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Module QXE-1015:
Landmarks in Literature

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Maureen McCue

Overall aims and purpose

Landmarks in Literature encourages students to deepen their critical reading and writing skills by examining how the Western canon is formed and reformed through an ongoing dialogue between texts and contexts. Drawing from a range of genres, cultures and periods, we will consider not only how texts respond to and shape their cultural and historical contexts, but also how texts and developments in literary theory may attempt to re-read, rewrite and revise cultural memory and the accepted literary canon. Some key questions we will explore include

• What might constitute a literary “landmark” and why? • Who decides what might comprise our literary heritage? • What are the benefits and limitations of the canon? • How has the concept of a shared literary heritage changed across historical periods? • In what ways and through which techniques might an author/text question dominant cultural practices or accepted historical narratives?

By drawing from a wide range of world literature in English, Landmarks in Literature invites students to become more aware of the ways in which texts shape and are shaped by wider cultural considerations; more conscious of actively developing their critical reading and writing skills; and finally of their own participation in the creation of a literary heritage.

Course content

Texts may include:

Austen, Mansfield Park

Brontë, Jane Eyre

Clare, poems (provided)

Margiad Evans, Country Dance

Friel, Translations

The Book of Margery Kempe (in The Norton Anthology, vol. A)

Morrison, Beloved

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

Shakespeare, The Tempest

Wordsworth, poems (in The Norton Anthology, vol. D)

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edn., various volumes

Assessment Criteria


Typically, work graded A- to A** (or 70 to 100) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas with confidence and precision • Demonstrates maturity and sophistication • Displays deep knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is totally relevant • Shows independent, analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of substantial and relevant reading • Shows great accuracy in expression, displaying total mastery over all aspects of the language • Shows occasional signs of brilliance and originality of thought • In creative work: displays considerable originality • Command over medium; may have potential for publication/production


Typically, work graded D- to D+ (or 40 to 49) will show many of the following qualities: • Unsure and lacking in confidence when discussing ideas • Referring to the subject in question in a superficial manner • Making an effort to provide fairly balanced answers • Some points in the argument irrelevant to the topic • Little evidence of background reading • Some uncertainty over language and syntax • Strengths and weaknesses fairly balanced; occasionally clumsy and unimaginative • In creative work: superficial • Not succeeding in mastering the requirements of the medium


Typically, work graded C- to C+ (or 50 to 59) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas, but without much confidence • A respectable effort but not showing any unusual talent; a few flashes of originality here and there • Makes reference to the subject in question, but some important matters not mentioned • Fairly clear thought on most occasions, and the arguments relevant on the whole • Evidence of having read some works associated with the field in question • Quite accurate expression, though the points may sometimes be presented clumsily • Signs of conscientious work deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: not having quite mastered the requirements of the medium
• Evidence of planning in the answers, but a lack of coherence at times; undisciplined and unsure at times

Typically, work graded B- to B+ (or 60 to 69) will show many of the following qualities: • Discusses ideas adeptly • Most of the arguments about a specific field are well-aired • Displays knowledge of the subject in question; the answer is relevant • Shows analytical and clear thought • Gives evidence of relevant reading • Shows accuracy in expression with mastery over language. • A few minor errors here and there. • Signs of creative thought deserve a higher position within the class • In creative work: shows signs of originality, having understood the requirements of the medium • Plans of well-balanced and full answers, despite some gaps

Learning outcomes

  1. Be able to analyse and discuss, orally and in writing, literary texts in English from a variety of periods, genres and cultural contexts

  2. Demonstrate appropriate academic writing skills, including referencing and bibliography

  3. Be able to identify what might make a work of literature a ‘landmark’ text, and understand the factors influencing such judgements.

  4. Apply this concept and these judgements, both analytically and imaginatively, to the reading of literary texts and their relevant literary, cultural and material contexts

  5. Relate the meaning of a literary text to its formal and rhetorical features

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY 1500-word Essay 50
EXAM Final Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study 156

2x1 hour lecture per week

Study group

1x 1 hour study group weekly


1x 1 hour seminar weekly


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in


Resource implications for students

Students will need to purchase some texts, but many will be provided.

Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: