Literatures of the Renaissance

Home/ Literatures of the Renaissance
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1EN2334

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon Semester 2016

Course Coordinator and Team: TBD

Email of course coordinator: TBD

Pre-requisites: None


The Renaissance is an important historical era, and any study of the humanities is incomplete without the knowledge of this time. This course will enable students to understand the changes the Renaissance witnessed and also understand the repercussions of these changes in the history of humankind. Through the study of the Art and Literature of this time period, the course aims to engage the students’ with the cultural production of that time while educating and sensitizing her to the larger implication of that body of work.

Course Outcomes:

  1. The students can familiarise themselves with some representative features of the Renaissance age and the ideas that influenced the literary works
  2. They can critically engage not only with the literary but also the artistic and cultural influences that shaped the age

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1| Introduction

The course will introduce the Renaissance through Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors. Some of the key concepts and issues that will be discussed are:

Periodisation and the idea of Renaissance

Beginnings of Renaissance via art

Political history of the period

English Reformation

Module 2| Poetry

This module will study the development and growth of the dominant poetic form of the age, the Sonnet as well as other lyric forms through the works of representative poets. It will also discuss the nature of courtly and love poetry written during the Renaissance.

Sonnets by Petrarch (translated by Thomas Wyatt): “The Long Love That in My Thought Doth Harbor”; “My Galley”

Thomas Wyatt: “Farewell Love”;“Whoso list to hunt”

Philip Sidney, Any three sonnets from Astrophil and Stella (Sonnet I, XV, XXVII, XXXIV, XLI, XLV, II, V, XXXVIII, CVII)

Edmund Spenser, Selections from Amoretti (34 and 67)

Shakespeare: Sonnets 55, 130, 147

Michelangelo: “To Giorgio Vasari: On the Lives of the Painters”

John Donne, selections of any three sonnets ( Elegie: To his Mistress Going to Bed, The Flea, The Autumnal, The Sun Rising, The Canonisation, Hymn to God my God, in My Sickenesse, Batter My Heart, Three-Person’d God, Death Be Not Proud)

Andrew Marvell: “To His Coy Mistress”

Lady Mary Wroth, any three sonnets from Pamphilia to Amphilanthus nos. 1, 16, 39, 68, 103

Module 3| Drama

This module will introduce students to the rise and development of English theatre. It will discuss the dominant influences, directions and playwrights of the stage in the Elizabethan and Jacobean age. The course will include any two plays from the following list for classroom discussion.

Christopher Marlowe: Dr. Faustus

Shakespeare: The Tempest

John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi

Elizabeth Carey: Tragedy of Mariam

Module 4| Prose

This module will take up brief selections from some of the important social and political writings of the time which are reflective of the intellectual thought prevalent during the time.

Thomas More, Selections from Utopia

Machiavelli, Selections from the Prince.

Pico della Mirandola, Selections from Oration on the Dignity of Man

Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier

Primary Texts:

A reader will be provided to the students at the beginning of the course.

Recommended reading relevant to all parts:

  1. Greenblatt, Stephen. Renaissance Self-Fashioning: from More to Shakespeare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  2. Dollimore, Jonathan. Radical Tragedy: Religion, Ideology, and Power in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
  3. Spiller, Michael R. G. The Development of the Sonnet: An Introduction. London: Routledge, 1992.
  4. Lever, J W. Sonnets of the English Renaissance. London: Athlone Press, 1974.
  5. Belsey, Catherine. The Subject of Tragedy (Routledge Revivals): Identity and Difference in Renaissance Drama. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014.
  6. Loewenstein, David, and Janel Mueller. The Cambridge History of Early Modern English Literature
  7. Loomba, Ania. “Playing with Shakespeare.” Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002
  8. Keenan, Siobhan. Renaissance Literature: Edinburgh Critical Guides. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008
  9. Hattaway, Michael. Ed. A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
  10. Bruce, Susan and Rebecca Steinberger. Eds. The Renaissance Literature Handbook. London: Continuum, 2009

Assessment Details with weights:



Date/period in which Assessment

will take place




End January




End February




End March



End Semester Exam

As per AUD Academic Calendar