also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Your degree is taught jointly by Lancaster’s Philosophy Department, which is ranked 7th, by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and our English Literature and Creative Writing Department, ranked 11th, by the Complete University Guide 2016.
You’ll learn how philosophical perspectives can be applied fruitfully to literature and your literary studies will elucidate the narrative structures and cultural functions of Philosophy. You’ll take various approaches to English and other literatures by diverse authors and will look at both the history of and contemporary debates in Philosophy.
You’ll start your degree with courses including English Literature and Introduction to Philosophy. As you progress, the scheme allows you to specialise according to your own interests and strengths, with a selection of second and third-year English Literature modules and options such as The Theory and Practice of Criticism; Literature and Film; Shakespeare; History of Philosophy; Philosophy of the Mind; and Philosophy of Science.
A Level AAB
Required Subjects A level English Literature or A level English Language and Literature grade A
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in a HL Literature subject
BTEC Considered alongside A level English Literature or A level English Language and Literature grade A
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via email@example.com
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module introduces you to some of the most vital debates in an English literary tradition that is constantly being rewritten and challenged, especially in the multicultural, postmodern era of the late twentieth century and beyond. The module starts by concentrating on poetry from the late sixteenth century to the present and examines the rich canonical tradition and how each generation of writers has responded to it. A range of literary genres is also covered including plays, films, short stories and novels in addition to poetry in order to develop the practice of close analytical reading Throughout the module attention is given to the working-class, women, black and Irish writers as well as mainstream English authors. The module also includes a Study Skills component and an introduction to some of the general theoretical issues of reading and interpretation.
This module introduces students to some of the central problems of philosophy and the theories produced in response to them. It also introduces some of the subject's technical concepts and vocabulary, and some of its techniques of reasoning and analysis. Reading includes both classical and contemporary material.
Philosophy has a significant role to play, both in acquainting students with some of the ideas which have helped shape Western culture, and in the critical understanding of ideas and methods in many other disciplines. The level of the module does not presuppose previous knowledge of philosophy. If students have studied philosophy before, the module will enable them to deepen and broaden their understanding of the subject and to improve their philosophical skills. The module aims not only to inform students with what philosophers have said but also to encourage them to engage with the issues. Topics will be drawn from the range of philosophical problems, approaches, and canonical figures.
This module seeks to look beyond the boundaries of traditional courses in English Literature by enabling you to explore a wide and exciting range of texts. The module covers world literatures in English (Rushdie, Munro, Atwood), to the literatures that have influenced the development of English (from the Bible and classical figures such as Ovid and Homer, through to Medieval and Early Modern authors such as Dante and Rabelais). It also considers modern and contemporary world authors in translation (Kafka, Borges, Salih and Murukami), to new media writing and the graphic novel.
This is the core course of English at Lancaster. It is designed to enable students to reflect on the ways in which they approach literature and to introduce them to key concepts in contemporary literary studies. By examining major thinkers like Marx, Freud, Foucault and Derrida, and examining key ideas like ideology, the unconscious, discourse and biopolitics, this course asks fundamental questions about the status and function of literature in society: What is literature? What makes it an object suitable for an academic discipline? Who reads it, produces it, and why? How is literature connected to the critical movements that seem to define literature even as they seek to appreciate and explain it? We ask questions about the relationship between author, text and reader, we analyse various theories about the process or practice of writing and reading as students, as critics, and in general as ‘consumers’ of literature in the culture of today. In relation to the English degree as a whole, 201 aims to equip students with the knowledge, experience and skill necessary to bring a greater sophistication, care and rigour to their literary studies in their final year.
In introducing students to the poetry, prose and drama of the eighteenth century, our emphasis will be on the energy and inventiveness which characterise the literature of this deeply divided period. The first term which covers the literature of 1700 to 1740, will focus of the varied achievements of Augustan satire (Pope, Swift, Gay) and on the development of formal realism in the early novel (Defoe, Richardson). In the second term (post-1740), we will pay particular attention to the work of Jane Austen, but will also look, more generally, at parody and the comic novel (e.g. Fielding and Sterne), and at the taste for Gothic and sentimental fiction.
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 by English-speaking Americans.
This course is divided into four key areas across the two terms: Revolution and Romanticism; Romantic Education: Women and Children; Politics and Poetics; the Gothic.
