Module code: ELI3051

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the huge variety of medieval and Early Modern romance from the twelfth to the early-seventeenth centuries. The texts will be read either in Middle English or in translation (languages covered will be Latin, French, Middle English, Arabic, Spanish, and Welsh). The module explores the genre with a particular interest in gender and sexuality, instances of transgression, multi-culturalism, and multilingualism. It also investigates the traditional connection of romances with female readership. The module is subdivided into three interconnected areas: stories of knightly chivalry, tales of the supernatural, and reactions to romance. As well as the primary texts, students will study examples of contemporary historical material to help them contextualise both the romances and these three thematic areas. The module will build on students’ understanding of medieval and Early Modern texts and historical contexts developed from modules in the first and second years. Additionally, the module will enable students to further engage their interests in literary history, the development of romance as a genre, and examining literature through key critical and theoretical lenses such as gender theory, queer theory, critical race theory, and ecocriticism. After taking this module, students will have a detailed understanding of the fluid and expansive nature of romance and its changing historical and social contexts. They will also have been afforded the opportunity to develop their critical thinking, research, writing, and communication skills in ways that will benefit them on their chosen career path.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

BOLTON Kirsty (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 67

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 55

Captured Content: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


Introduction to Medieval and Early Modern Romance

Chronicling Medieval Chivalry

Arthurian Romance

Arabic Romance

Supernatural Welsh Narratives

Supernatural Breton Lais

Chivalry and Chaucer

Reactions to Romance


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes in addition to the development of employability skills, digital capabilities, global and cultural capabilities, and resourcefulness and resilience.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills including independent learning, time management, and the ability to structure and communicate complex arguments in written and oral communication. It also assesses subject knowledge in the focus on genre and multilingualism and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in the close reading of literary texts.

The essay assesses subject knowledge in the genre of medieval and Early Modern romance and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and the close reading of literary texts. It also assesses professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in written communication. It also assesses transferable skills in working independently, demonstrating the ability to conduct research for written work in an organised and critical fashion, and communicating complex, rigorous arguments. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Essay (3000 words)


Formative assessment and feedback

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback and the option to submit an essay plan

Formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussion and tutor feedback in lecture-seminars.
Students receive both written feedback and verbal feedback in lecture-seminars that informs the final essay

Module aims

  • This module: deepens and expands students¿ understanding of a range of medieval and Early modern literary texts
  • will allow students to think across global and cultural thresholds, developing their understanding of the relationships between English and other languages in the pre-modern era
  • will enable students to think critically about differences and similarities between the distant past and the present day
  • will introduce a range of critical and theoretical scholarship which provide illuminating ways to engage with the study of medieval literature and deepen students¿ research and critical thinking skills
  • advances students' ability to read and understand Middle English and encourages them to engage with the texts in their original languages
  • develops and strengthens students' skills in close reading and analysis of literary texts
  • will improve students' oral and written communication
  • will enhance students¿'ability to undertake independent research as well as to work effectively as part of a group during the lecture-seminars

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Over the course of this module, students will: demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of medieval and Early Modern writing and related significant historical, social, and religious contexts KC
002 Critically compare and analyse translations of Middle English, French, Latin, Spanish, Arabic, and Welsh KC
003 Demonstrate critical thinking and detailed engagement with scholarship on medieval romance and cultural artefacts C
004 Have acquired advanced skills in close reading and analysis of literary texts CPT
005 Develop their ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and arguments in written and oral formats PT
006 Demonstrate independent research skills and organisation including using digital tools and materials for research PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to ensure that students achieve the module learning outcomes and develop competencies in employability, digital capabilities, global and cultural intelligence, and resourcefulness and resilience. It will enable students to continue on their journey as independent researchers and will support them in strengthening transferable, practical, and professional skills which will prove essential across numerous career pathways.

The delivery of the module through two-hour weekly lecture-seminars places an emphasis on student-led discussions which prioritises group work and collective discussions.  Interactive tasks will also be utilised to develop cognitive/analytical skills in analysing medieval and Early Modern literature and the relevant social, environmental, global, political, and cultural contexts, specifically those relating to the genre of romance, and to further develop skills in communication and in working individually and as part of a group. The content of the module is research-led and enables students to develop a sophisticated understanding of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of the medieval and Early Modern periods which will enhance their analytical research skills and provide in-depth knowledge relating to the development of romance as a literary genre. The module will introduce students to a range of diverse global perspectives through the study of global medieval literature and Early Modern literature encourage an appreciation for the diversity of cultural experience and the differences and similarities in texts produced in different countries.

The lecture-seminars also provide students with instruction on planning and implementing timetables for work and on presenting ideas coherently under time constraints

The learning and teaching methods include: a combination of lecture-seminar content and materials, guided learning, independent learning, as well as one-on-one essay drop-in sessions at the end of the module This will enable students to strengthen their research planning skills, time management skills, and analytical skills. It will also enable them to fortify the argument of their final essay and focus their ideas.

The virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn, will be fully utilised to capture content, guide learning, introduce additional materials, and help student to navigate their independent study.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI3051

Other information

The School of Literature and Languages is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: Over the course of the module, students’ will develop their critical thinking and analytical skills in ways which will benefit their future career goals. They will be required to engage intellectually with a range of complex theories and ideas relating to medieval and Early Modern literature as well as the resonances of such material in the modern world. By debating their ideas and responding to their chosen essay question, they will further develop their ability to construct an effective argument. Additionally, they will be supported with both verbal and written feedback to discover the most efficient ways to communicate their ideas in their writing and their seminar discussions.

Digital Capabilities: The university’s virtual learning platform, SurreyLearn, requires students to engage with digital learning material and resources. In addition to attending lecture-seminars, students on this module are actively encouraged to engage with captured content, along with other multi-media resources, such as online archives, scholarly websites, documentaries, adaptations, and podcasts. Learning how to locate, access, analyse, and use online resources and digital tools will allow students to develop their digital literacy as well as their research skills. This facet will be particularly important during the research task that students will undertake in Week One of the module where they will be required in groups to research one of the texts and find a suitable secondary source that we will analyse as part of our discussion of the text later in the module. It will enable students to navigate online databases and assess their ability to identify rigorous scholarship and research databases in ways that will benefit the work for their final assessment but also lead to collaborative and engaging discussions surrounding academic rigour and using digital resources in research.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: A key concern of the module is to expand students’ understanding of the global Middle Ages and diversity in the Early Modern period by introducing students to premodern texts from different cultures and places. The variety of texts studied on the module will enable students to consider the specific political, social, and cultural ways that we engage with literature and how this is affected by our individual experiences and background. It will also allow students to trace certain tropes across time and the globe in ways that will illuminate their global and cultural awareness. Through an examination of global and cultural historical contexts, students will learn to communicate their ideas thoughtfully with their peers, taking into consideration the diverse student community.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The lecture-seminars are scaffolded by pre-class requirements in the form of a to-do-list including the completion of set reading and pre-seminar questions to help guide individual learning. By engaging with these tasks and questions, students will further develop their individual resourcefulness. Peer and tutor feedback in seminar discussions will develop students’ confidence in communicating analytical and critical ideas. Group work will also provide opportunities for students to develop their thinking both independently and in conjunction with others.


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.