Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 hour lectures per week
Seminars / Tutorials Weekly one hour seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Summary and Bibliography  300-word summary of a critical article/extract plus brief bibliography (c4 items) correctly referenced plus c200 words on how students found and chose these sources  20%
Semester Assessment 2000 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2-hour examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   Students who fail the module will be required to make good any missing elements and/or resubmit any failed coursework assignments (writing on a fresh topic), and/or sit a supplementary exam paper  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate critical and interpretative skills appropriate to Level 1 and deploy an appropriate critical vocabulary

2. Discuss critically issues of literary language, form and genre

3. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the literary text and appropriate cultural contexts

4. Demonstrate a basic competence in skills of searching for and correctly referencing appropriate critical material

5. Demonstrate a basic competence in summarising critical arguments in own words


Seminar Topics (Indicative List)
1. Introduction to Encountering Texts

S.T. Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
2. Language and Initial Frameworks/Interpretations
3. Literary and Historical Contextualization/Conmteporary Re-Readings

4. Skills Workshop Session - Practice in summarising critical arguments and correct procedures of citation with particular focus on the first assignment

Edgar Allan Poe, selected short stories from Selected Tales
5. Language, Genre and the Supernatural
6. Theoretical Frames for Reading: Psychobiography

Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
7. Strategies for Reading Long Fiction
8. The Condition of England Novel

9. Workshop Session - Practice in planning an argument and in framing appropriate introductions and conclusions, keyed in to the second assignment

W.B. Yeats, selected poems
10. Lyric Poetry and Cultural Allusion
11. Poetry and Politics


1. Introduction to Encountering Texts
2. Language and Form
3. Drawing out Meanings
4. Historical Locations
5. Revisionings: Ecocriticism
6. Research Skills: Using the Library, locating materials - 1
7. Research Skills: Using the Library, locating materials - 2
8. Reading Short Fiction
9. Genre and the Gothic
10. Text and the Author
11. Cultural Reimaginings
12. Encountering Novels
13. Reading Class
14. Gender and Authorship
15. Education and the Bildungroman
16. Assessment Tips: Structuring an Essay
17. Assessment Tips: Dealing with Secondary Sources
18. Reading Lyric Poetry
19. Negotiating Cultural Reference
20. Poetry and Politics
21. Mythologies
22. Preparing for the examination

Brief description

The 4 key texts of this module, ranging from the Romantic period through Victorian writing to the twentieth century, serve as suggestive "test cases" in relation to which the student will negotiate the following issues: How might a reader overcome the difficulties involved in encountering a text for the first time? How does a reader decide on appropriate strategies of reading? How does one select and shape detail in order to build a reading of a text? Which aspects of these texts might a reader identify as linguistically/structurally/culturally significant? How have other critics interpreted these texts? How have these texts been re-read, and therefore re-focused, in a number of different forms? Thus the module brings into focus issues of literary language, form, genre and structure; the relation between a text and other cultural co-texts; and the contested place a text occupies within the context of critical debate. It provides the First-year student with a critical vocabulary adequate to the task. The module is accompanied by a 'Resource Booklet' comprising a range of co-texts - excerpts from critical articles and biographies, reviews, a variety of cultural documents and visual material. The module also integrates workshop "Skills" sessions at appropriate junctures in the module's development. The seminars and accompanying lectures exist in meaningful dialogue.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Written - by developing a sustained critical argument Oral - through group discussions and seminar presentations (n/a)
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent research and reading
Information Technology By using word-processing packages and making use of Blackboard and other e-resources to research and access course documents and other materials
Personal Development and Career planning Through increased critical self-relection and the development of transferable, ICT, communication and research skills
Problem solving By evaluative analysis and critical skills
Research skills By independent research and synthesizing information in an evaluative argument
Subject Specific Skills Through the reading, writing and researching skills involved in the interrogation of literary texts, and the conceptual/theoretical analysis of works of imaginative literature in relation to a range of other non-literary texts
Team work Through group work in seminars and/or through the preparation of group presentations for seminars

Reading List

Essential Reading
Fry, Paul H (ed) (1999) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism Bedford/St Martins Primo search Gaskell, Elizabeth (1996) North and South ed Patricia Ingham Penguin Primo search Poe, Edgar Allan (2006) The Portable Edgar Allan Poe Penguin Primo search Yeats, W B (2000) Yeats: Selected Poems ed Timothy Webb Penguin Primo search
Supplementary Text
Abbott H Porter (2008) The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative 2nd ed Cambridge University Press Primo search Barry, Peter (2009) Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory Manchester University Press Primo search Bennett, Andrew and Royle, Nicholas (2004) An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory Longman Primo search Butler, Marilyn (1981) Romantics, Rebels and reactionaries: English Literature and its Background 1760-1830 Oxford University Press Primo search Faulkner, Peter (1987) Yeats Open University Press Primo search Gilmour, Robin (1986) The Novel in the Victorian Age: A Modern Introduction Edward Arnold Primo search Hayes Kevin J (ed) (2002) The Cambridge Companion to Poe Cambridge University Press Primo search Poplawski, Paul (2008) English Literature in context Cambridge University Press Primo search Young, Tory (2008) Studying English Literature: A Practical Guide Cambridge University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4