The Department of English Literature & Creative Writing has established a very high reputation in both teaching and research.
In the 2008-09 Research Assessment Exercise, 90% of the submission for English Language and Literature was classified within the ‘international’ categories, with 60% being judged either ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. In the Quality Review carried out in 2009, the Department was especially commended for its integration of creative writing, student-centred approach, exemplary qualitative feedback, pioneering use of distance learning and virtual learning environments, and forward thinking about the discipline in national and international contexts.
At Lancaster you study a wide range of authors and texts from different periods and areas of literary history. You develop close reading skills that increase your appreciation and understanding of the creative powers of language and literary forms. You also learn about the many contexts (for example, historical, geographical, social, political, stylistic, ethnic, sexual) in which literary texts are produced and read. This allows you to reflect on the active role played by literature both historically and in contemporary society.
The degree programme fosters open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity, and stimulates the capacity to respond creatively and innovatively to new challenges. All this is underpinned by the department’s well-attested research strengths in a number of areas—sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (especially drama), nineteenth century, women’s writing and feminist theory, medieval theatre, and modern literature and critical theory.
Creative Writing taught at undergraduate level in Universities has become firmly established over the last 25 years. Lancaster was one of the first schemes to be established. The teaching staff are published, prize-winning writers across a spectrum of genres. The study of texts through English Literature can be characterised as retrospective, whereas the study of Creative Writing is anticipatory, promoting new writing which maintains its ductile quality for the duration of the course. The importance of the student-generated text remains central to our educational aims.
The course aims to stimulate new writing through a number of strategies: creative workshops, lectures, seminars, workshops given by visiting writers, and the pressure of regular submission deadlines to seminars. We have no examinations, no set texts and no set topics. Our courses are demanding because we create - as closely as possible - the conditions under which professional writers work. Our courses ask students to explore and develop their talent, finding ways to create their own artistic voice and vision.
Studying Literature in the in the North West of England
Lancaster University's spacious hilltop campus is situated in a region of great natural beauty that also has significant literary associations. For those who study at Lancaster, there are numerous opportunities to take advantage of the university's privileged location. Many Lancaster academics have very strong research interests in the history, culture and literature of the North West, and this is reflected in university courses, publications, conferences and exhibitions. Both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the English Department is given an exciting additional dimension by the exploration of literature in its regional context.