ENG32300 Making Shakespeare

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module studies four plays by Shakespeare, as well as a series of contemporary responses to them - from novels and films to hashtags - to investigate the question of what it means to read a Shakespeare play today; to understand the conditions within which Shakespeare wrote his plays, but also to take account of the extraordinary reception of his body of work across the centuries.

In 2022-23 we focus on 'difficult' plays and historical as well as contemporary issues of racism and sexism that confront us in reading these plays. Our plays for 2022-23 are Hamlet, The Winter's Tale, The Merchant of Venice and Othello; we will also read Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet (2020) and Jeanette Winterson's 2012 novel, The Gap of Time, as well as other texts of various kinds.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this module students will be able to:
• Demonstrate a strong knowledge of Shakespeare's drama in relation to its historical context
• Understand the complexity of Shakespeare's cultural and literary legacy
• Identify and explore useful approaches to the difficult social issues embedded in Shakespeare's work
• Critically evaluate the appropriations of and responses to Shakespeare's work

Indicative Module Content:

The indicative primary texts for 2020-21 are as follows:
1. Shakespeare, Hamlet
2. Shakespeare, Othello
3. Maggie O'Farrell, Hamnet
3. Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
4. Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale
7. Jeanette Winterson, The Gap in Time
8. Michael Radnor (dir.), The Merchant of Venice [film]

Key topics that will be addressed include:

Shakespeare's Cultural Legacy
Shakespeare and the Canon
Shakespeare's and Contemporary Politics
Shakespeare and the Early Modern Text
Shakespeare and History
The Future of Shakespeare Studies

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Groupwork and peer learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Final essay worth 70% of the overall marks for the module. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: One in-semester exercise of 1000 words (e.g., play/book/film reviews), worth 30% Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

1) Group feedback on continuous assessment during the trimester. 2) Peer-led review preparation for the essay.

Name Role
Professor Danielle Clarke Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Naomi McAreavey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer