Alternative Renaissances SCOTLIT4024

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course studies the characteristic features of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Scottish literature in their national as well as international context. By foregrounding non-canonical genres and texts, the course investigates whether we can develop alternative paradigms to those with which we traditionally define 'the Renaissance' in Britain.


1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus..


This is one of the Honours courses in Scottish Literature and may not run every year. The options being offered this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Scottish Literature, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University 's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

Alternative Renaissances (SCOTLIT4005)




Critical assignment (1,500 words) - 20%

Two (2,500 word) Essays - 40% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide 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 seventeenth-century 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 '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)


■ illustrate the way in which lyric and narrative poetry as well as dramatic practice in Scotland manifest themselves as similar but different from their English and European counterparts

■ identify the major qualities of selected genres of contemporary Scottish literature 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.