English Literature

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in English Literature.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

ENGL100: English Literature

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course. Michaelmas term only, Lent / Summer term only Options Available. NOTE: If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 10 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 5 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 5 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 20 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 10 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 10 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

This course introduces you to some of the most vital debates in English Studies via a study of an English literary tradition that is constantly being rewritten and challenged, especially in the multicultural, postmodern era of the late twentieth century and beyond. By concentrating on poetry from the late sixteenth century to the present, you will learn about the rich canonical tradition and how each generation of writers has responded to it. You will consider some explicit rewritings of classic texts (for example, a literary reworking of Hamlet or the Victorian novel or of the narrative of the Fall in the Bible), in order to raise issues about what the canon excludes or occludes. Your study of selected plays, short stories and novels in addition to the poetry will broaden your sense of a literary tradition, and introduce you to the practice of close analytical reading of these genres too. As you study, the course will introduce you to some major theoretical approaches and instil some of the essential study skills you will need for your undergraduate programme at Lancaster.  By the end of this course, you will have read some of the most celebrated texts in the English language, as well as learning about exciting innovations in contemporary literary theory and practical criticism.

The first term looks at the development of English poetry from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century. It seeks to develop skills of close literary analysis and also to give a broader historical picture of the rise of a national literary tradition in the Renaissance and its disintegration in the Modernist period.

The second term moves forward and concentrates on the energy and diversity of contemporary writing. A range of literary genres is covered (poetry, drama, the novel), and attention is given to working-class women, black and Irish writers as well as mainstream English authors. The course also includes a Study Skills component and an introduction to some of the general theoretical issues of reading and interpretation. It is taught by means of two lectures and one seminar a week.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of the course, you will have acquired a range of knowledge and skills as outlined under these three main headings: LITERARY TRADITIONS AND GENRES

  • Increased familiarity with forms of poetry: including ballad, sonnet, couplet, dramatic monologue, free verse forms, concrete poetry (including work on metre).
  • Increased awareness of how to read dramatic texts.
  • Increased awareness of the novel form.  
  • Understanding of shorter prose forms (short story, C17th pamphlets, essays).
  • An awareness of literary periods/groupings: e.g. 'Renaissance'; 'Metaphysicals'; 'Augustan'; 'Romantics'; 'Victorian'; 'Modernist'; 'Postmodern'; 'Other literatures in English'.

ISSUES

  • Awareness of the literary tradition as existing in a process of continuous change in which rewriting and intertextuality are key features.  
  • Awareness of the canon as selective and the politically charged notions of "value".
  • An understanding that the relationship between text, author and reader is not transparent or one directional.
  • An awareness of history as discursively constructed and literature as a key element because of its emotive power.
  • An understanding of reality as discursively constructed, and texts of all kinds as part of this process.
  • An increased awareness of literature as a means of creating a national identity.

SKILLS

  • How to read large quantities of text perceptively.
  • How to construct an essay argument.
  • How to research within the library [and on the web].
  • How to construct a bibliography / present work according to scholarly conventions (in line with the English Literature Style Sheet).
  • How to use critical writing.
  • How to discuss metre and form in verse.

Outline Syllabus

This course introduces you to some of the most vital debates in English Studies via a study of an English literary tradition that is constantly being rewritten and challenged, especially in the multicultural, postmodern era of the late twentieth century and beyond.  By concentrating on poetry from the late sixteenth century to the present, you will learn about the rich canonical tradition and how each generation of writers has responded to it, raising questions about what the canon of 'classic texts' excludes or occludes. Study of selected plays, films, short stories and novels in addition to the poetry will develops the practice of close analytical reading of these genres too.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

Please note that the module structure is currnently being amended and the assessment structure may be 100% Coursework in 2017-18.

ENGL201: The Theory and Practice of Criticism

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Intro level English Literature course.

Course Description

Course Aims and Objectives:

ENGL 201 is the core course in English at Lancaster. It addresses fundamental questions about the status, value, and interpretation of texts: What is literature? Why are some literary and cultural texts deemed to be exceptionally valuable? What are the best ways of reading these texts? 201 poses these questions in the context of recent debates about language, politics, gender, selfhood, culture and national identity. Students on 201 will discover the major critical concepts and debates of recent years and assess their strengths and limitations as models of literary interpretation. The course will consider the ways in which critical theory has challenged traditional assumptions about literature and criticism; it will examine the debates that have opened up between different theoretical schools of thought; and it will enable students to deploy theoretical terms and concepts in their own acts of reading. Its overall aim is to make students more rigorous, sophisticated and inventive in their readings of literary and cultural texts. 

 

Educational Aims

Learning Outcomes:

You should

  • have developed a wide knowledge of the various contemporary approaches to literary interpretation

  • be able to participate knowledgeably in debates over the value and purpose of criticism

  • be familiar with the differences between traditional and theoretical assumptions about literature

  • be familiar with the debates between different theoretical schools of thought

  • be able to deploy theoretical ideas and vocabulary as part of the detailed analysis of literary texts

  • have become more sophisticated and discerning in your use of secondary material

  • have developed your skills of written and oral communication

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

Anthony Easthope and Kate McGowan, eds, A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, 2nd edition (Open University Press, 2004).  PLEASE NOTE: You must buy the second edition of this text.

PLEASE NOTE: Individual tutors will assign a number of other set literary texts for the course. 

 

Assessment Proportions

  • 100% Coursework

ENGL202: Renaissance to Restoration, English Literature, 1580-1688

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Intro level English Literature course.

Course Description

Course Outline:

The course will take us from the closing decades of the Tudor monarchy (1580-1603) to the episodes of power, revolution and restitution that characterised Stuart rule (1603-1688). During this time, English culture saw upheavals in politics that were accompanied by shifts in discourses such as those of gender, religion, sex, science and education. ‘Renaissance to Restoration: English Literature 1580-1688’ will thus examine the literature of change in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for example Spenser’s provocative Elizabethan verse epic The Faerie Queene, the brilliant and edgy theatre of the likes of Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton, and the prose writings of revolutionaries like John Milton and monarchist libertines like Aphra Behn. Our readings will mainly be focused on four topics designed to provide us with ingress into the literature, culture and historical vitality of the period: ‘Love, Sex and Death’, ‘Court, Country, City’, ‘Power and Politics’ and ‘Heaven and Hell’. We will be reading cross-sections from works by many authors to explore these themes from as many angles as possible. We will consider the similarities between a wide range of primary texts but we will also be keen to observe and analyse differences. 