In the first term, 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. In the first half of the second term, we 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.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a good, broad introduction to some of the key themes in epistemology -the theory of knowledge.
It begins with a core question; What is knowledge? This leads on to questions about how knowledge relates to other things, like belief, and truth. Throughout the term students will see that it is much harder to answer the core question than one might initially think, raising a question of why it is so hard to give a clear and general, account of what knowledge is. Students will also look at sources of knowledge - especially, perception, self-knowledge and testimony. The module also explores some of the relationships between epistemology and ethics, ending with the question of whether we ever ought to refrain from seeking knowledge.
By the end of this module, students will be able to understand and discuss critically the central problems and theories of epistemology, and explain how epistemology relates to other areas of philosophy.
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of some historical and contemporary approaches to the subject of ethics. It addresses central issues by engaging with classical texts in the history of the subject, such as Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism.
The module will also explore selected topics in moral philosophy, such as the nature, strength and weakness of consequentialism, deontology, and virtue theory. In addition to this, students will study topics in meta-ethics, such as the ‘moral problem’, non-cognitivist realism, and quasi-realism.
Other topics covered include topics in applied and practical ethics, such as issues of life and death in biomedical practice, the ethics of war, and the ethics of personal life; as well as the nature of moral motivation and moral psychology.
Western philosophy has a long and rich history, and many of the questions occupying present-day philosophers have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years.
The exact structure of this module may vary from year to year, but core themes will normally include:
Students will study these problems, amongst others, by close consideration of a selection of texts from the history of Western philosophy. This may include selections from the ancient (classical), medieval, early modern (17th/18th centuries) period, and the 19th century. Thinkers who may be considered include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Scotus, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche.
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.).
This module is designed to improve students' knowledge and understanding of some key issues in metaphysics as determined by the syllabus. The module will focus primarily on some issues concerning space and time, the nature of physical objects and persons, and some key philosophical distinctions. Topics will include:
Studying this module should enable students to see connections between various philosophical issues that should be of value to them with regard to other philosophy modules that they are studying.
This module considers some of the difficulties involved in gaining knowledge about human societies. It focuses especially on economics and politics, disciplines which raise some of the largest questions about society – for example: Who gets what? Who rules whom? Can individual choices generate social change?
In this module students will not address such questions empirically, but instead step back to ask what sort of methods have been used to answer them, what sorts of modes of explanation or understanding are appropriate, and what assumptions are built into the ways economists and political scientists frame their enquiries. The aim of the module, then, is to critically examine methods and assumptions in both disciplines, in order to appreciate the scope and limits of their claims to knowledge.
This module considers philosophical issues that arise in both the natural and social sciences. With regard to the natural sciences, students will consider traditional accounts of scientific method and theory-testing, then examining philosophical challenges to the status of science as a rational form of enquiry. Particular consideration is given to four of the most important twentieth-century philosophers of science: Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend.
With regard to the social sciences, the module will ask whether endeavours such as sociology, economics, anthropology and history should really be counted as sciences, and then consider some of the special issues that arise in the study of human society. For example, how are we to understand other societies (for instance, in anthropology)? What is the place for individualism versus collectivism in social explanation (for example, in sociology and history)? What is the scientific status of social models based on postulates of rational choice (for example, in economics and politics)?
No scientific background is assumed on this module.
This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of connected topics in the theory of knowledge, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, drawing on both classical and contemporary writings. It examines issues such as: the nature and justification of our knowledge of the external world, and the relations between knowledge and belief; the mind-body (or mind-brain) problem; the place of mental life and bodily continuity in the identity of individuals; and the different theories of truth, meaning and the language-world relationship, including logical positivism.
This module begins by examining issues in the metaphysics of mind, before moving on to epistemological issues: How can we gain knowledge of our own mental states, or of other people’s? How should psychologists seek to investigate the mind?
For the most part, this module will be structured around contemporary texts.
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.
This course aims to introduce students to a wide range of Victorian literature, including novels, poetry, short stories, drama, and social criticism. It seeks to give students an understanding of the role played by that literature in the defining cultural debates of Victorian Britain, as well as explore literary conventions, innovations and debates. The course is structured around four major themes: ‘Progress’, ‘Community and Outsiders’, ‘Scandal, Sensation and Spectacle’ and ‘The Fallen Woman’. The aim of the course is to explore and interrogate the complexity of 'Victorian' attitudes within and across these areas.
