In addition to the specialist English modules all students also undertake core modules. These are designed to help you develop academic and research skills required for successful study within higher education, and to help you both to explore future options for employment and to develop employability skills.
The English modules are:
Critical Approaches (20 credits)
The main aim of the module is to sharpen and develop skills in analysis and critical reading through the introduction and application of key theoretical approaches. Selected texts are chosen from a variety of historical periods and include different forms and genres, including poetry, drama, and novel. The module also focuses on several plays by Shakespeare and consideration is given to the ways in which contemporary theory can be a valuable tool in interpreting these plays and also in assessing the value of Shakespeare in our contemporary society.
Reading Literature (30 credits)
Reading Literature examines the importance of genre in the study of literature and considers the main characteristics of poetry, fiction and drama. With a focus on 20th and 21st-century texts, it also invites questions about the definition of these genres as it explores ‘new genres’ informed and influenced by digital media and other cultural developments. The module proposes that genre shapes ‘literature’ as much as authors and texts do, and it looks at the complex relationships between genres, authors and texts.
What our students say:
"During my first year at University, I have really enjoyed the variety of things Reading Literature has to offer. It allows you to explore different texts, whether that be Drama, Poetry, Hybrid narratives or the Novel. The flexibility within the course means that you aren't limited within your studies."
‘I have enjoyed everything we have studied in the Reading Literature module, particularly the novel and new genres. I genuinely feel that this module has been one of my favourites in first year and I will be sad to leave it."
Monsters, Cyborgs and Imaginary Worlds (20 credits)
This module traces continuities and overlaps between three popular genres: the Gothic, Science Fiction and Fantasy. You will explore monstrous beings (from vampires to aliens), hybrid creatures (from centaurs to cyborgs), and alternative worlds (from pseudo-medieval settings to parallel universes). You will gain an understanding of the ways in which myth, folklore, and the supernatural intersect with science and technology to create some of the most memorable literary and cinematic texts of the last two centuries. Readings include Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea cycle and The Left Hand of Darkness, and Philp K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Films and TV texts include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica.
What our students say:
"The set texts are interesting and enjoyable and the lectures and seminars are very well taught."
"Amazing! Probably my favourite module this term. I love Tolkien so I was more than happy when I saw we were studying him."
"Well-structured, engaging, interesting."
Romanticism and its Legacies (20 credits)
Beginning in the 1790s and moving through the nineteenth century to the fin-de-siècle, the module invites you to consider poetry, fiction and non-fiction as generic responses to some of the century’s most pressing social questions. Furthermore, the module allows you to study nineteenth-century plays by writers such as G.B. Shaw, inviting you to compare the aims and agendas of social realism and naturalism with those expressed by proponents of fin-de-siècle aestheticism. Alongside the formal aspects of these texts, you will examine important themes and debates of the period, such as the role of the Imagination, the Nation, urbanisation and industrialisation and the Romantic legacy into the Victorian age. You will study Romantic poets such as Wordsworth, Byron and Keats, as well as the work of nineteenth-century novelists such as Anne Brontë, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde.
What our students say:
"I like the range of authors we study, especially the exploration of women writers in the period."
"I really enjoy the way the module is taught – discussing the historical context of the writers is so interesting."
Children's Literature (10 credits)
We all remember fondly our childhood readings, but we tend to think of our adult selves as having 'grown out of' childish things. This module aims to get you to think again about some of the 'classics' of children's literature, not in order to take you down memory lane, but to address a series of important questions: What is childhood? Is it a biological stage or a social construct? What is children's literature and what is it for? To entertain? To educate? And who decides about these matters? Are picture books for the very young as simple as they look? And what about the disturbing themes of much teenage fiction? We will explore this question via different critical and theoretical lenses to uncover the connections of children's literature with power and ideology. Texts include
Alice in Wonderland, the
Harry Potter series, Anthony Browne's
Voices in the Park, Maurice Sendak's
Where the Wild Things Are, and Mildred Taylor's
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
What our students say:
"It helps me to think in a different way; it changed my point of view about childhood.”
"I love this module. It deals with many different subjects including history and gender studies, and it is taught incredibly well and made entertaining at the same time.”
Narratives, Identities and Place (20 credits)
This module invites an exploration of literature from the point of view of engagement with place and what this tells us about identity. Topics include the idea of the traveller and tourist from the Grand Tour to the present, representations of local and global identities, and the consideration of literary tourism in diverse contemporary contexts. There is a wide selection of texts ranging from Romantic poetry, nineteenth-century Art critique, to twentieth-century experimental fiction and contemporary postcolonial fiction drawn from a number of national and cultural contexts.
Modern and Contemporary Literature (20 credits)
This module explores the expanded role of the writer as an intellectual and activist from the beginning of the twentieth-century to the present. Building on the concepts of modernism and postmodernism, the module examines the ways in which the literary imagination relates to wider concerns around cultural value, social change and political commitment. Authors studied, from T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf to Jeanette Winterson and Haruki Murakami, all intervene in the public sphere in a variety of ways. Thus, alongside literary texts, the module draws on a range of materials and forms of expression – essays, reviews and journalism, letters, blogs and journals.
Independent Project (40 credits)
You will complete an independent research or enquiry-based project of a practical or theoretical nature. This will enable you to demonstrate independence in your approach to research and enhance your project planning experience. You will receive guidance and support from a supervisor.