Educational Aims

By the end of the course, successful students should have developed:

  • a good knowledge of the literature of the period in its various types and genres, an understanding of significant kinds of connection and difference between texts, and a capacity to read these texts closely;
  • an awareness of certain historical, political, literary and cultural issues of the period as they are manifested in the literary texts;
  • independent critical responses and perspectives in general, and a capacity to make appropriate use of secondary material such as criticism and theory;their existing skills (both oral and written) in the analysis of ideas, presentation of arguments and well-expressed handling of complex issues.

Outline Syllabus

Set texts include:

The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth Century Poetry and Prose, ed. Alan Rudrum et. al.

John Milton, Paradise Lost, ed. John Leonard (Penguin).

Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World and Other Writings (Penguin).

Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave, ed. Paul Salzman (Oxford).

Thomas Middleton, Women Beware Women, Revels Students Edition (Manchester University Press).

Vacation Reading: Bacon’s Essays, Donne's poetry and sermons (all in the Broadview Anthology)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

ENGL203: Victorian Literature

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 semester credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 semester credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 semester credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Intro level English Literature course.

Course Description

Course Aims and Objectives:

The years of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901) saw great social, political and cultural change. New technologies and scientific developments altered the ways in which Victorians thought about themselves and their environment, and the literature of the period responded to these changes in all sorts of ways. Examining a wide range of Victorian literature, including novels, short stories, poetry, drama and non-fiction prose, the course is structured around four major themes: ‘Progress,’ ‘Community and Outsiders,’ ‘Sensation and Spectacle,’ and ‘Falls and Losses.’ The aim of the course is to explore and interrogate the complexity of 'Victorian' attitudes within and across these areas.

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry (Concise Edition). (Poets covered include Tennyson, Robert Browning, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, Hardy and Arnold. The anthology will feature in both terms.)

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau

William Morris, News from Nowhere

Elizabeth Gaskell,‘Lois the Witch’

Henry Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines

Charlotte Brontë, Villette

Roger Luckhurst (ed.), Late Victorian Gothic Tales

Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband

George Eliot, Adam Bede

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret

For further reading, see the course Moodle site.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

ENGL204: American Literature to 1900

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Intro level English Literature course.

Course Description

This course considers how American Literature has evolved from its colonial origins, with particular emphasis on key figures of the nineteenth century. What we call American Literature and how we define America and ‘the American experience’ depends on who is writing and to whom. We shall encounter many different voices, many conflicting and contrasting views, a diversity of complex experiences and a great range of writing in form and style (don’t expect the poetic and novelistic forms you are used to in British literature). The course will be broadly thematic in its approach, aiming to build up through recurring themes, images, questions and stylistic features, an increasingly complex picture of the literature created mostly by English-speaking Americans.

Set texts may include: Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volumes A and B, 8th edition; Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw.

Educational Aims

By the end of the module, you should:

  • have developed a good knowledge of the literature of the period in its various types and genres, an understanding of significant kinds of connection and difference between texts, and a capacity to read these texts closely
  • demonstrate an awareness of certain historical, political, literary and cultural issues of the period as they are reflected in the literary texts
  • develop an understanding of the problems of defining American literature and the contested nature of ‘America’ as a concept
  • have developed independent critical responses and perspectives in general and a capacity to make appropriate use of secondary material such as criticism and theory
  • have developed your existing skills (both oral and written) in the analysis of ideas, presentation of arguments and well-expressed handling of complex issues

Outline Syllabus

Michaelmas Term

  • Columbus, De Las Casas, Puritan writers and Enlightenment texts such as The Declaration of Independence
  • Whitman, Song of Myself
  • Thoreau, Walden (first two chapters, and chapter on ‘The Ponds’ and ‘Spring’)
  • Dickinson, all the selection of her poems and letters in the Norton
  • Emerson, ‘Self-Reliance’

Lent Term

  • Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
  • Poe, A selection of short stories and poems including ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘William Wilson’ and ‘The Man of the Crowd’
  • Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself
  • Twain, Huckleberry Finn (not in the Norton, use any edition)
  • James, The Turn of the Screw (not in the Norton, use any edition)
  • Melville, ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener’ and ‘Benito Cereno’
  • Davis, Life in the Iron Mills

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

ENGL207: British Romanticism

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits. 
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Intro level English Literature course.

Course Description

Course Aims and Objectives:

This course is divided into key areas across the two terms including: Revolution and Romanticism; Romantic Education; Politics and Poetics; and the Gothic

We will begin by examining the relationship between Romanticism and revolution, particularly in terms of the events of the French Revolution which help to define the period.  We will then consider how ideas generated during the period related to issues of gender, developing this theme to examine poetry by women, and considering the importance of re-educating as a means for bringing about change within the period.

We also examine the relationship between politics and poetics for the major second generation poets, examining some of the more complex underlying ideas about the workings of the mind, of identity, and of the imagination as they find expression in the major writers of the period. In the second half, the course will turn its attention to the popular literary movement of ‘Gothic’ which emerges during the Romantic period, exploring its manifestation in a range of texts

The course aims to give students a well-rounded sense of Romanticism as a full development of earlier eighteenth-century ideas and movements as well as a distinct period in itself. We will work out of close knowledge of key texts in order to begin to tackle some of the wider, more abstract ideas such as: nature; imagination; the sublime. We will also consider literary ideas within a broader social, historical and philosophical context. 

Educational Aims

  • to establish a good knowledge of the poetry, poetics and prose of the period
  • to establish a strong social and historical sense of the period
  • to widen understanding of literary forms and traditions
  • to build confidence in oral and written discussion of such works
  • to gain a full sense of the period in historical, contextual and theoretical terms
  •  to enjoy engaging closely with texts, and broadly with philosophical ideas and movements

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

 

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Romantic Period, vol. D, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al (2012). For poetry by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Shelley, Byron and a range of women poets.

