.
  • Veeser, Harold. (1989) New Historicism, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
  • Bradshaw, Graham. (1990) Shakespeare's scepticism, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
  • Cavell, Stanley. (2012) Disowning Knowledge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shakespeare, William; Hankey, Julie. (2005) Othello, Cambridge: Cambridge Univeristy Press.
  • Shakespeare, William; Mahon, John W; Mucciolo, John M. (2018) Tempest: Hackett Publishing Company.
  • Lupton, Julia Reinhard. (2005) Citizen-saints: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Shakespeare, William. (2007) Measure for Measure. the Originals.: Hayes Barton Press.
  • Shakespeare, William; Thompson, Ann; Taylor, Neil. (2006) Hamlet, London: Arden Shakespeare.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen. (2002) Hamlet in Purgatory, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Sinfield, Alan. (1992) Faultlines: cultural materialism and the politics of dissident reading, Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Clark, Sandra. (1997) 'Nahum Tate, King Lear', in Shakespeare Made Fit, London: Orion Publishing Co., pp.291-374
  • Brownlow, F.W. (1993) Shakespeare, Harsnett and the Devils of Denham, Cranbury: Associated University Presses.
  • Barber, C. L. (1966, c1959) Shakespeare's festive comedy: a study of dramatic form and its relation to social custom, Cleveland: World Pub. Co.
  • Laroque, Fran├žois. (1993, c1991) Shakespeare's festive world: Elizabethan seasonal entertainment and the professional stage, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Worthen, William B. (c1984) The idea of the actor: drama and the ethics of performance, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • Mullaney, Steven. (1988) Place of the Stage: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Wilson, Richard. (2004) Secret Shakespeare, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Dutton, Richard; Findlay, Alison; Wilson, Richard. (2004) Theatre and Religion, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Shakespeare, William; Marshall, Cynthia. (2004) As you like it, New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ryan, Kiernan. (1996) New Historicism and Cultural Materialism, London: Hodder Arnold.
  • Diehl, Huston. (1997) Staging reform, reforming the stage: protestantism and popular theater in early modern England, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
  • Gallagher, Catherine; Greenblatt, Stephen. (2000) Practicing New Historicism: The University of Chicago Press.
  • LANSDOWNE, GEORGE GRANVILLE. (2018) Jew of venice. a comedy. as it is acted at the theatre in little-lincolns-inn-fields, by his .. majesty's servants, [Place of publication not identified]: GALE ECCO, PRINT EDITIONS.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen J. (1992) Shakespearean Negotiations, Berkerley: University of California Press.
  • Roach, Joseph. (1993) Player's Passion, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
  • Kastan, David Scott. (1999) Shakespeare After Theory, London: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen. (2012) Learning to Curse: Essays in Early Modern Culture: Routledge.
  • Stanislavski, Constantin. (2016) My Life In Art, London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
  • Shakespeare, William. (2010) Merchant of Venice.
  • Montrose, Louis. (1996) Purpose of Playing: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Dollimore, Jonathan. (c1984) Radical tragedy: religion, ideology, and power in the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Brighton, Sussex: Harvester Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay (4,000 words)     
Coursework   Online Portfolio      
Practical   Participation      

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof John Gillies, email:
Professor John Gillies
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
University of Chichester
Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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