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Literature 2: English Literature, ca. 1550-1700


Admission requirements



This course is an introduction to one of the richest eras of English literature and to a historical period that, in many ways, marks the beginning of the modern world. Students will familiarize themselves with a broad range of plays, poetry and prose. We will study the language and form of these texts, while at the time looking at the cultural, political and historical contexts by which they were shaped, and which they helped to shape in their turn.

Course objectives

By the end of the course students will have gained a basic knowledge of early modern English literature. They are able to analyse the form and language of literary texts from this period, and can relate them to their cultural and historical context. They will also have further developed their academic writing skills.


The timetable will be available by June 1st at: hum.leidenuniv.nl/engels/roosters

Mode of instruction

One hour lecture and two-hour seminar per week.

Assessment method

1200-word essay (30%), written test (70%).


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, vol. 1 or vols. B and C.

  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest (Oxford edition, ed. Stephen Orgel).

  • William Shakespeare, Othello (Oxford edition, ed. Michael Neill).

  • Martin Gray, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (Longman).

  • Please download the reader here


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail: english@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail: english@hum.leidenuniv.nl.
Studentcounsellor Bachelor: Ms. S.H.J. Bollen, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103B.
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms. K. van der Zeeuw-Filemon, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.