EL6007 - Sin, Sex, and Violence: Marlowe in Context

What will I learn on this module?

This module will enhance your awareness and appreciation of one of the most controversial and stimulating authors of the early modern period (and beyond!), Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). Marlowe wrote plays and poems that expose our darkest hearts, showing characters lusting for power, and each other. Building on your brief contact with Marlowe at Level 5, this module will offer a chronological survey of his short but staggering career, situating each of his works in relation to the tumultuous contexts of their production and reception, including later appropriations. This will involve looking at Marlowe in relation to discussions of early modern politics, religious conflict, sexuality, urbanisation, imperialism, science and magic, ethnicity, geography, and historiography. The module therefore offers a unique opportunity to see how one writer’s remarkable career developed.

How will I learn on this module?

1 x weekly 1.5-hour lecture and workshop
1 x weekly 1.5-hour seminar

This module will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars. Each week, a 1.5-hour lecture will establish the critical and contextual framework for the text or texts under discussion, a framework which will be both reinforced and problematised in a 1.5-hour seminar. The seminar will provide you with the opportunity to explore the texts discursively through small-group exercises, presentations, and debate.

In addition to learning during contact hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to discussion. Informal presentations will be used as well as group work to facilitate student engagement.

Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Lectures, seminars and tasks for these will develop your academic skills as you engage with primary, secondary, theoretical and contextual materials to allow you to attain the module learning outcomes, and, more importantly perhaps, to enjoy reading and thinking about tragic drama in context. The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture PowerPoint slides are made available on the e-learning portal. The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as in office hours and on email/phone, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel on the module. Feedback in seminars and on formative work will serve as ‘feed forward’, giving guidance on how to improve. You also have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout your programme. The academic side of their role includes:
• monitoring your ongoing academic progress
• helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development
• directing you to further available services which can help them with their academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus)
You will see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress. The Guidance Booklet, which you receive at the start of your first year, includes structured materials designed to help you develop your self-reflection skills. These materials help you to learn how to best use the feedback you receive on your assignments, how to build on your strengths, and improve in the areas where you could perform better.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1 an enhanced understanding of issues raised by early modern texts and contexts;

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1 augmented intellectual skills in employing theoretical and critical material in relation to literature;
2 developed abilities in close and interdisciplinary textual analysis;

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1 an improved awareness of early modern debates around class, race, gender, religion, nationality and sexuality and early modern drama’s intervention in those debates;
2 enhanced skills conforming to relevant standards of good academic conduct in the expression of an informed argument in written forms through completing the various activities prescribed.

How will I be assessed?

Formative (practice) assessment
1. 300-word plan for the Critical Introduction.
This formative assessment will aim to ensure you organise your ideas and material for the assessed Critical Introduction, by selecting relevant primary and secondary resources to help you answer the question they have chosen. Feedback on this plan will be reinforced by one-to-one meetings during the semester. The rationale for this is to enable you to road-test ideas before committing yourself to an argument or position. This assessment addresses KU1 and PVA 2.

Summative (graded) Assessments
1. 1500-word Critical Introduction + 200-word reflective commentary (40%)
For this task you will select a text by Marlowe studied on the module and produce a concise, critically informed, and engaging critical introduction to it, as if for a student edition. This exercise will require you to apprehend a single text in detail, while also prioritising the contexts, scholarship, and performance histories they think are important for understanding that text. As such, this assessment tests key skills in identifying and assimilating research, and expressing a provocative and personal view in a form of prose different to a standard essay. The reflective commentary (200 words) will allow you to briefly explicate why you made some of the choices you made in terms of how you designed your ‘critical introduction’, chose its format, or targeted its audience.

Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script, and before the submission date for the second summative piece, allowing ‘feed forward’. This assessment addresses KU 1, IPSA 1 and 2, and PVA 1 and 2.

2. 2000-word Essay (60%)
For this task you will have to write an essay in response to a set of questions, using texts you did not use in the Critical Introduction. The aim here is to ensure you get to grips with the range of Marlowe’s work, and diverse contexts, theoretical positions and concepts, while expressing you arguments in a format with which you should now be familiar. This assessment tests your skills in written expression, research, close textual analysis, and contextualisation.
Feedback will be provided using the Departmental template and comments on the script. This assessment addresses KU 1, IPSA 1 and 2, and PVA 1 and 2.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code T710

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023 or September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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