Book Length Texts Required for Term 1

Mary Wollstonecraft, The Wrongs of Woman, in Mary and the Wrongs of Woman, ed. Gary Kelly (Oxford World Classics edition)

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ed. Ros Ballaster(Penguin Classics edition)

 

Book Length Texts Required for Term 2

Matthew Lewis, The Monk, ed. Emma McEvoy (Oxford World Classics edition)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 1818 Text, ed. Marilyn Butler (Oxford World Classics Edition)

N.B. Also: Romanticism: A Source Book, ed. Simon Bainbridge (2008) – not a set text, but contains useful additional contexts, especially for ‘Women’ and ‘Revolution’ and Sharon Ruston, Romanticism: An Introduction (London: Continuum, 2007).

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 40%
  • Exam: 60%

ENGL208: Literature, Film, and Media

  • Terms Taught: Full Year course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas Term only 
    • Lent / Summer Term only.
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year course - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year course - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Term only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent / Summer Terms only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have completed an Intro level English Literature course.

Course Description

Course Outline:

This module surveys formal, generic, historical, cultural, narrative, and theoretical relationships between literature and film across a range of periods, genres, topics, and cultures, paying particular attention to the practice and analysis of literary film adaptation. It also addresses some other modes of literary adaptation (e.g. television, graphic novels, tie-in merchandise, mobile phone applications, etc.).

Educational Aims

On successful completion of the module, students should have a firm grasp of the basic history, theory, and genres of literatures relationship to film, be able to address both formal and cultural aspects of literary film adaptation, and understand how adaptations function as creative-critical and interpretative works. Students will develop skills in interdisciplinary analysis and in writing across disciplines. In the practical component, they will grapple with issues in the practice as well as the analysis of interdisciplinary relations.

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts

[Optional: Mario Puzo, The godfather]

[Optional: Susan Orlean, The orchid thief]

Andrew Dix, Beginning film studies

Annie Proulx, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (on MOODLE)

Bram Stoker, Dracula

Cornell Woolrich, ‘Rear window’ (on MOODLE)

Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb, The Best of American Splendor (or any book by Harvey Pekar)

Jack Shaefer, Shane

Jane Austen, Pride and prejudice

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s adventures in Wonderland

Philip K. Dick, ‘Minority Report’ (on MOODLE)

Robert Louis Stevenson, The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Other required critical readings will be posted on MOODLE.

 

Set Films:

Adaptation, 2002

Alice, 1988 (dir. Jan Svankmajer)

Alice in Wonderland, 1951 (Disney)

American Splendor, 2003

Apocalypse Now, 1979

Brokeback Mountain, 2005

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1920 (dir. John S. Robertson)

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, 1931/2  (dir. Rouben Mamoulian)

The Godfather, 1972

Minority Report, 2002

Pale Rider, 1985

Pride and Prejudice, 1940

Rear Window, 1954

Shakespeare in Love, 1998

Shane, 1954

William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, 1996

Other required and optional viewing will be announced/posted on MOODLE.

Use these lists for vacation reading and viewing. 

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

ENGL306: Shakespeare

  • Terms Taught:
    • Full Year Course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent/Summer term only.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent/Summer Only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full Year - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent Summer Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.

Course Description

Course Outline:

Ben Jonson claimed of Shakespeare ‘he was not of an age but for all time.’ This course examines Shakespearean drama and poetry in its own time: as a platform in which early modern debates about agency and government, family, national identity, were put into play, and in relation to how we perceive these issues now. The stage was and is a place in which issues of gender, class, race, gain immediacy through the bodies and voices of actors. By examining texts from across Shakespeare’s career, we will explore their power to shape thoughts and feelings in their own age and in ours. We will consider Shakespeare’s manipulation of genre (poetry, comedy, history, tragedy and romance) and the ways the texts make active use of language (verse, prose, rhyme, rhythm) and theatrical languages (costume, stage positions) to generate meaning. The course will consider how, in the past and in the present, Shakespeare’s texts exploit the emotional and political possibilities of poetry and drama

Educational Aims

On successful completion of the course, you should have:

  • acquired an enriched understanding of Shakespeare’s historical context and a grasp of the ways in which this shaped his plays.
  • have a perception of the place of the Shakespearean theatre in Elizabethan and Jacobean politics and its importance as the sight of struggle over interpretations of the state, the family, gender and identity.
  • acquired an informed idea of the actual design and conventions of Shakespeare’s playhouse, and an awareness of how these determined his texts.
  • become familiar with contemporary critical debates about the plays, and to be prepared to apply theoretical concepts to analysis of them.
  • developed an appreciation of how Shakespeare’s drama continues to be a global force in the present, especially through its representation in cinematic forms.

Outline Syllabus

Set Text:                             

The Norton Shakespeare: International Student Edition, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al., 3rd edition (W.W. Norton, 2015)

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

ENGL308: Contemporary Literature in English

  • Terms Taught:
    • Full Year Course.
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent/Summer term only.
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 8 Semester Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits.
    • Lent Summer Only - 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full year - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent Summer Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.

Course Description

Course Outline:

Contemporary Literatures focuses on different kinds of (postmodern, postcolonial/world, Gothic, post-9/11, feminist/queer, experimental) contemporary literature. The course consolidates student knowledge of ways in which writers redress notions of ‘English literature’, including ways in which they both respond to and stimulate critical theory. Beginning in the 1950s, we consider the explosion of new literatures from the decolonising/newly postcolonial world and the rise of new literary forms in the post-war period. The course also emphasises work from the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries, foregrounding, at all stages, English literature in its international dimensions: we read texts from Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean and Australasia, as well as from multicultural and devolved Britain. Recurrent themes include borders, margins, haunting, apocalypse, rewriting, migration and metamorphosis; these terms also reflect formal qualities of the texts studied (i.e. aspects of genre, structure and style). The course considers inter-generic forms (e.g. the graphic novel) as well as a range of more standard literary genres (novels; short stories; poetry), highlighting literary experimentation and critically reflecting on notions of ‘the contemporary’.

Educational Aims

This module aims to:

  • enhance students' breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding of the development and variety of contemporary literature in English, from 1960 to the present moment
  • enhance students' knowledge of the relationship between the works studied and contemporary social, historical, political, cultural and linguistic contexts
  • enhance students' knowledge of literary voices from erstwhile margins (geographical; ethnic; gendered; sexual; classed; generic; etc)
  • help students acquire breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding of the development and variety of  literature in English
  • encourage students to relate works studied to relevant social, historical, political, cultural and linguistic contexts
  • to develop students' capacity critically to engage the idea of ‘English literature’ and to consider the creative and critical impact of its erstwhile margins (geographical; ethnic; gendered; sexual; classed; generic; etc)
  • develop students' knowledge of, and the ability judiciously to deploy, critical and theoretical frameworks

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts – in order of study

Generally any edition of set texts is acceptable. It is strongly recommended that you tackle Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which is long and difficult,over summer.

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Samuel Selvon, The Lonely Londoners (1956)

Helen Oyeyemi, White is for Witching (2009)

Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)

Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus! (2003)

Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes (2012)

Alan Moore, & D. Gibbons, Watchmen (1987)

Janet Frame, Faces in the Water (1961)

Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory (1984)

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (1997)

Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003)

Jeanette Winterson, The World & Other Places (2000)

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011)

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

ENGL309: Modernism towards Postmodernism

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course
  • Also Available:
    • Michaelmas term only
    • Lent / Summer term only
    • NOTE:  If you are studying with us for a Full Academic Year and you select a course that has full year and part year variants, you will not be allowed to take only part of the course
  • US Credits:
    • Full Year - 8 Semester Credits
    • Michaelmas Only - 4 Semester Credits
    • Lent Summer Only - 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits:
    • Full year - 16 ECTS Credits.
    • Michaelmas Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
    • Lent Summer Only - 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Must have significant previous studies in English Literature

Course Description

This course will trace the evolution of English literature in a period of convulsive social and political change that takes us from the Boer War to the Cold War, from the Victorian Age to the Space Age, and from the high-point of British imperialism to its ignominious post-War decline. It will also attend to the dynamics of literary history, focusing on the strain of radical experimentation that characterizes so much twentieth-century writing. We will examine the ways in which modernist writers from Eliot to Woolf found ways to renew and re-shape the language of literature; and we will consider how post-modernist writers, from Beckett to Pynchon, found solutions to the problem of how to follow the mighty achievements of their literary predecessors.

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer
  • James Joyce, Portait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • D.H. Lawrence, The Woman who Rode Away
  • Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories
  • Wallace Stevens, Selected Poems or Wallace Stevens The Palm at the End of the Mind
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
  • W.B. Yeats, Selected Poems
  • T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems
  • John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse
  • Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
  • Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50% (1500 word exercise 10%; 3000 word essay: 40%)
  • Exam: 50%

ENGL320: Contemporary Middle Eastern Literatures

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota courses, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Outline:

The twenty-first century has seen the emergence of Middle Eastern literature in English and translation into English as one of the most exciting new areas of world literature. This is partly due to the acute topical interest of a region that has experienced, so far this century, the ‘war on terror’; revolution; civil war; sectarian violence; the rise of ‘ISIS’; and a mass refugee crisis. These events provide settings for a body of work that is also, however, of intrinsic literary interest. While creative work helps to illuminate national, regional and global contexts, it is only ever partly shaped by politics. On this course we will explore some of the aesthetic traditions, as well as social concerns, that shape contemporary Middle Eastern (particularly Arab world) literature; the representational work that it does; and reasons for its growing international visibility. We will study novels, short stories, poetry and drama, in English/translation into English, from a region that encompasses the Arab world, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. No prior knowledge is needed of any of these contexts.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • demonstrate knowledge of ways in which contemporary creative literature illuminates specific contexts and the wider region of the Middle East
  • demonstrate awareness of some of the social, cultural and political contexts at stake in the work studied;
  • demonstrate knowledge of, and be able judicially to deploy, relevant critical/theoretical paradigms, for example those emerging from postcolonial and world literary studies
  • consider, in an informed way, the production, translation (where relevant) and reception of contemporary Middle Eastern literature originally produced in a range of languages (notably English, Arabic and French)
  • demonstrate a greater understanding of how creative work participates in the construction of local, national, regional and/or transnational communities
  • demonstrate detailed knowledge of the primary material and of thematic and stylistic connections and differences between texts on the course

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts

Primary Texts (in order of study)

Rewritings (weeks 1-2)

Sulayman al-Bassam, The Al-Hamlet Summit (2004/2006). A full performance is available at http://globalshakespeares.mit.edu/hamlet-al-bassam-sulayman-2004/

Kamal Daoud, The Meursault Investigation, trans. John Cullen (2015)

Place, Space and Mobility (weeks 3-5)

Alaa al-Aswany, The Yacoubian Building, trans. Humphrey Davies (2002/2004)

Saud Alsanousi, The Bamboo Stalk, trans. Jonathan Wright (2013/2015)

[On moodle] Hassan Blasim, ‘The Madman of Freedom Square’, from The Madman of Freedom Square, trans. Jonathan Wright (2009)

[On moodle] Leila Aboulela, ‘The Museum’, from Coloured Lights (2001)

Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish and Samih al-Qasim, Victims of a Map (2005)

Trauma and Testimony (weeks 7-8)

Rabih Alameddine, I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters (2001)

Samar Yazbek, The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria, trans. Ruth Ahmedzai and Nashwa Gowanlock (2015)

Violence and Affect (weeks 9-10)

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (2003)

Adania Shibli, Touch, trans. Paula Haydar (2010)

Preliminary Secondary Reading List

Nouri Gana (ed.), The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English (Edinburgh UP, 2015).

Wail S. Hassan, ‘Postcolonial Theory and Modern Arabic Literature: Horizons of Application’, Journal of Arabic Literature 33:1 (2002): 45-64.

M.E.McMillan, From the First World War to the Arab Spring: What’s Really Happening in the Modern Middle East? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Lindsey Moore, Narrating Postcolonial Arab Nations: Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine (Routledge, 2017)

Geoffrey Nash, The Anglo-Arab Encounter: Fiction and Autobiography by Arab Writers in English (Peter Lang, 2007).

Anastasia Valassopoulos, Contemporary Arab Women Writers: Cultural Expression in Context (Routledge, 2007).