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?
This module introduces central issues, problems and theories in philosophical aesthetics by critically examining specific topics in the philosophy of art, and by examining the theories of major figures who have contributed to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics. The module uses concrete examples from most of the arts, including painting, literature, film, and music, to illuminate theoretical debates and issues.
Topics and major aesthetic theorists covered may include the following (note that this list is not exhaustive and indicative only, not all topics will be covered) :
This course examines some of the literatures which have spoken to, from and for the African continent, mostly since 1950 when the great era of decolonization began. It is impossible to provide a comprehensive survey of this diverse field, and the course therefore covers mostly canonical material. The primary reading list refers to sub-Saharan African contexts, from black, white and Islamic perspectives and, of course, by women as well as men. These texts present an extraordinary fictional world, which opens immediately onto urgent realities, including the brutal 'Scramble for Africa', anti-colonial struggles and the state of nations thereafter.
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.??
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.
This module will cover British and American crime writing. It traces the development of crime fiction from the 1840s, clarifying its basic formulas, looking at the evolution of contrasting narrative structures and considering the historical significance of forms ranging from the classic whodunit to the hard-boiled thriller. Beginning with Poe and Doyle, the module moves on to the Golden Age of the detective story (Christie, Sayers, etc.), American tough guy crime stories (Hammett, Chandler, Jim Thompson, etc.), the contemporary noir thriller (British and American), black and feminist crime fiction (Chester Himes, Gillian Slovo) and the detective story’s postmodernist variants (e.g. Hjortsberg). The reading of novels and stories will be supplemented by a selection of films directed by Hitchcock, Mike Hodges, Carl Franklin, and Coen brothers and the Wachowski brothers. Sessions will consist of seminars, small group discussions and occasional mini-lectures.
This half-unit will examine the relationship between British fiction and literary theory as it has developed over the past thirty or so years. The course will examine a range of contemporary fiction upon which theory has had a formative impact. Novels by Julian Barnes, Malcolm Bradbury, A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Patricia Duncker, and David Lodge will be read in tandem with the theoretical writings from which they have drawn inspiration. There will be a particular emphasis on the leading French theorists, including Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida and Michael Foucault. The course aims to assess the creative possibilities opened up by radical literary theory, and to trace the ethical and cultural controversies which have surrounded the assimilation of French theory into English culture.
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’.
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 topical interest of a region that has experienced, so far this century, the ‘war on terror’; the ‘Arab Spring’ with its wintery aftermath; civil war; sectarian violence; the rise and fall of ‘ISIS’; and a mass refugee crisis. These events provide settings for a body of work that is also of 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 questions of production and reception, as well as the historical and social concerns that shape contemporary Middle Eastern literature; the representational work that it does; and reasons for its growing international visibility. We will study novels, memoirs, short stories, and drama, in English/translation into English, from the wider region, with a particular emphasis on the Arab world. No prior knowledge is needed.
This module aims to introduce the work of some key figures in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, such as Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Hannah Arendt and Habermas. The approach taken is predominantly philosophical rather than historical, and will involve critically examining claims and arguments about such matters as the existence and nature of human freedom, the relationships between knowledge, truth, power and morality, alienation and human labour, and the possibility of mutual recognition and community. It is expected that students will engage with the original texts, formulate the central arguments to be found in them and assess their cogency.
The module begins by looking at Nietzsche’s Toward a Genealogy of Morality, before turning to Foucault, who adapts Nietzsche’s method of historical analysis in order to challenge assumptions about progress toward freedom and welfare in modern societies. Finally students will study Arendt and her political thought on totalitarian politics using a parallel method of historical analysis.
This module is run by the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, with the support of the FASS Engagement team and central Careers. It aims to enhance students’ employability by providing an assessed work placement opportunity as an option on the curriculum. It will also encourage students actively to think about the transferability of skills gained through the study of English and/or Creative Writing. The Department, via the FASS Engagement team, will set up a number of work placements in the (broadly defined) culture, heritage and creative sectors: with, for example, publishers, museums, newspapers, heritage sites, and arts venues. Students may alternatively source their own work placements, subject to prior discussion with the convenor.
