The Renaissance Body (820V4A)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

In early-modern England the body was a major intellectual preoccupation and a focal metaphor informing and shaping cultural structures and artefacts. This period, too, like the cusp of the 21st century, had a very distinctive conception of the person as a construct or artifice, as the product of social intervention and cultural organization. Engaging with interpretative models from the fascinating interdisciplinary field of cultural theory of the body, you will explore the aesthetics of embodiment through a range of literary and visual texts, unravelling the dense significance of the corporeal imagination of the Renaissance. Key themes include: body borders, the supernatural and society; gendered voices, sex and agency; the medical imagination; diabolic inversions (the witch's body); heroic and monstrous masculinities; transvestitism; mystical monarchy; diseased bodies; revolutionary corporealities; body, soul and mind; consuming bodies and eating communities; the fabricated body; and pornography.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 278 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2020/21. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: