English - Elective 3, topic 3: The English Renaissance

Course content

This course is focused on the literature of the Renaissance period in England, from 1500 till 1660. It is organized in terms of the distinct phases of the Renaissance and the genres that characterize this special period of English literature.

It begins in the Elizabethan Age, with the drama of that period: the plays of Shakespeare (a comedy and a history) and Christopher Marlowe (Doctor Faustus). We also study epic poetry, considering selections from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen.

Proceeding to the Jacobean Age, the course turns to Shakespearean tragedy and romance as well as works by other playwrights: The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, The Revenger’s Tragedy by Thomas Middleton and Volpone by Ben Jonson. We will also look at the works of poets of the period, such as John Donne and Lady Mary Wroth.

The course concludes with the Caroline Age and Commonwealth Period. Here we focus on the early writings of John Milton and his political pamphlets, Hobbes’ Leviathan and the poetry of George Herbert and Andrew Marvell, amongst others.




  • Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, King Lear, and The Tempest.
  • Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.
  • A selections passages from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen.
  • John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.
  • Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy.
  • Ben Jonson’s Volpone.
  • A selection of poetry from the Jacobean Age, including works by John Donne and Lady Mary Wroth.
  • John Milton’s early writings and his political pamphlets.
  • Excerpts from Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan.
  • A selection of poetry from the Caroline and Commonwealth Period, including works by George Herbert and Andrew Marvell
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • English
  • 204,75