Students must be prepared to pay their own transport/accommodation costs, though a small Departmental contribution toward travel can be applied for. It is expected that placements will be either close to Lancaster University or to the student’s home. Students typically work for 30-40 hours with their host organization (not all of will necessarily be on-site) in the Lent term. They maintain contact with the convenor throughout the placement period. Placement providers are required to complete risk assessment and health and safety forms and to ensure an induction process. Both students and placement providers are required to sign a Learning Agreement.
Please note that you cannot take both this module and ENGL 376 Schools Volunteering.
Please also note that the maximum number of students on this course is fixed in 2018-19.
This module will examine philosophical issues that arise in connection with specific sciences, in particular biology and medicine, as opposed to the general philosophy of science.
The following topics will be covered:
This unit is compulsory for all English Literature majors, and is taken in the Third Year. The course is intended to give students the opportunity to pursue a topic of their choice in intensive detail, developing research, extended writing and bibliographical skills in a programme of directed independent study. Students will complete a dissertation of 10,000 words, which must be word processed and properly annotated and have an appropriate bibliography. The final assessment will take into account presentation (including annotation and bibliography) as well as the academic content of the dissertation.
From Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow (2003) to Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood (2010), notions of outlawry haunt twenty-first century popular culture and recent academic debate. A fascination with renegade figures is also found in the early modern period. Developing first and second-year work on critical and theoretical approaches to literature, the module examines representations of Robin Hood and pirates in a range of generically distinct sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts.
The aims of this module are to…
This course examines the ways in which England and Englishness have been presented and constructed in poetry and fiction in the modern period with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will consider the ways in which belonging, inclusion, character, landscape and nationhood are produced in imagery, narrative, performativity and aesthetics. Englishness is often invoked explicitly in fictional works but it also works through more subtle forms of gesture, landscape and aesthetics. Students will be introduced to extracts of criticism on national identity and theories of Englishness but the primary focus of the course will be on fictions of England and Englishness and how texts interpolate English subjects and English places.
This module focuses upon some key aspects of the history of 20th Century Philosophy.
The module begins by examining a revolution in philosophy at the very start of the 20th century with the origins of analytic philosophy. It then focuses on Wittgenstein’s radical philosophy (or anti-philosophy). Wittgenstein’s own philosophical development brings to the fore a deep schism, or tension, that has existed throughout the century’s philosophy, one which lays between those who hold that philosophy should align itself with natural science and mathematics, and those who reject this view. Students will examine whether philosophy should seek to emulate the natural sciences and illustrate the tension between scientistic and humanistic philosophy via mid-20th century debate about the nature of historical explanation.
The final lectures look at the distinction between analytic and continental philosophy in the 20th century, and upon the emergence of applied philosophy later in the century, asking whether philosophy can ever really be applied to real-life problems.
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 this 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. Although the literature on the course focuses on the Christian tradition (in both its Catholic and Protestant guises), we will also consider the way that other traditions (from Eastern Religions to Paganism to unbelief) and more mystical accounts of belief (e.g. theosophy) shape the writing of the period.
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.
This module provides an introduction to formal logic together with an examination of various philosophical issues that arise out of it. The syllabus includes a study of the languages of propositional and quantificational logic, how to formalize key logical concepts within them, and how to prove elementary results using formal techniques.
Additional topics include identity, definite descriptions, modal logic and its philosophical significance, and some criticisms of classical logic.
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.
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.
This module will be concerned with a selection of difficult but fascinating Victorian texts which in various ways violate the dominant realist code of their day and thus explore the borderland between sense and non-sense, seriousness and laughter, centre and margin. In this respect, the texts are written by those whom, after Michel Foucault, we might call 'Other Victorians.' Indeed, a unifying theme or motif will be the philosophical notion of ‘the Other,’ as first formulated by Hegel at the beginning of the nineteenth century and subsequently reworked by such contemporary theorists as Levinas and Derrida. The module will explore how, in Victorian writing, otherness is staged and imagined in all sorts of ways – including, for example, place, religion, science, consciousness, the future, thought, matter, dimension, tears, boats, and the face. Given that the texts under discussion all, in one sense or another, challenge conventional or rationalist modes of realising the world and do so in ways that raise a number of philosophical questions, students will be encouraged to respond to the texts both imaginatively and philosophically.
