EN3221: The English Renaissance

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
Dr Walter Lim

What the module is about, briefly:
Renaissance texts and concerns, covering a selection of plays and prose. This module familiarizes one with the historical and political context of the Renaissance and allows you to read the texts in the light of that context. Themes that are covered are like: Protestantism vs Catholicism, authority, The Great Chain of Being, traditional gender roles, man’s relationship to God, sexual desire and prohibitions, etc

Texts:
William Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Andrew Marvell’s Sonnets
Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus
Ben Jonson’s Volpone
John Milton’s Poetry
John Donne’s Devotional Lyrics and Love Poetry

Workload:
Readings, well mainly the text, if you can even keep up with that. There’s secondary readings that are non-compulsory, however, there are select authors which he often refers to which would be good if you know about. My biggest tip for dealing with this module is that – there is much breadth covered, but the amount of depth which you would want to go into is really up to you, and I chose a certain topic and then researched more on it, so it is really up to you. I did so, so that I would get a chance to explore one topic I really liked and go deep into it. (Also it means you’d have less worries about listening to the rest of the topics/authors).

Format of assessment:

1 short midterm essay 15% (600-800 words)
1 Review Essay 15% (review of an article, pick 1 of 4, some can be longer than others, but pick it based on your interest, each one is a different topic, 500-600 words)
1 Final Essay 40% (includes annotated Biblio and abstract)
Forum Participation 10%
Tutorial Presentation & Class discussion 15% (1 Project Presentation (!!) tutorials will be listening to different presentation, my advice is to sign up super early and get it done/out of the way asap)

(yeah so it’s a somewhat exhausting workload, but it’s kinda spaced out nicely so no last min work)

Project/Presentation:
You’ll be presenting on a particular text, there will be guiding question(s) given at the start of the sem/first tutorial. You’d probably have to come up with a 1/2 an hour presentation, and anything you do not know, learn to direct it to the floor, deflect questions like a boss (no, seriously, if you do not know something, ask the class for answers, people should talk, and if they don’t, Dr. Lim will cover it well. 

Lecturer/Tutor
Some people say this prof has a kinda like ‘one track mind’ and other things, this is not to say it is a bad thing, neither is it altogether a good thing. (Make your own judgments). I really enjoyed the module under him and that’s probably because I got his style. Some people may not and that is fine. His lectures to me are engaging and interesting. He does give lecture notes/slides also so if you’re for any reason unable to make it, it is not too bad. He’s approachable and friendly toward any consultation requests too. 🙂

Exam difficulty:
You pick your own final essay question/there’s a list of like recommended stuff, but you’re free to think of your own topic, just clear it with him.
Article review is not very hard, neither is the presentation etc. Very manageable module.

Recommended:
Yes, it is an essential module that gives foundational understanding for other modules that may have topics that are influenced by Renaissance works.

Overall rating (/10):
8/10

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