Modules for course 8H25 | BA/ENGL
BA English Literature

These were the modules for this course in the 2018–19 academic year.

You can also view the modules offered in the years: 2019–20; 2020–21.

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Year 1 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • QXE-1013: Reading, Thinking, Writing (20)
    The course will include analytical reading of drama, prose, poetry and film in English from the medieval period to the present era; an introduction to critical and theoretical approaches to the reading of literature; integration of close textual study and critical/theoretical approaches, as the foundation for all other modules in the School; practical development of skills of literary commentary, essay writing, and critical discussion.

Optional Modules

100 credits from:

  • QXP-1001: Creative Writing: Prose (20) (Semester 1 + 2)
    This module, compulsory for creative writing students, introduces you to a wide range of creative prose-writing, both fictional and documentary and you will examine creative techniques used in short stories, autobiography, memoir, travel-writing, critical essays/literary reviews and play-scripts. It will include practical sessions in which students will begin to produce their own work in these genres, and group discussion of students’ work in progress. We will discuss the ways in which these genres are distinct from one another and yet share certain features and may in fact be merged by deliberate techniques of hybridisation. We will ask such questions as how a writer of fiction handles the transformation of personal experience as compared to the writer of memoirs. Can imaginative, speculative biographies enhance rather than falsify our knowledge of their subjects? How do writers tackle the adaptation of their work from one medium to another? As well as examining, from the practitioner's point of view, texts by leading authors and critics, you will be encouraged to work independently on your own material, helped by writing-exercises and longer-term assignments designed to stimulate ideas and sharpen technique. You will be encouraged to present your work for class discussion and, by receiving and giving feedback in a supportive atmosphere, you will develop your skills as a close reader and an articulate critic.
  • QXE-1003: Intro. to Medieval Literature (20) (Semester 1)
    Introduction to Medieval Literature offers students the opportunity to study a variety of Old English literature that is evocative of the intricate decoration on the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon hoard; riddles, Old English battle poetry and The Dream of The Rood (taught in translation). In the second part of the module students will encounter Middle English drama, romance poetry and Chaucerian verse in its original language. The transition between the Old to the Middle English period will be analysed in terms of specific themes and motifs, such as the development from pagan Germanic heroism to Christian values. Chivalry, the comic and bawdy, and piety will be the main foci in the Middle English part of the course, explored through a range of poetry, prose, drama and life writing. This module is an ideal ‘taster’ for the medieval literature modules available at levels two and three.
  • QXP-1003: Creative Writing: Poetry (20) (Semester 1 + 2)
    This module, compulsory for creative writing students, introduces you to the range of forms available to the poet in the twenty-first century. You will read a variety of poetry and respond through producing your own poems. You will be asked to work in a variety of forms and to justify your reasons for choosing them. The module will demonstrate the ways in which poetry is an art form particularly well suited to expressing the experience of contemporary everyday life. We will also look at connections between poetry and music and the visual arts as well as the impact of digital technologies. Poetry will be presented both in the written and spoken form, and students will be encouraged to consider the performance of poetry both in class and by attending and reviewing recommended evening poetry readings by leading poets. .
  • QXE-1004: The Literature of Laughter (20) (Semester 2)
    The module is organised on a chronological basis, moving from Chaucer to Monty Python and beyond, taking in on the way a selection of texts by Shakespeare, Wycherley, Pope, Swift, Austen, Dickens, Twain, as well as Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum and an anthology of comic verse. The lectures place the texts in their historical and cultural contexts, while the seminars and study groups focus on the week’s specified text for close reading and discussion. Both the lectures and the smaller groups are consistently concerned with the module’s over-riding questions about the nature of literary laughter. Concepts such as wit and satire are analysed, along with some of the recurring topics of humorous writing: religion, politics, sex and gender. The major functions of laughter – for stereotyping, for self-defence, for reform, rebellion, or release of tension – are highlighted for both their continuity and their difference in specific literary and cultural contexts.
  • QXE-1014: The Gothic in Literature/Film (20) (Semester 2)
    This introductory course focuses mainly on Gothic writing from the late eighteenth century onwards, although it begins by looking at examples of the medieval and early-modern grotesque that help to set early Gothic novels in context. Organized in a loosely chronological way, this module is particularly sensitive to the ways in which Gothic texts have been used to represent contemporary cultural anxieties (such as the New Woman in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, or New Technology in the early years of the twenty-first), but it will also examine how the Gothic has been used to articulate political resistance, for example in anti-imperialist, post-colonial, and feminist works. It will also pay particular attention to the Gothic as a visual form, both analysing the representation of Gothic spaces in eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature and art, and investigating the importance of the genre to the development of cinema, from silent-era German expressionism to the present. While the precise topics covered by the module will vary from year to year, themes will include some of the following: Terror and the Sublime; Monstrosity and Deviance; Doubles and Doppelgängers; Vampires and Sexualities; Parody and Pastiche; Domesticity and ‘The Uncanny’; Cybergothic and the Post-human; Feminist and Postcolonial Rewritings; Gothic and the Young Adult Novel. Students will situate texts within their historical and political contexts, and will also gain an awareness of a range of important theories (from Freud’s notion of the Uncanny to Derrida’s theories of hauntology) that will be important to the study of literature in the rest of their degree.
  • QXE-1015: Landmarks in Literature (20) (Semester 1)
    The specific texts studied will vary from year to year, but the module will include nineteenth-century works (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle); English ‘classical’ stories of the early twentieth century (e.g. Agatha Christie); American ‘hard boiled’ versions (e.g. Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler), and modernist, postmodernist and other variants (e.g. Jorge Luis Borges, Sara Paretsky, Walter Mosley, Paul Auster). Film and television adaptations may also be included. The module will also situate the texts in relevant historical and cultural contexts, and explore them via key concepts in literary theory.
  • QXE-1016: Children's Fiction (20) (Semester 2)

