Modules for course 8H26 | BA/ENIE
BA English Literature (with International Experience)

These are the modules currently offered on this course in the 2019–20 academic year.

You can also view the modules offered in the years: 2018–19; 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.
  • 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)
  • QXL-1112: Language, Literature & Culture (20) (Semester 2)
    1. the relationship between language, culture and thought processes, 2. the relationship between language and identity, 3. the structures of bilingual societies, 4. the different manifestations of multilingualism, particularly in relation to the concepts of bilingualism and diglossia, 5. the cultural, political, and anthropological issues surrounding minority languages & language policy.
  • Students may choose one (approved) 20-credit module from outside the School.

Year 2 Modules

Optional Modules

120 credits from:

  • QXE-2003: Jonson to Johnson (20) (Semester 2)
  • QXE-2005: Victorian Literature (20) (Semester 2)
    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.
  • 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 1)
    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
  • Students must take (at least) 1 module dealing with Literature before 1800 and 1 from post-1800 module. Students may to choose 1(approved) elective module from outside the School

Year 4 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-3031: Welsh Writing in English (20) (Semester 2)
    ‘Modern Welsh Writing in English’ will consider a range of texts, principally written in English, emerging from modern Wales. The module explores the development of a tradition of Anglophone Welsh writing from the late nineteenth century, across the twentieth century and up to the contemporary moment. In so doing seeks to investigate the varied ways in which Welsh writers – male and female, from North and South (and beyond), rural and industrial, and across a range of genres and forms – have articulated the Welsh experience in all its diversity. The module will also introduce students to some of the current critical and theoretical approaches being adopted in the study of Welsh writing.
  • QXE-3034: Arthur: legend and super hero (20) (Semester 1)
    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-3086: Shakespeare's Afterlives (20) (Semester 2)
    In order to explore the concept of literary afterlives, the weekly seminars alternate between the study of a Shakespeare play and the investigation of instances of the ‘afterlife’ of that particular play. For example, a seminar on A Midsummer Night’s Dream is followed by a seminar on Angela Carter’s novel Wise Children, a text riddled with references to the play and its adaptations as well as to the ‘Shakespeare industry’ as a whole. The module encourages students to be alert to examples of the use and abuse of Shakespeare in our own contemporary contexts, and to respond creatively as well as critically to the plays and other texts under discussion. Participation in seminars is stimulated by a variety of means, including weekly presentations by pairs of students and a final colloquium on the essay projects being researched by members of the group.
  • 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.
  • QXE-3094: Realms of Magic (20) (Semester 2)
    This module will cover the development of the romance genre from its earliest form in Marie de France’s and Chrétien de Troyes’ work through to insular productions such as Amis and Amiloun, Emaré, King of Tars, Isumbras, Sir Amadace, Bevis of Hampton, and Floris and Blancheflour. The range of texts will remain flexible, and their early modern versions will also form part of the discussion; the transformations and adaptations of these romances in medieval manuscripts and early modern prints will also be addressed. Topics as varied as spiritual instruction, courtly love, political governance, war, sexual fulfilment and magic will be investigated alongside incest, race, gender and ideology. The versatility of the genre will be explored in its development into other genres, in particular, but not exclusively, in early modern drama, and the endurance of its appeal will be judged with reference to the transformation of the genre in the early modern period. Connections will be established with Shakespeare’s plays and Spenser’s Faerie Queene. The module will end with analyses of adaptations of romance in the modern period (novel, film productions).
  • QXE-3096: Medieval Women's Literature (20) (Semester 1)
    What texts were medieval women writing and reading? This module examines women’s textual culture in an historical period in which many male-authored works encouraged women to be ‘chaste, silent and obedient,’ in spite of an assumption that women were naturally inclined towards lust and gossip. The module explores texts from the range of literature written and read by women, and the ways in which female-produced works (those written, translated, read, commissioned, performed and discussed in medieval England) were in dialogue with the constructions of medieval womanhood current during this period. The texts studied in seminar offer opportunity to hear, amongst others, the intimate thoughts and words of Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, the Paston wives and Marie de France, on topics as broad as love, marriage, sex, death and religion, as recorded in travel narratives, letters, devotions, lyrics and other literature – all of which contributed to the rich textual culture of the Middle Ages. This module is an ideal companion to any of the other level three medieval literature modules.
  • QXE-3102: The 1820s: Print Explosion (20) (Semester 2)
    The early nineteenth century was a period of radical social and intellectual change that also witnessed an explosion in new forms of print culture, from the ‘serious’ historical novels of Walter Scott through to the supposedly light reading of the Christmas gift book, or annual. This module concentrates on a single decade – the 1820s – in order to explore the emergence of several of these new forms, including, for example, the illustrated political satire of William Hone and the other post-Peterloo radicals, the playful critical essays of Hazlitt and Lamb (associated with an emergent magazine culture), and the new forms of writing about the self in the ‘confessions’ of De Quincey and Hogg. This module investigates a range of canonical texts (which may include Byron’s mock-epic Don Juan; an example of Scott’s ‘Waverley’ novels; and the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater), while placing them in the context of less familiar works (such as Pierce Egan’s illustrated novel, Life in London, the short stories of The Keepsake, and John Clare’s manuscript poems). This combination of canonical and understudied popular texts raises important questions about the relationship between image and text, literature and politics, the individual and society, questions still prevalent in our own age.
  • LXE-3103: Wales: A European Contact Zone (20) (Semester 1)
  • 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-3110: Neo-Victorian Fiction (20) (Semester 2)
  • QXE-3113: The Monstrous Middle Ages (20) (Semester 2)