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 80%
  • Blog: 20%

ENGL323: Public and Private Performances of Self in Medieval Literature and Drama

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota courses, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Aims and Objectives:

At a time when life was viewed as a constant struggle between good and evil within the human soul, how was the inner self conceived? Furthermore, when public life was a type of performance in itself, how did people publicly enact their identities? And how did those private and public identities function in such a rigidly hierarchical society? With an emphasis on close critical readings, this course aims to explore medieval identities by looking at manifestations of self in literature and drama; it will examine and challenge distinctions between public and private, questioning the concept of subjectivity in this period, and consider moments of personal crisis. As well as looking at the role of performance in everyday life and organised drama, we will study the creation of narrative voices and personas in literary texts, and interrogate the interrelationship of text, ‘voice’ and performance. The course also sets aside seminar time to develop close reading skills and build familiarity with Middle English language. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge and understanding of a range of literature and drama of the medieval period and the skills to closely analyse this material
  • knowledge and understanding of  some key features of the historical context in which these texts were written
  • knowledge and understanding of   the ways in which medieval literature and drama present selfhood and identity grounded in theories of performance, identity and the public and private spheres
  • increased research skills for independent study specific to the medieval period such as studying texts in performance, using online resources, language skills and palaeography

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts

Essential: The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Medieval Period, eds. by Roy Liuzza and Claire Waters, 3rd Edition (Broadview Press, 2014)

Additional: John Lydgate, Henry VI’s Triumphal Entry into London and Geoffrey Chaucer, House of Fame provided on Moodle.

For further reading see the course Moodle site – theory and secondary reading will be posted here as well as digital study tools and weekly seminar questions for consideration.

Term 1

Week

Seminar Topic(s)

Text(s)

 

Drama: Public and Private Performance

 

1

Introduction to Medieval Period and the Self

Medieval Drama: Public Religion

*The Wakefield Master, The Second Shepherds’ Play

2

Performing Personal Piety          

*The York Crucifixion

*Julian of Norwich, from A Revelation of Love

3

Public Status

John Lydgate, Henry VI’s Triumphal Entry into London

(Filmed performance of A Satire of the Three Estates)

4

Personal Morality

*Mankind

Literature: Public and Private Self

5

Public Identity – Narrative Voice

* Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue and selected tales)

6

INDEPENDENT STUDY WEEK – NO SEMINAR

7

Personal Identity – Dream Visions

Geoffrey Chaucer, House of Fame

*William Langland, Piers Plowman (extracts of both)

Literary Identity Crises

8

Anxiety of Identity

*Thomas Hoccleve, ‘My Complaint’ from The Series

*Marie de France, Bisclavret

9

Female Anxiety of Identity

*Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe

10

Female Public Voice

*‘The Wife of Bath’, The Canterbury Tales

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 20%
  • Essay (s): 80%

ENGL330: Literature and Religion at the Fin de Siecle

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota courses, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Aims and Objectives:

 

Despite the commonplace idea that God had died by the end of the nineteenth century, religion remained very much in evidence at the fin de siècle. This is apparent in the literature produced in the period, and the module will examine a range of the writers who wrote about religion. Along the way, we will consider questions such as: the reasons for the return to religion among writers at the fin de siècle (c. 1880-1914); the debates raised by religious pluralism in the period; the experimental investigations into the relation of form to faith; and the broader questions of how literature mediates and speaks to the relationship between religion and the secular in the modern period.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to demonstrate:

  • Explore the relationship between religion and literature in the late nineteenth century
  • Enhance awareness of the different types of literature written during the fin de siècle
  • Enhance understanding of religious debates and beliefs in the period
  • Better understand how literary form mediates and intervenes in questions of faith
  • Reflect on the place of religion in modernity (e.g. debates around secularism, blasphemy, and religious experience)

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

Week 1: (Selections from) Decadent Poetry from Wilde to Naidu

Week 2: (Selections from) William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

Week 3: Oscar Wilde, Salome (Broadview Press edition)

Week 4: Oscar Wilde, De Profundis (Selections from)

Week 5: Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure

Week 6: Essay Preparation Week (Research and Planning)

Week 7: Michael Field, Selected Poetry (Broadview Press edition)

Week 8: Bram Stoker, Dracula

Week 9: G. K. Chesterton, The Man who was Thursday: A Nightmare

Week 10: Alice Meynell, selected poetry and prose essays (available via Moodle)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

ENGL365: Science Fiction in Literature and Film

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.
    • This is a strict quota courses, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students.

Course Description

Course Outline:

This course will trace the development of science fiction (SF) in literature and film, providing an insight into the conventions of the genre and, in particular, how the key themes of the science fiction genre have been successfully adapted for the screen. Texts have been chosen from a range of historical periods to enable a consideration of the cultural and historical contexts in which key science fiction texts were produced, and how this effects their development. The course will analyse in detail the formal and generic characteristics of the science fiction novel and short story, and will provide an introduction to the visual aspects of the science fiction film. The course will be organised through a thematic concentration on the theme of time. It will encompass narratives of time travel, evolution, temporal dislocation and also stories that formally incorporate atemporality. It will offer discussions about questions of human subjectivity, gender, race, transcendence, love and loss.The module will also constitute an ongoing investigation of the relationship between science fiction film and ‘literary’ SF texts, considering both how the genre is represented through the cinematic form and what happens in terms of narrative structure, plot and characterisation when presented in an audiovisual format.

Educational Aims

On satisfactory completion of the course the students will:

  • have an understanding of the place of narrative and theme within science fiction in film and literature, and will be able to link the texts/films they have studied to key theoretical concepts.
  • understand the relationship of science fiction films and texts to specific historical contexts. 
  • have learned to extend their understanding by applying concepts to films and texts not specifically studied in seminars
  • produce a piece of writing that synthesizes the information offered in the weekly seminars with the students’ own comprehension of the narratives.

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895)

J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)

Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979)

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Time (2016)

Time travel short stories (online/ via Moodle)

 

Set Films:

La Jetée (1962)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Primer (2004)

Arrival (2016)

For further reading, see the course Moodle site.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

ENGL371: Victorian Gothic

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students.