Year 2 Modules

Optional Modules

120 credits from:

  • QXP-2001: C/Writing: Poetry & Short Fict (20) (Semester 1 + 2)
    This double-thin module is designed to help solve the problem that inexperienced writers have of writing in ways that are too abstract and general. You will be set exercises that sharpen dialogue and assist with the depiction of place in fiction, and exercises that demonstrate how images are most effectively evoked in poems. These ‘showing’ devices will then be placed in context by the use of models that indicate the importance of ‘telling’, that indicate how scenic devices in fiction are framed by direct authorial intervention, and how images in poems are linked to statements that further define and complicate them. Students are required to attend and review three evening poetry-readings to be given by leading poets during the course.
  • QXE-2003: Jonson to Johnson (20) (Semester 2)
  • QXP-2004: Creative Writing: The Novel (20) (Semester 1 + 2)
    Creative Writing: The Novel will guide you through the ways and means of writing a novel. You will be taught methods of composition and creation of novels, including practical and analytical consideration of novelistic structure and design, viewpoint, voice and role-play, and developing style and tone. It also includes, with reference to the practical application and consideration of these elements, consideration of the variety of forms relevant to the contemporary novel, comparing and contrasting novels, present and past, with other forms of creative writing.
  • QXE-2005: Victorian Literature (20) (Semester 1)
    The Victorians lived in an era of change and contradictions: a culture in which some reaped immense rewards from mechanised industry, but feared the idea of 'mechanism'; a period which saw the growth of cities and democracy, but was attracted to images of medieval feudalism. These themes will be examined, along with: realism in the Victorian novel; the narrators of the Victorian novel; ideas of truth in art and fiction; the figure of the intellectual or 'sage'; the domestic sphere; children and orphans; women as writers and members of Victorian society; the important relationship between notions of scientific 'truth' and religious 'faith', and ideas of nationality and race as expressed in the work of Irish, Scottish and Welsh authors working within concepts associated with the British empire. This course looks at a broad range of texts including novels, poetry and essays. Authors studied may include Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, John Ruskin, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Robert Stevenson, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde.
  • QXP-2005: Transformative Writing (20) (Semester 1)
    Some of today's well known works of literature were produced by writers 'writing back' to and transforming certain source materials. Examples include Peter Carey's prize-winning tnrsformation of Dickens' 'Great Expectations' in 'Jack Maggs' (1997), and Gregory Maguire's transformation of Baum's 'Wizard of Oz' in 'Wicked: The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West' (1995). This module examines the ideas and chanllenges of transformative writing, how such writing differs from adaptation, and how professional writers have employed it in their works. Students will be introduced to the practice of responding through creative writing, and given the chance to select their own source material (of whatever kind) in order to experiment and 'write back' to it. Students will also have the opportunity to experience and reflect upon the nature of a negotiated writing project through the use of an initial writing contract (in weeks one and two)
  • QXP-2009: Creative Non-Fiction (20) (Semester 2)
  • QXE-2013: Renaissance and Reformation (20) (Semester 1)
    This course offers an introduction to the `Golden Age¿ of English literature, an exciting period of cultural change which encompasses the Reformation, the rise of a culture of individualism, and the English Revolution of the 1640s and 1650s. Among the modes of writing produced in these turbulent circumstances are poetic forms such as songs, sonnets, epigrams and pastoral epic; dramatic genres such as revenge tragedy and city comedy; and prose works such as autobiographical confessions, pamphlets and fiery sermons. Texts week 1. William Shakespeare, Henry V 2. Philip Sidney, Apology for poetry and all sonnets in Norton from Astrophil and Stella 3. Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta 4. Edmund Spenser, book 1 of The Faerie Queene (in Norton) 5. William Shakespeare, Othello 6. John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi (in Norton) 7. reading week 8. John Donne, Songs and Sonnets, the Elegies,and the Holy Sonnets (all those in the Norton) 9. George Herbert and Henry Vaughan (all poems in the Norton) 10. John Milton, Paradise Lost (books 1-4, in Norton) 11. John Dryden, The Conquest of Granada 12. Etheridge, The Man of Mode Editions ¿ no preference.
  • QXE-2019: Contemporary Writing (Lit) (20) (Semester 2)
