Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral Presentation  A 20-minute individual orally presented research paper, to be delivered in week 7. Accompanying documentation to include an annotated bibliography, any presentation materials used and an electronic copy of the PowerPoint presentation.  40%
Semester Assessment Essay  6000 words  60%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary  Resubmit failed or make good any missing elements. In the event of failure in the oral presentation element, a 20-minute written script on a new topic to be submitted, written as if for delivery, to include an annotated bibliography, any presentation materials used and an electronic copy of the PowerPoint presentation  100%

Brief description

This module studies postmodernism in terms of its literary genres, and the theories that inform and iterpret them. Bridging poetry, prose, and critical works, we will study the ways in which postmodern authors use different rhetorical and structural tactics to experiment with forms and genres. Offering a broad chronological sweep of postmodern literature, from the 1970s to the present day, and studying both its British and American versions, we will examine the ways in which postmodern literature developed over time, through its central conceptual concerns with space, histories, bodies and otherness.


Week One: Postmodern Writing
This session introduces the concept of a 'postmodern? writing in relation to both poetry and prose. We will discuss essays by Charles Olson and Frank O'Hara in the first half of the session, and then move on to study extracts from John Barth'r Lost in the Funhouse and his seminal essay 'The Literature of Exhaustion'.

Week Two:
Text: John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969)

Week Three:
Text: Charles Bernstein, All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems

Week Four: History & Memory
Text: Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)

Week Five:
Text: Lyn Hejinian, My Life

Week Six: Language & Performance
Text: Iain Banks, The Bridge (1986)

Week Seven:
Text: Denise Riley, Selected Poems

Week Eight: Space & Media
Text: Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves (2000)

Week Nine:
Text: Barry McSweeney, Wolf Tongue: Poems 1975 - 2000

Week Ten: Postmodern Conclusions
This session explores the chronological development of postmodernism from its earliest incarnations in formal literary experimentation to its current developments. We will study essays by Nicholas Zurbrugg, Stuart Sim, and Timothy Murphy in order to discuss 'what comes after postmodernism'.


This module tracks the development of postmodernism in both poetry and prose, and provides students with a conceptual frame through which to understand postmodern literature. It explores postmodern literature through the close study of selected texts and critical essays, and thereby links together the difficult theoretical and conceptual concerns of postmodernism with actual literary production.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Bernstein, Charles (2010) All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems Farrar Straus Giroux Primo search Brooke-Rose, Christine (1997) Textermination Carcanet Press Primo search Hejinian, Lyn (2002) My Life Green Integer Primo search

Banks, Iain (1990 (2009 prin) The bridge /Iain Banks. Abacus Primo search Danielewski, Mark Z. (2000.) Mark Z. Danielewski's House of leaves :by Zampan : with introduction and notes by Johnny Zampan : 2nd ed. Anchor Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7