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Undergraduate | MAQ-ENGX2010-2023

The Human Story: Heart, Mind and Body in Early Literature

Study method

100% online


100% online

Entry requirements

Prior study needed


18 weeks

Start dates

  • 20 Feb 2023

HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP available

About this subject

What you'll learn

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical reading habits, interpretive analysis, research, and effective communication, with particular application to the field of English studies
  2. Understand and be able to describe some of the key features of a range of textual representations of mind, heart, and body from the medieval to the early modern period
  3. Undertake close reading of the primary medieval and early modern texts, and incorporate close reading as evidence into coherent analytical arguments
  4. Explain, verbally and in written assignments, the relationship between the primary texts and their historical and cultural contexts
  5. Engage in the appropriate application of relevant theoretical concepts to the primary texts studied
  6. Engage in informed critical discussion of unit content with peers and teachers, accommodate others’ points of view, and argue a critical position
  7. Apply understanding of literary techniques to literary study and beyond to other situations 
    • A week-by-week guide to the topics you will explore in this subject will be provided in your study materials.
  • This unit explores the rich and ever-changing category of 'the human' as it features in some of the most influential writings in English up to and including those by Shakespeare. It considers how these writings responded to and shaped ideas of 'the human' in their own times, while also examining how earlier literary representations of humanness relate to our modern assumptions about what it is to be human. Students will be exposed to a range of texts that offer insights into how the mind, the emotions, and the body were understood in medieval and early modern literature, and also study later texts that adapt these early ideas for modern use. The unit offers students an approach to early literature that will acquaint them with distant times and world views while also anchoring their studies of later literatures and shedding light on their understanding of the world today. This unit increases their literary-historical knowledge as well as their conceptual and technical vocabulary, to analyse and discuss literature from different periods and contexts with confidence. It also enables them to develop a sophisticated understanding of how cultures across time intersect with one another, and appreciate the vital function played by literature throughout the human story.

    • Early feedback quiz (10%)
    • Participatory task (20%)
    • Analytical essay (30%)
    • Research essay (40%)
  • For textbook details check your university's handbook, website or learning management system (LMS).

  • This research-intensive university in north-western Sydney offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. With over 44,000 current students, Macquarie has a strong reputation for welcoming international students and embracing flexible and convenient study options, including its partnership with Open Universities Australia.

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Entry requirements

Prior study

You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:

one of


Pre-requisite: 40cps at 1000 level or above

Additional requirements

  • Other requirements -

    Students who have an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion under Macquarie University's Academic Progression Policy are not permitted to enrol in OUA units offered by Macquarie University. Students with an Academic Standing of Suspension or Exclusion who have enrolled in units through OUA will be withdrawn.

What to study next?

Once you’ve completed this subject it can be credited towards one of the following degrees

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Bachelor of Arts

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