    ‘Contemporary Literatures’ introduces students to the first postmodern texts in the 1950s, and takes them right up to literature from the present day. The course asks students to investigate how literature (across a range of genres) responds to the broad historical trends and specific events of the age. While these might include residual literary traditions from the 1950s such as the theatre of ‘angry young men’ and ‘Movement’ poetry, the module will initially focus on the emergence of postmodernity. It will go on to consider how the Anglophone literary field has became more international in the second half of the twentieth century, witnessing the emergence of national literary traditions in a range of former colonies. New and contemporary movements and traditions in Anglophone literature will be explored in the second part of the course. These might include British Asian literature, post 9/11 literature, recent American drama, eco-poetry and the effect on literature of recent digital innovation.
  • QXE-2020: The Romantic Period in Britain (20) (Semester 1)
    The Romantic Period (c. 1785 -1832) was marked by social change, political strife and a growth in print culture. In many ways it was the start of the modern age, as Britain sought to define itself both internally and within a global context. This course introduces students to both canonical and non-canonical texts of the period and the ways in which they both shaped and reflected wider social and cultural concerns. It will guide students through key areas of current scholarship of the period so that they may refine their understanding of the relationship between texts and their contexts. In order to question what the term ‘Romanticism’ may entail, this course focuses not only on certain authors and texts from this period but also what may be termed Romantic spaces, including the home, nation, metropolis (both London and Edinburgh will feature prominently), border spaces, natural or picturesque settings (including Tintern Abbey and nearby Snowdon), reading rooms, theatres, the boxing ring and galleries.
  • QXE-2024: Alfred Hitchcock (20) (Semester 2)
    Alfred Hitchcock is perhaps the most notable example of a director whose films were popular both with audiences and with critics seeking to establish the credibility of film as an art form. His work provides a case-study of theories of authorship; of different national cinemas and studio systems, and of a particular genre, the thriller. In addition, the popularity and accessibility of Hitchcock’s films also raise questions concerning narrative, spectatorial pleasure, the gaze, and gender, and consequently provide an opportunity to explore the interrelation and limits of film theory and film practice
  • QXE-2027: Literature and Modernity (20) (Semester 1)
    Literature and Modernity examines literature about, or by writers from, Britain and Ireland in a period bracketed by the emergence of proto-modernist writing in the late 1890s and the emergence in the early 1950s of texts that would later be seen as postmodern. This period in Western Europe witnessed unprecedented changes in the modes of production, in relations between the sexes and between the classes, and in the development of new cultural forms like radio and cinema. While these originated in the Victorian period, they were accelerated by the social and psychological impact of the First World War, global depression, the rise of fascism, another catastrophic World War and the start of the nuclear age, historical factors that make the study of literature from this period especially rewarding. Students will study some of the ways in which authors responded to these cataclysmic shifts by considering work from a range of critical perspectives. These may include the literary movement (for example, modernism), broad historical change (for example, changes in gender roles), a major historical event (for example, the Second World War), genre, or recent trends in criticism which encourage us to look at this period’s writing from a new angle.
  • QXE-2101: Beowulf to Malory (20) (Semester 2)
    Seminar list/lecture list Week 1 Historical and Cultural Overview of the Old English Period Week 2 Beowulf Week 3 The Old English Elegies Week 4 Christian Heroes Week 5 Chaucer: Canterbury Tales: General Prologue and the Franklin's Prologue and Tale Week 6 Chaucer: the Nun's Priest's Prologue and Tale Week 7: NO LECTURES OR SEMINAR Week 8 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Week 9 Malory, The Morte Darthur, I Week 10 Malory, The Morte Darthur, II Week 11 Henryson (photocopies to be provided) Week 12 NO LECTURES; revision seminar
  • QXL-2222: History of English (20) (Semester 2)
    1. Studying the History of English. 2. The Sounds and Writing of English 3. Causes and Mechanisms of Language Change. 4. The Indo-European Language Family and Proto-Indo European. 5. Germanic and the Development of English. 6. The Sounds and Words of Old English. 7. The Grammar of Old English. 8. The Rise of Middle English: Words and Sounds 9. The Grammar of Middle English and the Rise of a Written Standard. 10. The Sounds and Inflections of Early Modern English. 11. Early Modern English Verbal Constructions and Eighteenth-Century Prescriptivism. 12. Modern English.
  • Students must take (at least) 1 module dealing with Literature before 1800 and 1 from post-1800 module. Students may also take no more than one Creative Writing module, if prerequisites have been met. It is possible to choose 1(approved) elective module from outside the School.

