Undergraduate Course: Writing and Tyranny at the Court of Henry VIII (ENLI10296)
|School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
|College of Humanities and Social Science
|Available to all students
|Credit level (Normal year taken)
|SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
|Home subject area
|Other subject area
|Taught in Gaelic?
|The course will study the writings of a period when politics and literature were intimately and powerfully connected. The dramatic and bloody events of the reign of Henry VIII are, thanks to frequent television adaptations, films and works of popular history, well known to many of us. But the equally extraordinary literary works produced and performed at and around the royal court in this period are less frequently studied. This course will focus on those works: poems, plays and prose writings, ranging from erotic lyrics to savage satirical attacks on the king and his ministers, from lightly comic plays to fierce polemical dramas. All of these texts are both powerful works in their own right and also contributions to political debates about the nature of royal power, religious truth or personal and sexual morality. And many of the writers we shall encounter, from the staunchly catholic Sir Thomas More to the fiercely protestant reformer John Bale, from the satirist John Skelton to the humourist John Heywood are equally fascinating.
The emphasis will be on gaining an understanding of how these writers and their texts both responded to and contributed to the political culture of the reign of Henry VIII. Reading literary texts alongside a variety of visual images and historical documents, we will explore how poets, dramatists and prose writers used their work to explore the moral issues and social tensions exposed by Henry VIII¿s rejection of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, his break with the papacy and establishment of the Royal Supremacy, and the growth of what many perceived to be the king¿s tyrannical domination of the realm. We will explore how many of the forms and modes of writing that would form the staple repertoire of English literature in the age of Shakespeare were actually forged out of the fierce struggles to promote or resist royal power in the court of King Henry.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
| It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed
Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)
| Essential course texts
Information for Visiting Students
|Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
|By the end of the module, students will be able to,
Discuss critically the central features of literary culture at the Court of Henry Vdrama in the pre-playhouse period
Discuss the cultural background to key Henrician texts
View Henrician texts in a sophisticated and informed way, alive to both their literary and their historical significance
|One term essay (2500 words) (25%); and one take-away exam essay (3000 words)(75%).
|Numbers are limited to 15, with priority given to students taking degrees involving English or Scottish Literature and Visiting Students placed by the Admissions Office. Students not in these categories need the written approval of the Head of English Literature before enrolling. In the case of excess applications places will be decided by ballot.
|Prof Greg Walker
|Mrs Catherine Williamson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620