also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Our English Literature degree provides a thorough grounding in a wide range of authors, genres, historical periods, literary movements, techniques and critical approaches. We use cutting-edge approaches to literary study, and allow you to specialise in genres and periods that particularly appeal to you.
In your first and second years, mandatory courses include Introduction to English Literature and The Theory and Practice of Criticism; optional courses include World Literature, Renaissance to Restoration Literature, Romantic Literature, Victorian Literature, Literature and Film, and American Literature to 1900. Third-year English courses range from medieval to contemporary literature. We offer a wide variety of full- and half-year modules addressing an array of topics, authors, theories, contexts, and media. In your final year you’ll also choose the materials, issues and themes you’d like to explore in greater depth by writing a Dissertation on a topic that particularly appeals to you.
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
Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with 36 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 9 Level 3 credits at Merit
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
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.
Course Aims and Objectives:
This course is divided into key areas across the two terms: Revolution; The Self; Politics and Poetics; and the Gothic.
We will begin by examining revolutionary writing of the Romantic period, including the poetry of Anna Barbauld, William Blake, and William Wordsworth, and the prose of Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and Mary Wollstonecraft. We will then consider ideas of the self in the poetry of Charlotte Smith and Letitia Landon, Lord Byron’s Manfred, and the labouring-class writing of John Clare.
We also examine the relationship between politics and poetics for the second-generation poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and then, the slave narratives of Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and the orientalism of S. T. Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey. Finally, 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 from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Joanna Baillie’s play De Montfort, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
The course aims to give students a sense of the diverse range of writers in this period. We will use the close knowledge of key texts to tackle some of the wider, more abstract ideas such as: nature, the imagination, and the sublime. We will also consider literary ideas within a broader social, historical and philosophical context.
This module surveys formal, generic, historical, cultural, narrative, and theoretical relationships between literature, film, and other media across a range of periods, genres, topics, and cultures, paying particular attention to the practice and analysis of literary film adaptation, while also addressing some other modes of literary adaptation (e.g. television, graphic novels, tie-in merchandise, mobile phone applications, etc.). Specific topics in 2018 include theories of adaptation, how to read graphic novels, how to read films, how to read television, literature and classical Hollywood cinema, novels and TV serialization, prose fiction and film, poetry and film, theatre and film, various genres across various media (Gothic, crime, war, science fiction, romance, westerns), the author on screen, adaptation and animation, and a screenwriting workshop.
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.
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: ‘Personal Experience and Perspective,’ ‘Socio-Political Change,’ ‘Realism, Idealism and Fantasy,’ and ‘Falls and Losses.’ The aim of the course is to explore and interrogate the complexity of 'Victorian' attitudes within and across these areas.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
This module will give students the opportunity to study all the major works of one of the most celebrated novelists in English literary history. It will combine close attention to the stylistic textures and narrative strategies of Jane Austen’s fiction with broader consideration of the ways in which these texts invite – or resist – theoretical interpretation.
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.
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 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.
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 looks at how acts of desire, murder, fake and ‘real’ deaths are represented on stage in early modern drama. It explores how experiences of death and desire are always gendered. In early modern theatres, the playing of female roles by boy actors frequently demonstrated the performativity of gender for all – on stage and beyond. The course will explore how the bodies of boy actors dramatized a range of sexual orientations, representing female desire and staging same sex desire at the same time. We will consider how modern films and productions of early modern plays create similar (and different) gender-effects. We will study texts by Marlowe, Lyly, Heywood, Middleton, Webster, Wroth using a mixture of discussion, analysis of films / productions and short practical explorations (getting the text ‘on its feet’). The module will ask when and how can death be comic in performance? Does outlawed desire always lead to tragedy? How did drama help to shape human experiences of desire and violence? No previous experience of (or expertise in) acting is necessary but you will be required to think in terms of performance because the module will culminate in a series of short presentations and performances by the group.
‘[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 questions 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
The module will be taught through a combination of seminars and workshops. Earlier weeks will be focussed on introducing students to the key elements of adapting for radio and theatre; there will be specific tasks relating to the weekly subject. As the term progresses, students will develop their own longer pieces for assessment. Specific adaptations will be analysed in script form, in broadcast form and (where possible) through viewing live recording archives. Topics covered will include:
The module aims to enable students to write script adaptations for the stage and radio. Students will explore the effects of choice when it comes to source text (prose fiction, poetry or non-fiction) and the medium for adaptation (radio or theatre). They will experience the editorial demands of the adaptation process, and will engage with both the overlapping and different strategies for realisation in theatre and radio.
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 module will be centred upon three genres which emerge in the mid-late Victorian period: Detective Fiction; Adventure Stories; Children’s Fiction. It will focus on key texts and writers within the emerging genres by looking at how certain conventions, principles and core concerns develop, as well as considering issues of literary status and canonicity.
The module studies one key text each week but will make connections across texts. Within each session you will explore texts in terms of overlapping themes within a genre, and the issues raised for how subjects are interpreted; as well as thinking about issues of narrative structure and voice, and the involvement of the reader. At the start of each three week period there will be a short introductory lecture establishing themes/ideas and generic issues for the form.
The module will also encourage you to consider the differences made by different forms of representation (e.g. serialisation for adventure stories; illustrations alongside the story for Holmes; initial dramatic representation of Peter Pan).
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.
Many of our graduates have gone on to successful postgraduate study and careers in professional fields such as publishing, journalism, writing, television and the media, teaching, and librarianship.
Our Creative Writing graduates have published their own stories, novels, and poems with major publishers and have had their scripts produced in national festivals and on national radio. The transferable skills you gain on this degree – communication, self-expression, research and critical understanding – also open up a wide range of business and public-sector roles in areas such as marketing, advertising, law, social work and professional services. A sizeable proportion of our graduates take up employment overseas. Other graduates go onto further study, not only in English and Creative Writing, but also in Journalism, Publishing, Law, Public Relations and Business. Recent graduates have gone on to train as speech therapists, teachers of English in the UK and overseas, computer programmers and consultants, videogame storywriters, bankers, chartered accountants, personnel managers and social workers.
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.
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Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework