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Study information

"What is Love? And Do I Need It?" An Introduction to Spanish Renaissance Love Poetry

Module title"What is Love? And Do I Need It?" An Introduction to Spanish Renaissance Love Poetry
Module codeMLS2158
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Jonathan Bradbury (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

That Spain’s literary Renaissance, or her ‘Golden Age’, is reckoned by many critics to begin in 1543, with the publication of the lyric poetry of Juan Boscán and Garcilaso de la Vega, is an indication of the importance and influence of love poetry in the most dynamic period of Spain’s artistic and cultural history. In this module, you will be introduced to the Spanish love lyric of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, examining its forerunners, its development, its metrical forms—most notably the sonnet—, and its different modes, such as the Petrarchist, the satirical and the divine.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • Introduce you to a significant literary tradition in the Spanish Renaissance
  • Develop specialised and detailed knowledge of important texts
  • Teach you to analyse and interpret representative poems from the key period of Spanish literary production, and to relate them to their cultural context
  • Present you with a number of different manifestations of the same genre
  • Teach you to identify the differences and commonalities between these sub-genres

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the texts covered in the module, of the origins and development of the genre to which they belong, and of the different manifestations that poems in the tradition can take

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 2. Analyse selected primary texts, relating them to significant elements in their historical, intellectual and generic context
  • 3. Mount a detailed argument in the appropriate register of English, mustering a range of textual or other evidence in its support
  • 4. Read, prioritise and utilise appropriately the secondary literature – in both English and the target language – recommended by the course tutor
  • 5. Pursue independently further avenues of primary and secondary reading, consulting if appropriate with the course tutor(s), and use these to compile a topic-specific bibliography
  • 6. Understand and use appositely a range of literary and critical terms

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organisation of material in order to produce coherently structured and expressed arguments
  • 8. Using course material provided and suggestions from the tutor(s), research, plan and write an essay on a chosen aspect of the subject, to a specified length and deadline
  • 9. Demonstrate general competence in word-processing and in the use of the Internet

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The antecedents and development of Spanish Renaissance love poetry
  • The early love poets of the Spanish Renaissance (e.g, Boscán, Garcilaso, Herrera, Aldana, Francisco de Figueroa)
  • The later love poets of the Spanish Renaissance (e.g., Lope, Góngora, Quevedo, Jáuregui)
  • Other manifestations of “love” in Spanish Renaissance poetry

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching10Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching5Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1Conclusion
Guided independent study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Literary commentary500 words1-9Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1-9Written and oral

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The specific poems to be studied will be uploaded to ELE in advance by the course convenor. The student will not be required to purchase any primary texts.

The following critical texts – all borrowable from the University libraries – provide some background to the period:

  • R.O. Jones, The Golden Age: Prose and Poetry (London: Benn, 1971)
  • P.J. Smith, Writing in the Margin: Spanish Literature of the Golden Age (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988)
  • Terry, Seventeenth-Century Spanish Poetry: The Power of Artifice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)
  • Jeremy Robbins, The Challenges of Uncertainty: An Introduction to Seventeenth Century Spanish Literature (London: Duckworth, 1998)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Renaissance, Golden Age, poetry, love, sonnet, Garcilaso, Góngora, Quevedo

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

MLS1001 or MLS1056

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date