This module has the following Subject Specific aims:
Are psychopaths evil or sick? Should the NHS pay for the treatment of nicotine addiction? Is it right for shy people to take character-altering drugs?
Whether a condition is considered a disease often has social, economic and ethical implications. It tends to be taken for granted that what it is to be healthy can be identified and is desirable. Similarly, it is assumed that those who are diseased or disabled can be diagnosed and require help. In this module we question these assumptions via examining the key concepts of normality, disease, illness, mental illness, and disability.
‘[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’.
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.
The course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to John Ruskin, a key interdisciplinary figure from nineteenth-century cultural history. On the basis of his critical writings, Ruskin's thought and judgements will be pursued from their foundations in landscape, painting and architecture to their applications to moral, social, religious, scientific, educational and ecological issues. A particular and distinctive opportunity of the course will be its on-site access to the actual manuscripts and drawings held in the world-famous Ruskin Library here at Lancaster University
This module will run as a partnership between the Department of English and Creative Writing and the LUSU Volunteering Unit. It will give students planning to go into teaching a chance to experience teaching and classroom practice first-hand, at either primary or secondary level, in a local school during the Lent Term. The 10 week part-time placement will involve classroom observation and teacher assistance, and, in most cases, an opportunity to teach the class or to work with a designated group of pupils. It will also allow students to develop skills around a special project or activity carried out in the school related to the teaching of English. There will be interviews, presentations, and a rigorous training requirement with LUSU Volunteering Unit, including police vetting, and the actual placement in the school, arranged by LUSU staff, will then follow in the second term of your third year.
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.
This module sets out to explore three major American novelists who have recently written trilogies: Cormac McCarthy (The Border Trilogy), Philip Roth (The American Trilogy), and Marilynne Robinson’s three interlinked novels set in the fictional town of Gilead. In doing so, as well as enabling an extended engagement with the work of single writers, it will consider what the attractions of this extended form appear to be, and what it enables. It will also consider whether the form has proved especially beguiling and appropriate for American writers, and why that might be so. It will also explore how far the decision to write a trilogy seems to have been prospective as opposed to retrospective. The three writers selected offer considerable variety in terms both of style and subject matter, inhabiting the genre with a highly personal inflection; it might be argued that Robinson, the most recent, is the most apparently conventional in her practice (although her trilogy may well turn into a tetralogy). All three, however, are distinctively American, and the breadth of their form may reflect the fictional ambition seeking to ‘find/ Bravura adequate to this great hymn’ (Wallace Stevens). The course should interest those wishing to engage with 20th and 21st century American fiction as a means of thinking about America, but comes with a health warning: it requires, week by week, the careful reading of a substantial novel. ENGL 204 is a desirable but not compulsory preparation for it.
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
This module examines the work of three of the great writers of the Romantic period, the poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, and the novelist Mary Shelley. Famously, these three writers lived and worked together during the summer of 1816, an episode that produced two of the dominant myths of modern literature, Frankenstein and the Vampire. Throughout their careers these writers were engaged in a creative and critical conversation with each other that addressed major themes including: conceptions of the heroic; the possibilities of political change; literary, scientific and biological creation; the East; transgressive love; gender roles; and the Gothic. The module will provide an opportunity to study these writers’ works in detail and to consider them within their historical, cultural and intellectual contexts.
This course examines the representation of people who are not who they claim to be -- impostors, impersonators and charlatans -- in modern literary fiction from the nineteenth century to the present day. We will consider both the ethics of impersonation (with a particular focus on questions of trust, deceit and manipulation) and the aesthetics of impersonation (the narrative conventions that have evolved to conceal and reveal the figure of the impostor). The course will provide students with a detailed knowledge of different kinds of impersonation and different motives for imposture; it will consider the affinities and differences between impostor narratives and other major narrative traditions, such as the Bildungsroman and the detective novel; and it will reflect on why the figure of the impostor occupies such a significant and problematic place in the modern imagination.