Course Description

Course Outline:

In the Victorian period, the decaying castles, corrupt priests and ancestral curses that were so prominent in the first phase of the Gothic novel gave way to an increased emphasis on spectral and monstrous others: ghosts, witches, werewolves, vampires, mummies and other creatures of the night. The course will explore these phenomena in their historical, cultural and literary contexts, with particular focus on emerging discourses of gender, sexuality, colonialism and class. The course will pay special attention to visual aspects of the Gothic, examining book illustration, painting and photography from the period and their relationship with Gothic texts. Students will be asked to consider the relationship between newly emergent forms of modernity (from medical discourses to photography) and the preoccupation with history and the past that is a generic feature of the Gothic. Texts will comprise a selection of novels and short fiction, with additional images and extracts from contextual works provided on Moodle and in class.

Educational Aims

By the end of the course students should be equipped  

  • to identify and comment on major preoccupations of Gothic literature and their representation within Victorian texts
  • to problematise definitions of Gothic and its status as a genre, mode, or set of discourses, and to discuss the relationship between Gothic and other generic forms (e.g. the ghost story) closely related to it
  • to explore theoretical notions of gender, sexuality, colonialism, and class in relation to the texts and to critique images of spectral and monstrous others from an informed critical perspective
  • to locate Gothic texts in a specific historical context with reference to Victorian culture
  • to formulate critical analyses of texts both orally and in writing

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts (in the order in which they will be studied):

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1847)

Michael Cox and R. A. Gilbert (eds.): The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories

Elizabeth Gaskell, ‘The Poor Clare’ (1856)

Thomas Hardy, ‘The Withered Arm’ (1888)

Alexis Easley and Shannon Scott (eds.): Terrifying Transformations: An Anthology of Victorian Werewolf Fiction

J. Sheridan Le Fanu, ‘Carmilla’ (1872)

Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘Olalla’ (1885)

H. Rider Haggard, She (1887)

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Vernon Lee, Hauntings (1890)

Richard Marsh, The Beetle (1897)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

ENGL375: 21st Century Theory: Literature, Culture, Criticism

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Outline:

In 21st Century Theory, we will build upon the general introduction to critical and cultural theory given on ENGL201 by focusing on one specific theme in contemporary theory: biopolitics. To explore biopolitics – or the politics of life itself – we will examine a selection of classic theoretical works by Michel Foucault, Georgio Agamben and others and then read them alongside some key literary and filmic texts from Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go to the Batman Trilogy. This course will seek to address the following questions. What exactly is biopolitics? How have theorists, novelists and film-makers imagined such concepts as sovereign power, bare life, the state of exception and so on? To what extent might it be possible to resist the biopolitical hold over our political imaginary?

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • demonstrate detailed knowledge of the primary material
  • identify thematic and theoretical connections and differences between texts
  • show some awareness of the cultural, historical and philosophical contexts in which the primary texts are situated Engage critically with key issues from the philosophy of technology (Aristotle, Heidegger and Stiegler)

Outline Syllabus

  • Set Texts

    Set Texts

    Martin Amis, Time’s Arrow (London: Cape, 1991)

    P.D. James, The Children of Men (London: Faber, 1992)

    Hassan Blasim, The Corpse Exhibition (London: Penguin, 2014)

    Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (London, Faber, 2005)

    Cormac McCarthy, The Road (London: Picador, 2006)

    Christopher Nolan (dir.) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2008)

    Steve McQueen (dir.) Twelve Years A Slave (2013)

    Secondary Texts:

    Agamben, Giorgio, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life trans. by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998)

    Boeve, Arne de, Narrative Care: Biopolitics and the Novel (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

    Butler, Judith, Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2004)

    Campbell, Timothy and Adan Sitze eds. Biopolitics: A Reader (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013)

    Cavarero, Adriana, Horrorism: Naming Contemporary Violence trans. by William McCuaig (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011)

    Dillon, Michael and Reid, Julian, The Liberal Way of War: Killing to Make Life Live (London: Routledge, 2009)

    Esposito, Roberto, Immunitas: The Protection and Negation of Life trans. by Zakiya Hanafi (London: Polity, 2011)

    Foucault, Michel, History of Sexuality 1: The Will to Knowledge trans. by Robert Hurley (London: Penguin, 1978)

    Foucault, Michel, ‘Society Must Be Defended’: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975-6 trans. by David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003)

    Mbembe, Achille, ‘Necropolitics’ in Public Culture 15: 1 (2003), pp. 11-40

    Lemke, Thomas, Biopolitics: An Advanced Introduction (New York: NYU Press, 2011)

    Schmitt, Carl, The Concept of the Political trans. by George Schwab (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007)

    Course Structure

    1.    Introduction

    2.     Natality: P.D. James, The Children of Men (1992)

    3.     Exception: Christopher Nolan (dir.) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2008)

    4.     Biopower: Martin Amis, Time’s Arrow (1991)

    5.     Homo Sacer:  Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005)

    6.     Reading Week

    7.     Manhunts: Steve McQueen (dir.) Twelve Years A Slave (2013)

    8.   Precarity: Hassan Blasim, The Corpse Exhibition (2014)

    9.   Immunity: Marc Forster (dir.) World War Z (2013)

    10.  Messianism: Cormac McCarthy, The Road (2006)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

ENGL377: Literary Film Adaptations, Hollywood 1939

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota courses, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Outline:

Film historians consider 1939 to be ‘the greatest year in the history of Hollywood’: in that year, 365 films were released and 80 million tickets sold.  This module considers how literature and film interact and conflict in that year to construct mythologies of the American past and present in the context of the Great Depression and on the eve of the Second World War. The module also considers the context of Hollywood, the functions of motion picture palaces, American film’s relationship to British literature, and more.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module:

  • Students will know how to make narratological, semiotic, historical, cultural, and historical connections between literature and film generally
  • Students will be able to demonstrate a wide knowledge of Hollywood film adaptations in 1939
  • They will be able to apply various critical and theoretical questions and approaches to the materials
  • They will have learned how to research across disciplines
  • They will have learned how to interpret and write about films and books separately and in relation to one another

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts

John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men (1937) Ernest Haycox, ‘The Stage to Lordsburg’ (1937)

Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind (1936)

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1846)

Rudyard Kipling, ‘Gunga Din’ (1892); Soldiers Three (1888)

Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz (1900)

 

Set Films

Of Mice and Men, dir. Lewis MilestoneStagecoach, dir. John Ford

Gone with the Wind, dir. Victor Fleming

Wuthering Heights, dir. William Wyler

Gunga Din, dir. George Stevens

The Wizard of Oz, dir. Victor Fleming

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, dir. Frank Capra (based on unpublished story by Lewis R. Foster, ‘The Gentleman from Montana’)

Assessment Proportions

  • Courseword: 100%

ENGL380: Between the Acts

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota courses, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Outline:

The course will begin with writing that looks back to the First World War and end with writing that anticipates the Second World War. In between the students will explore and interrogate the inter-war ‘moment’ through close attention to a number of other texts. The course will focus on many of the great themes of the period such as exile, unemployment, Englishness, eugenics, militarisation, and political commitment, as well as many of the great cultural motifs of the period such as borders, radios, planes, cars, trains, cameras and telephones. Close attention will also be paid to many of the great intellectual debates of the period such as the nature of history, the role of the State in everyday life, and the place of literary experimentation in time of war.  The course will not, though, be limited to what these texts are ‘about’ but will also attend to what these texts ‘do.’ In other words, we shall explore how inter-war writing both reflects the period and indeed participates in the period. The students will, then, be expected to understand the ways in which the texts under consideration exist not only ‘between the acts’ but are themselves acts – acts not only of mourning and warning but also agitation, provocation, resistance, despair, and even (therefore) hope.  

Educational Aims

It is intended that by the end of the course the students will have acquired:

  • detailed knowledge of inter-war writing
  • a keen appreciation of how the history of the period bears upon literary texts
  • a well-developed facility for close reading of inter-war writing

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

Arnold Bennett, The Pretty Lady (1918)*

D.H. Lawrence, ‘England, My England’ (1921)*

Katherine Mansfield, ‘The Garden Party’(1922)*

Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930)

Rosamond Lehmann, The Weather in the Streets (1936)

W.H.Auden, Collected Shorter Poems [will announce and provide poems nearer time]

George Orwell, Road to Wigan Pier (1937)*

Edward Upward, Journey to the Border (1938) [available as separate book or in collection

            called The Railway Accident and Other Stories]

Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal (1938)

Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts (1941)*

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

ENGL385: Literature and the Visual Arts

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Outline:

Is it possible to ‘read’ a painting? Can an artist interpret a poem in paint? This course addresses the complex relationship between literature and the visual arts, tracing key debates in aesthetic theory from Romanticism to the twenty-first century.  Literature and the Visual Arts will begin with an introduction to key critical terms and an examination of the painting-inspired poetry of, for example, John Keats and W. H. Auden.  Subsequent seminars will explore the work of figures such as William Blake, John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites who blur the distinction between literature and art; the revival of the Pop Art tradition and postmodern narrative practices; and, finally, the fusion of word and image in graphic novels including Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.  The course will draw on the unique resources of the University’s Ruskin Library and rare book archive.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this modules, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate a detailed understanding of the historic relationship between literature and the visual arts
  • show an advanced awareness of narrative style and genre in ?image texts' and other media inspired by the visual arts
  • display an awareness of the philosophical, cultural and social contexts that inform texts studied on the course
  • construct clear and critically informed interpretations of literary texts that engage with visual media and visual texts that  engage with literature

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

Benjamin, Walter, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, trans. by J. A. Underwood (London: Penguin, 2008)

Blake, William, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell [Facsimile edition], ed. Sir Geoffrey Keynes (Oxford: OUP, 1975)

Birch, Dinah, (ed.) John Ruskin: Selected Writings (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Satrapi, Marjane, Persepolis (London: Vintage, 2008) [The complete edition containing Persepolis I & II]

Spiegelman, Art, The Complete MAUS (London: Penguin, 2003)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

ENGL388: Bible and Literature

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students.

Course Description

Course Outline:

In this unit we will look at a selection of biblical texts alongside literary works that appropriate, rewrite and subvert them. We will be thinking about the Bible as literature; the reciprocal relationship between the Bible and literature; and what the Bible does to a literary text. By the end of the course you should be more familiar and knowledgeable about the Bible, its genres, ideas and narratives, and be able to appreciate its literary qualities. You will develop skills of exploring the relation between a literary text and the biblical text it invokes: in what ways does knowledge of biblical texts provoke more profound readings of literature? Do rewritings refine or subvert the Bible? Throughout the course we will also have in focus issues related to reading, interpretation and adaptation that will be relevant to your wider studies.

Educational Aims

The aim of this module is to:

  • explore the character, genres and variety of texts in the Bible.
  • read  and analyse a selection of biblical books.
  • consider different literary approaches to biblical texts.
  • think about devotional and secular uses of the Bible in literary works.
  • read and discuss a range of critical and theoretical approaches to the use of the Bible in literature and to consider the different reasons why writers invoke the Bible

Outline Syllabus

Set Texts:

 

Biblical works:

Song of Songs; Genesis 1-4; Passion narrative (Matthew 26-27); 1 and 2 Samuel; Parables (esp. Mark 4).

Literary works:

Milton, Paradise Lost, book 4

Mark Twain, The Diary of Adam and Eve (preferred edition: Hesperus, 2002)

Lord Byron, Cain, A Mystery (1821) [will be available on moodle]

A selection of poetry on the Passion including: John Donne, 'Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward'; Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'The Windhover'; Christina Rossetti, 'Good Friday'; Emily Dickinson, '"Remember me" implored the Thief'; Sylvia Plath, 'Mary's Song'; Geoffrey Hill, 'Canticle for Good Friday'

Angela Carter, The Passion of New Eve (1977)

Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (preferred: Norton Critical edition, 1986)

Octavia Butler, The Parable of the Sower (1993)

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay(s): 100%

ENGL389: Women Writers of Britain and America

  • Terms Taught: Lent/Summer terms only
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students.

