Module code: ELIM052

Module Overview

 This module engages with Shakespeare’s writings and writing about Shakespeare in a variety of forms, ranging from the plays and poems themselves to the histories and adaptation and revision that began even in their own age and that continue across cultures and media, as well as the various creative responses that the Shakespearean canon has provoked and inspired. It pays attention both to the formal, technical and stylistic parameters of writing and rewriting and to the historical and political contexts that shape and determine these engagements, in particular the dynamics of appropriation and resistance that these play out.

This module develops undergraduate Shakespeare studies at Masters level and forms part of the Pre-1900 strand of the programme, connecting to other pre-1900 modules on the Programme. As a hybrid creative writing and English literature module, it also makes up part of the creative writing pathway in the degree, connecting to other creative writing modules across the degree.


Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 87

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 30

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content for this module will address and range of materials, including but not limited to: Writing as Shakespeare; adapting source text; composing blank verse; using inherited scenarios and stock characters and situations; Adapting Shakespeare: cutting, reshaping and rewriting, from Nahum Tate's King Lear to Msomi's UMabatha, Shakespeare into screenplay; Shakespearean adaptations and offshoots: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, A Tempest, Lear's Daughters, Maqbool Writing about Shakespeare; Shakespeare as biographical fiction: Shakespeare in Love, All is True, Emilia.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Essay (3000 words) or Creative Portfolio (2500 words plus 500 word commentary) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

* an academic Essay (3000 words) OR Creative Portfolio (2500 words plus 500 word commentary (100%)


Formative assessment

The formative assessment is intended to give students the opportunity to draft writing in a critical and reflective way that will be of benefit both for the summative assessment, as well as comparable assignments in other modules. By developing an independent small-scale research investigation in dialogue with the module tutor, students will have the opportunity both to deepen their engagement with an area of Shakespearean performance and writing, and to make an original and personal contribution to the ever-expanding Shakespearean conversation. The format of the assignment is flexible, allowing for critical, scholarly and creative work as well as hybrid versions of these. Whatever form students adopt, they are encouraged to respond as creatively to Shakespeare as does the material they have studied.

Module aims

  • To develop knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary practices of Shakespearean writing
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories of writing and rewriting Shakespeare
  • To investigate appropriate contexts (political, social, historical, cultural) to inform understanding of Shakespeare on the page, in the theatre and on screen
  • To develop awareness of and to apply appropriate methods for Shakespeare research and creative engagement

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will have: gained significant confidence and ability in critical analysis and thinking C
002 Gained the ability to analyse and appraise styles and techniques used in Shakespeare's writing and in the writings it has generated, and to apply these critical insights to their own writing practices and/or the works of other writers KC
003 Acquired the detailed knowledge necessary for writing about, like, or in response to Shakespeare, making use of the rich array of digital resources that are available in this area of scholarship, creative practice and performance K
004 Acquired the detailed skills necessary for such writing P
005 Increased the ability to apply critical awareness to their own creative writing and/or to the works of others PT
006 Developed the ability to work as a group in the production of collaborative work in the workshop context 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:

* Enhance knowledge and understanding of audiences and critical approaches to audiences
* develop analytical and evaluative skills in reading Shakespearean and other playtexts, performances and screen media
* foster an enhanced understanding of the relationships between Shakespearean writings and their contexts
* enable students to be aware of and draw on a broad range of methodologies and understandings of Shakespeare’s writing in creating their own rigorous and informed arguments
* encourage interdisciplinarity
* develop confidence in articulating ideas in both written and spoken form
* promote a collegiate and supportive learning environment as a means of fostering disciplined and scholarly debate.

The learning and teaching methods include: Indicative learning and teaching methods include: lecture/seminars, writing workshops, screenings, peer-to-peer learning, debates and independent research and reflection.

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: ELIM052

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework 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:

Digital Capabilities: students access a range of digital materials relevant to Shakespearean scholarship, adaptation and performance, which range across media from online text resources to performance platforms and archives. As well as learning to engage critically and creatively with existing materials, students are offered opportunities to intervene imaginatively in this domain, transferring their own digital literacies across subject boundaries and reshaping our collective understanding of the relations between texts, performances and media.

Employability: students learn the key components of analysing and responding creatively to the works of Shakespeare and their diverse cultural afterlife, equipping them with them the knowledge and skills for employment in a wide range of environments. Shakespeare acts as a hub discipline, in the sense that it interconnects with the concerns of the arts, the human sciences and the science, providing a platform and a conversation space for strikingly diverse interlocutors, and is a touchstone for innovative thinking, creative originality, and collective endeavor.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Shakespeare is by nature global and intercultural, and the module includes important reworkings and reinventions of the works beyond the Anglosphere (e.g. Bollywood film adaptations),  Students are encouraged to bring their own cultures and cultural experiences into the context of the classroom and to bring examples of Shakespearean writing that reflect their own backgrounds, cultures and experience.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Shakespeare’s works and their global legacy, as well as the diverse creative responses they have inspired, provide a universally-recognised – and sometime contested – resource for the consideration of the deepest and most challenging questions of what makes us human. In terms of the assessment outputs, resourcefulness is developed through understanding and creating works that are published/ publishable and this is reinforced by a chance to discuss development with two published authors.

Sustainability: as an endlessly recyclable resource, Shakespeare is a paradigm of cultural sustainability, frequently acting as a cornerstone of national culture and self-understanding that is embedded within ideas of continuity and sustainable tradition, even as it is repeatedly subjected to reinvention, revision and interrogation.  The theatre and media industries have also engaged with Shakespeare as a material resource in ways that have been both profligate and parsimonious and the module engages the more immediate question of how to create less wasteful and more environmentally responsible theatre is a key consideration in relation the contemporary stage.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Creative Writing MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
English Literature MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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.