United Kingdom, Brighton

Love, Sex and Death: English Renaissance Tragedy

when 18 July 2016 - 11 August 2016
duration 4 weeks
credits 7.5 ECTS
fee GBP 1520

The Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in English history were periods of enormous religious and social upheaval. Written against this background of social unrest, the ‘Renaissance Tragedies’ are some of the most astonishing and memorable dramatic works ever written. In their seemingly persistent overturning and perversion of all social niceties, in their insistence upon violence, cruelty, blood-letting and illicit sexual activity, they can still shock us today. You will study eight of the best-known and most enduringly popular of these tragedies, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, Middleton’s Women Beware Women, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devil, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, Tourneur’s The Revenger’s Tragedy and Ford’s ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore. We will be examining these plays from a range of critical viewpoints, including psychological literary critical theory, feminist and gender theory, ideology and religion, and politics and the relations of power, asking how the plays may reflect contemporary early-modern anxieties and preoccupations. There will be a field trip to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, which is a reconstruction of the original 1599 Globe Theatre, and which will allow you to experience what it meant to be a playgoer in Jacobean London.

Field trip fee: £65

Course leader

Catherine Parsons

Target group

The University of Sussex International Summer School welcomes applicants from a wide range of educational backgrounds. Although most of you will be currently enrolled at a university or college, we also welcome applicants who have been away from education for some years, as well as highly committed senior high school students - for some courses a good general education, an open mind and lots of enthusiasm are the main qualifications. For some other courses you will see that prerequisites are listed - applicants for these courses are expected to submit transcripts to demonstrate that they have taken, or are currently taking, the necessary precursors.

Course aim

The International Summer School provides an opportunity to meet and study with people from different countries and cultures, on a cosmopolitan campus. The large range of courses on offer allows you to get ahead with credit in core courses, or simply to experiment with something new.

Credits info

7.5 ECTS
Summer School courses carry 15 credits and last for four weeks. Since the standard annual load for a Sussex student is 120 credits, this means that each course is equivalent to four semester hours or seven and a half ECTS credits. Students can take only one course per session, as the courses are intensive. You can expect to spend 30 to 45 hours each week on your course between attending classes, labs and workshops, as well as time spent outside class preparing the readings and assignments. You can find information about the courses offered by the International Summer School through our course directory or courses by subject pages of our website.

Fee info

GBP 1520: Tuition only (one four week session).
GBP 2820: Tuition only (BOTH four week ISS sessions).


The University of Sussex offers a limited number of scholarships for participation in the ISS in the form of partial fee waivers to students from developing countries who have high potential for future leadership in their field of study or career.