Year 3 Modules

Compulsory Modules

Semester 1

  • QXE-3099: The English Dissertation (40)
    This module involves the production of an extended piece of critical writing of a length and quality appropriate to the culmination of the undergraduate degree scheme. Drawing on knowledge and critical methodologies learned earlier in the degree, students will be assisted via lectures and individual supervisions in devising, refining, developing and presenting a substantial piece of critical work on a topic of their choosing. The series of introductory lectures and workshops will focus on how to develop the initial research idea into a workable project presented in appropriate scholarly form. Critical self-reflection will be developed via the proposal and oral presentation in the first semester, and via discussions with the supervisor, which are held at key stages in the development of the project in both semesters.

Semester 2

  • QXE-3099: The English Dissertation
    This module involves the production of an extended piece of critical writing of a length and quality appropriate to the culmination of the undergraduate degree scheme. Drawing on knowledge and critical methodologies learned earlier in the degree, students will be assisted via lectures and individual supervisions in devising, refining, developing and presenting a substantial piece of critical work on a topic of their choosing. The series of introductory lectures and workshops will focus on how to develop the initial research idea into a workable project presented in appropriate scholarly form. Critical self-reflection will be developed via the proposal and oral presentation in the first semester, and via discussions with the supervisor, which are held at key stages in the development of the project in both semesters.

Optional Modules

80 credits from:

  • QXE-3012: Detective Fiction (20) (Semester 1)
    This module covers nineteenth-century works by Poe, Collins and Conan Doyle; English ‘classical’ stories of the early twentieth century (Chesterton, Christie); American ‘hard boiled’ versions (Hammett, Chandler), and modernist and postmodernist variants (Borges, Auster). The module will situate the text in some historical and cultural contexts, and focus on the relationship between form and ideology in the genre.
  • QXE-3022: Shakespeare and EM Literature (20) (Semester 1)
  • QXE-3028: Literature in the Community (20) (Semester 1)
  • QXE-3034: Arthurian Literature (20) (Semester 2)
    This module will consider a selection of the best writing about the Arthurian legend, from the ninth century to the twentieth, with the aim of showing the development and use of this legend throughout a very long period. The choice of texts may be vary from year to year, but is likely to include the Mabinogion, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Malory, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Mark Twain and T.H. White. The main themes that inform the legend will be discussed alongside the different writers’ agendas in adapting and manipulating the core elements of the tradition.
  • QXE-3080: Chaucer: Comedy, Calamity and (20) (Semester 2)
    This module provides an opportunity to examine a range of works by Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the most interesting and important authors of late medieval English literature. Through an analysis of the Canterbury Tales alongside The House of Fame, The Book of the Duchess, Troilus and Criseyde, and selections from the Legend of Good Women, Chaucer’s literary accomplishments will be examined with the aim of understanding his place in the English canon. During the seminars there will by opportunity to explore the wide range of themes and motifs employed in Chaucer’s works, as well as his extraordinary versatility in tackling different literary genres. Students will also engage with a diversity of theoretical and critical approaches to Chaucer’s work and modern adaptations of his texts, reflecting this medieval author’s continued appeal in the modern world. This module is an ideal companion to any of the other level three medieval literature modules.
  • QXE-3084: Recent Prize Winning Literatur (20) (Semester 2)
    The field of contemporary literature could fairly be described as a competitive arena dominated by a culture of prizes and charts: best-sellers, Booker Prize winners, the nation's favourite poems, the book of the year, and so on. But what makes a prize-winning work of literature, and how do concepts such as artistic skill and literary worth square with ideas of popularity and success? This course will examine a selection of recent prize-winning texts in a variety of genres, including poems, novels, short stories, autobiographies and screenplays, and relate them to critical and theoretical debates about taste, literary value and the market-place. During the course we will also take one major prize as a case study, examining the entire process from the selection of the genre(s) to be judged, the criteria, the jury members, the mechanisms for submission and the nature of the prize itself, through the short-listing stage and associated publicity to the final choice and the awards ceremony.
  • QXE-3088: Bob Dylan (20) (Semester 2)
    SEMINARS Material to be studied in seminars will include: Critical distinctions between modernist, mass, and popular cultures; `Folk music¿ and Dylan's early career; Rock music and Dylan's transition to electric performance; The relationship between biography and critical analysis; Dylan and religion; Dylan and literature; Textual analysis of the song lyric; Dylan and the visual arts; The transition from analogue to digital reproduction and dissemination; Bootleg culture.
  • QXP-3093: Experimental Writing (20) (Semester 2)
  • QXE-3105: Reading Myth (20) (Semester 2)
    This module will take as its focus the textual response to inherited mythic structures: how myth may be perceived in theoretical terms as a proairetic discourse; how it establishes affinities with certain genres (e.g. epic, tragedy, romance); and how in more contemporary cultural debates it has been problematised by expectations of falsehood. The seminar programme will range from Ancient Greek representations of myth (e.g. Medea) to medieval accounts of Scripture in dramatic narrative (e.g. Abraham and Isaac) and to varying accounts of saints’ lives. In the early modern period attention may be devoted to the changing importance of ancient mythologies in literary narrative. In the more contemporary periods, options will change from year to year, but may include explorations of such pervasive constructs as the Founding of Empire (Kipling, Lessing), The American Dream (Capote, Fitzgerald, Highsmith) and The War on Terror (Buchan, Fleming, and Porter’s Empire State).
  • QXE-3107: EM Lit: Sex, Sects and Scandal (20) (Semester 1)
    Beginning with English constructions of nationhood in the 1590s, this module will examine the pressures that are placed upon Tudor notions of English identity by the ways in which early modern texts engage with Britishness. From here, the module will move to explore seventeenth century Anglophone literature in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Authors to be studied might include Edmund Spenser, Thomas Nashe, Thomas Deloney, Thomas Heywood, William Shakespeare, Katherine Philips, Henry Vaughn, William Drummond and Roger Boyle.
  • QXE-3109: Victorian Networks (20) (Semester 1)
  • QXE-3110: Neo-Victorian Fiction (20) (Semester 2)
  • QXE-3112: Culture and the Body (20) (Semester 1)
  • QXP modules can only be taken if QXP modules were taken in Years 1 and 2.