Course Description

Course Outline:

In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf famously asks ‘what would have happened had Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister?’, and goes on to explore the obstacles to literary success that she might have encountered. This course follows Woolf’s lead by seeking to redress the historical marginalisation of women writers in the English literary canon through an exploration of how women have come to writing at different historical moments, what they have chosen to write, and how. A selection of texts from the 17th century through to the 21st, encompassing autobiographical forms, the novel, poetry and drama, are used to examine relationships between gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and literary production, and to explore continuities, connections and disparities between representations of female experience. The course is historical in terms of both the range of primary texts it addresses, and also in the history of feminist theoretical and critical approaches it provides.

Educational Aims

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • develop an informed knowledge and understanding of women's writing across history and genre
  • contextualise literary material and its production and reception
  • demonstrate an understanding of genre theory
  • develop an awareness of different theoretical and critical approaches, including an awareness of their historical specificity and political currency
  • make appropriate use of secondary material such as criticism and theory in assessed work

Outline Syllabus

Set texts will include:

Jane Austen, Persuasion (London: 1818)

Pat Barker, Regeneration (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990)

Vera Brittain, Chronicle of Youth: Great War Diary 1913-1917 ed. Alan Bishop (London: Phoenix, 2000) [Moodle]

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, The Convent of Pleasure (1668) [Moodle]

Carol Anne Duffy, The World’s Wife (London: Picador, 1999)

Jackie Kay, The Adoption Papers (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1991)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (London: Chatto and Windus,1987)

Dorothy Osborne, Letters (1652-3) [Moodle]

Sarah Waters, The Night Watch (London: Virago, 2006)

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (London: Hogarth Press, 1929)

Dorothy Wordsworth, Grasmere Journals (1800-3) [Moodle]

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  100%

ENGL390: Monstrous Bodies: Romantic Period Poetry and Prose

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature.
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students.

Course Description

Course Aims and Objectives:

 

Using a range of texts and genres from 1790s to the 1820s this course will consider the importance of the physical human body, in health and sickness. Examining the historical context in which these texts were written, we will look at such topics as illness, death, doctors, medical treatments, recreational drug use, pregnancy, disability, physical strength, sexuality, sensuality, health, race, gender, physiognomy and phrenology. How did Romantic poets and prose writers imagine the body? What did they think of the distinction between the mind and body or between the body and soul? How was the body understood medically? How are people made ‘monsters’ in the period and for what political purpose? The course will explore how bodies are not to be thought of as neutral or ahistorical but instead as historically-contingent sites of discourse. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • a detailed understanding of a range of nineteenth-century literary genres dealing with some particular aspect of the body;
  • the ability to evaluate the importance of the historical conditions of the texts studied with regard to such topics as illness, treatment, and the medical professions.
  • critical awareness of appropriate theoretical approaches and methodologies, such as from body studies, disability studies and the history of medicine;
  • an understanding of the way that key identity markers are witnessed in representations of the body, such as gender, sexuality, disability and race.

Outline Syllabus

Seminars:

Labouring-class, mad, and female bodies: poems from the Lyrical Ballads

Gendered bodies: Mary Wollstonecraft and Hannah More

Black bodies: selected poems from William Blake, Ann Yearsley, Phyllis Wheatley

Disability: Lord Byron

Sensuous bodies: John Keats

Vampires: John Polidori

Monsters: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Drugs: Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Drink: Charles Lamb, ‘Confessions of a Drunkard’

Set Texts:

The Norton Anthology of English Literature 9th Edition: Vol D. The Romantic Period. Eds. Lynch and Stillinger.  W. W. Norton & Co. New York and London, 2012.

John Polidori, The Vampyre, in The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre, ed. Robert Morrison and Chris Baldick, Oxford World Classics (Oxford: OUP, 2008)

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, 1818 Text, ed. Marilyn Butler, Oxford World Classics (Oxford: OUP, 1993)

Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, ed. Barry Milligan (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2003).

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

ENGL391: Premodern Gothic

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS credits
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Must have significant previous studies in English Literature
    • This is a strict quota course, and there will be only a limited number of places (if any) available to visiting students

Course Description

Course Outline

‘[T]he Gothic’, as Nick Groom argues, ‘was not simply a reaction to the Enlightenment, and the rise of the Gothic novel is part of a longer history’ (Groom, 2012, p.xiv).  In coining the term Premodern Gothic, this innovative half-unit considers some of the ways in which a range of generically diverse texts produced in England between c.1450 and 1600 engage with Gothic tropes and sensibilities - e.g. ghosts, vampires, castles, darkness, magic, terror and wonder - before ‘the rise of the Gothic novel’.

Educational Aims

On completion of the module, students should have…

  • engaged closely with a range of generically distinct forms of premodern writing and their relationship to Gothic tropes and sensibilities
  • acquired an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the texts studied on the module
  • engaged with digital research techniques and methodologies through the use of Early English Books Online

Outline Syllabus

Course Structure

Week 11: Introduction: Working back from the Gothic novel: Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto

Week 12: Shakespeare’s Goths: Titus Andronicus

Week 13: Staging the Renaissance Gothic: Hamlet

Week 14: Folklore, Monks and Martyrs: Medieval Ghost Stories

Week 15: Supernatural Spaces: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Week 16: Independent Study Week

Week 17: Romance and Revenants: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight II [Essay 1 due]

Week 18: 'Strange Things are Delectable’: William Baldwin, Beware the Cat

Week 19: Horror in the Land of Faerie: Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene Books 1 and 2

Week 20: Sensing Fear: Thomas Nashe, The Terrors of the Night

Week 21: [Essay 2 due]

Set Texts

Students will be asked to purchase Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Broadview, 1992), Medieval Ghost Stories (Boydell and Brewer, 2006), Titus Andronicus (any edition), Hamlet (any edition) and The Faerie Queene (Penguin, 1979). The other primary texts will be offered as scanned texts via MOODLE and links to scholarly electronic archives. Students will be expected to bring hard and/or e-copies of all set texts to the weekly seminars.

Anon., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Broadview, 1992)

Anon., Medieval Ghost Stories, ed by Andrew Joynes  (Boydell and Brewer, 2006)

William Baldwin, Beware the Cat [EEBO: online]

Thomas Nashe, Terrors of the Night [EEBO: online]

William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (any edition)

William Shakespeare, Hamlet (any edition)

Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, ed by Thomas P. Roche (Penguin, 1979)

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (Project Gutenberg; online)

Assessment Proportions

  • Essay (s): 100%