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Courses / Modules / ENGL1094 The Invention of English Literature: Medieval to Early Modern

The Invention of English Literature: Medieval to Early Modern

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 4
Module lead
Marianne O'Doherty
Academic year

Module overview

Where did the idea of ‘English Literature’ as we know it today come from? When and how did writers first start thinking of themselves as English authors? How did the mechanisms of book production and the material forms of books shape readers’ understanding and judgements of literary texts? This module will focus on the fourteenth through to the seventeenth centuries, a period in which writers invented and wrote themselves into literary traditions, made new, bold claims for English as a literary language and for their own literary art, and crafted new poetic, dramatic and prose forms. In so doing, they profoundly shaped later generations’ understanding of what English Literature is. But creating an idea of what English Literature is also involves forming an opinion about what it is not, and the module will encourage you to consider how literary traditions are created selectively, to think about inevitable silences and exclusions, and to reflect on how ‘English Literature’ is an invention, and how it might be constructed differently.