Teaching Renaissance Literature: Beyond the Canon

Chair: Kevin Killeen (University of York)


Claire Canavan, University of York

Andrew Hadfield, University of Sussex

Jennifer Richards,Newcastle University

Cathy Shrank, University of Sheffield

This roundtable will consider why it is important for universities to teach Renaissance literature beyond Shakespeare. What might we teach and what value will it bring to students? How do we balance the need, or desire, to cover the Renaissance big-hitters (Spenser, Sidney, Jonson, Donne, etc) with more marginal and less canonical works? And what is the value of extending or challenging the canon? What place should we make for women’s writing? Is it a problem that we teach far more poetry and drama than prose? To what extent should we consider English in terms of European and global developments? How can we make students excited about such literature given the lack of focus of anything beyond Shakespeare in the school curriculum, and the desire to diversify the nature of the curriculum, staff and students in English Departments?

Thursday 6th July, 3.30