English Literature of the Renaissance - 1st semester


a) To gain a thorough grasp of and acquire wide-ranging, in-depth knowledge of English Renaissance literature
b) To enable students to relate the authors studied to the relevant historical and socio-cultural context.
c) To develop the ability critically to analyse the relevant texts of this period, in the fields of lyrical poetry and of drama.
d) To acquire knowledge of the diversity of theoretical and critical approaches published in the area of English Renaissance studies in general and Shakespeare studies in particular.
e) To develop competences at the level of research and autonomous papers and presentations.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Zulmira Castanheira


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





—CHENEY, P. (ed.) (2007). The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare´s Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
— DUTTON, R. & Howard, J.E. (2006). A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works: The Comedies. Malden USA/ Oxford UK /Carlton AUSTRALIA: Blackwell Publishing.
— DUTTON, R. & Howard, J.E. (2006). A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works: The Tragedies. Malden USA/ Oxford UK /Carlton AUSTRALIA: Blackwell Publishing.
— HATTAWAY, M. (ed.) (2003). A Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture. Malden USA,Oxford UK, Carlton AUSTRALIA: Blackwell Publishing.
—FOX, A. (1997). The English Renaissance. Identity & Representation in Elizabethan England, Oxford UK/Malden USA: Blackwell Publishing.
—McDONALD, R. (ed.) (2004). Shakespeare. An Anthology of Criticism and Theory 1945-2000. Malden, USA/Oxford UK/Carlton AUSTRALIA:Blackwell Publishing.
— SCHOENFELDT, M. (ed.) (2010). A Companion to Shakespeare´s Sonnets. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Teaching method

Theoretical presentation designed to provide a historical and critical context for subsequent approaches to the selected texts; practically applying the knowledge gained in joint analyses (teacher and students) of the works on the reading list; group debate on selected critical bibliography, previously read by the students. Students’ study will be guided and supported with a view to preparing them for the tests.

Evaluation method

Two presential written tests, a mid-term test and a final one (80%); class participation in debates and analysis of selected texts (20%).

Subject matter

Historical and socio-cultural contextualisation.
The literary landscape.
Theorisation and literary criticism: Sir Philip Sidney.
The cult of the love sonnet: Petrarchism and anti-Petrarchism. Reading and critical analysis of the sonnets of Sidney’s, Spenser’s and Shakespeare’s lyrical sequences.
Coordinates of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre.
Introduction to Shakespearean drama.
William Shakespeare: the canon and the problematics of genre.
The plurality of theoretical and critical approaches in the field of Shakespeare studies.
The theatrical text under analysis: issues of methodology.
Commented and critical reading of William Shakespeare’s plays.
Reading and discussion of excerpts from critical studies on the works under analysis.