Alternative Continuities: Scottish literature, c.1400-1625 ENGLIT5103

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

Students will analyse and discuss a range of Scottish literary texts (including drama) from the late-medieval into the early modern period and thus develop an understanding of the characteristic features of medieval and early modern Scottish literature in their national as well as international context. Students will study this material not only in its own right but also to investigate whether it can suggest alternative paradigms to those with which we normally define `the Renaissance' in Britain. The Scottish material thus causes issues and (dis)continuities to emerge that open up new ways of understanding texts of this period well beyond Scotland.


1x2 hour seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





The course will be assessed by


■ an essay (3500 words) on a topic devised and developed in discussion with the course tutor;


■ one short presentation (10 minutes) to the group in seminar;


■ two short (500 word) seminar evaluation reports.

Course Aims

The course aims to provide participants with the opportunity to


■ develop an advanced awareness of the major authors, themes and cultural as well as politico-religious history of Scottish literature in this period;

■ analyse the rise of new genres and themes in medieval and early modern Scottish literature;

■ apply a knowledge of the comparative dimension of European cultural history of the period to the Scottish texts;

■ discuss at an advanced level the revisionist narratives of 'Medieval' and 'Renaissance' that are considered throughout the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ discuss major general distinctions between the literature of the English and European Renaissances and that of Scotland

■ comment on the different cultural emphases that the humanist legacy in Scotland gave to its national literature

■ analyse how the Scottish Renaissance manifested itself in at least one of the three literary kinds discussed (lyric, drama, narrative fiction)

■ identify the major qualities of selected genres of contemporary Scottish literature (including drama) as seen from within its own cultural and literary contexts

■ identify and discuss the impact that this material has on definitions of the Scottish 'Renaissance'.



Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.