This module examines the representation of sleep and sleep-related states in literature and culture. Most of us will spend about a third of our lives asleep – which is to say that we will spend more time sleeping that doing anything else in our lives. But if sleep is arguably the most common human activity, it is also the least describable. Can sleep – a state that separates us from all sense of time, from language, and from rational self-awareness – even count as a region of human experience? Or is it simply a void that separates one day from the next? How, if at all, can the ‘void’ of sleep be represented in literature and culture? In what ways has literature shaped itself to fill this void? And how has literature responded to the erosion of sleep by modern industrial and post-industrial cultures?
This module will be of interest to students wishing to explore Anglophone fiction in another national context and in an international frame. The Indian novel in English is a fascinating, prolific domain of world literature that, particularly since the publication of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (1981), has generated a great deal of critical excitement.
The module explores chronologically a range of Anglophone Indian (or 'Indo-Anglian') novels, placing Rushdie's work in literary, historical and cultural context. We will explore, in particular, the relationship between nation and narration, or ways in which writers use different forms and styles to grapple with the diverse realities of modern India, its histories, and its diasporas. Engaging a range of perspectives (gendered, religious and regional), we will consider how and why fiction reflects key aspects of twentieth-century history, such as the legacies of colonial rule, the independence struggle, 'untouchability', Partition, women's rights, democracy, communalist tensions, and migration.
The course aims to give a detailed overview of the various ways in which the genre of literary utopia developed from the Renaissance to the present, including its ‘migration’ into science fiction in the later twentieth century. A unifying theme throughout will be: how can literary texts plausibly speak of hope, justice and human perfectibility without falling into mere sociological exposition, or falling foul of the accusation that, in literary terms it is ‘the devil who has the best tunes’. Students will be encouraged to unite a historically contextualised approach, for example looking at the political issues specific to the original moment of each utopian work, with one that is theoretically and generically informed. We shall pay particular attention both to the ways utopias build upon and contest what their predecessors have achieved, and to the complex interaction of ideological content and literary form within each individual work.
This course treats the theory, history, and practice of Victorian autobiographies, providing students with a detailed knowledge of different kinds of autobiographies by different kinds of authors at different times in the Victorian era. Students who take this course will acquire a detailed knowledge of a significant tradition in Victorian writing.
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.
This course will be attractive to anyone interested in the creative process and how we can respond to it. The course aims to teach you to think in a radically new way about texts by looking at how they come into being, and studying the process of creativity through draft and manuscript materials from famous Romantic writers (Wordsworth, Blake, Keats, Byron, Mary Shelley). The published text will never look the same again!
We will explore the processes of composition in major Romantic and Victorian writers from the earliest stages to the production of the published text and its first reception. As well as thinking about the habits, anxieties and strategies of individual writers (male and female) we will also be looking at the problems such issues create for later readers and editors. At a textual level the course will engage with a number of different forms: contemporary journals, letters, diaries and review articles, considering how to make best use of these forms. The course will trace the changes made to a text through different draft versions and will draw upon manuscript (transcription) material in order to teach you how to respond to such material.
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.
Why are Castles the setting and site of so much writing, from Gawain and the Green Knight to modern fantasy like Game of Thrones? This module uses the historic site of Lancaster Castle to explore these questions by investigating historical fiction, drama, testimonies, poetry, political tracts associated with the Castle and its history. Although, or perhaps because, Lancaster Castle is owned by the monarch in her title as Duke of Lancaster, it is the site of some of the most significant writings subverting centralised power embodied by the Church and State. What different kinds of protest do these writings give voice to? You will study a selection of texts in the historic site to which they relate as it is restored. You will thus learn how heritage sites are constructed and used by institutions and by writers of current and historical fiction, testimonies and political tracts, songs, poetry and drama.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
A Philosophy degree from Lancaster teaches you to analyse problems from a multi-dimensional perspective, encouraging you to approach issues creatively and with an enquiring mind. Your study of Philosophy and Literature will also cultivate a wide range of interpersonal and communication skills that are highly valued by employers. All this will stand you in good stead for careers involving analysis, assessment and the weighing-up of arguments.
Many of our graduates go on to careers traditionally associated with English and creative writing, such as publishing and the media, teaching and librarianship. Others find roles in business, administration and professional services, where their skills of self-expression and critical understanding of complex information are equally valued.
A number of our English Literature and Philosophy graduates regularly go on to take higher degrees, at Lancaster or another institution.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework