Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Research Skills in English Studies (2): Tackling Textuality
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 1.5-hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1. A textuality `case study or `audit for a text from the area of the students intending specialization. This will aim to cover the full spectrum of textuality for the selected text. (2000 words)  40%
Semester Assessment 2. A detailed study of one aspect of the textuality of a text, from the area of the students intending specialization. This will aim to demonstrate an awareness of the methodological and theoretical foundations on which the approach is based. (3000 words)  60%
Supplementary Assessment RESUBMIT FAILED ELEMENTS  Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and scope of the many facets of textuality which
feature in literary research;

2. Demonstrate an ability to embody this theoretical knowledge and understanding in the research and
analysis of specific literary works;

3. Demonstrate an ability to contextualise and justify a preferred methodological approach in the
context of the totality of the approaches which might have been taken.


The purpose of this module is to develop to postgraduate level the interpretive, evaluative, and research skills on which English Studies are based, using the focal idea of 'textuality' in its broadest sense.

Brief description

The module will illustrate, and interrogate the different kinds of 'textuality', or aspects of the literary text, which need to be taken into account in the study of literature at postgraduate level and beyond. A brief list of selected literary texts, chosen to highlight the issues raised, will be used to give specificity to the exposition and discussion.


_Week-by-week breakdown

_(1) Textuality
'The words on the page' - a checklist of interpretive procedures and strategies.

_(2) Co-textuality
Textual 'complexes' or 'link-ups' (e.g. 'informally grouped' texts, like Coleridge's 'Conversation Poems' and `formally composite' works, like sonnet sequences or short story sequences; ekphrastic poems, in which texts are linked to specific images, etc).

_(3) Intertextuality
'The actual presence of one text within another' (Genette) (e.g. 'allusive' texts like The Waste Land, where the allusions can be musical or pictorial as well as literary).

_(4) Contextuality
'The words off the page' - historicist, neo-historicist, and related approaches.

_(5) Material-textuality
'The text as a material object', whether manuscript, holograph, transcript, typescript, page-proof, printed text, variorum text, or hypertext.

_(6) Peri-textuality
'Ambient features' (e.g. titles, chapter-titles, headings and sub-divisions, epigraphs, divisions into parts, prefaces, prologues, notes). Especially relevant here are the effects of serial publication, and differences between magazine and book versions of the same text.

_(7) Epi-textuality
'The words around the words on the page' - interviews, publicity, illustrations, reviews, letters, autobiographical data, quoted dicta, etc. The text considered as a contested and promoted cultural object within the public domain.

_ (8) Meta-textuality
'The words on the words on the page' or 'When a text takes up a relation of commentary to another text' (Genette), that is, the critical and interpretive tradition, the 'archive of critique', and the (con)formative paradigm which gathers about a canonical text.

_(9) Multi-textuality
The 'non-hierarchical' versions of the same text, rather than 'drafts' and 'final versions' (e.g. 'The Ancient Mariner' with and without the 'gloss'; the 1832 and 1842 versions of 'The Lady of Shallot'; the 1879 and 1907 texts of Daisy Miller; the four versions of Owen's 'Strange Meeting', all of them 'not finished, but not private' etc).

_(10) Total Textuality
Integrated strategies for 'tackling textuality'.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will need to argue persuasively to demonstrate the cogency of their approach and the significance of their findings.
Improving own Learning and Performance This will take place throughout the module, in response to discussion, and especially between the first and second assignment.
Information Technology Students will need to make use of on-line materials to locate data and documentation relevant to their chosen areas of special study, but this aspect will not be separately assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning N/A
Problem solving Required at all stages, but especially in deciding how to reconcile the claims of the different kinds of textuality in a given instance.
Research skills Students will need to research relevant factual data in their chosen area and then present this material judiciously but fairly in the light of their chosen interpretive emphasis.
Subject Specific Skills Evaluating the practical and theoretical implications of broad intellectual concepts.
Team work This will take place in so far as the seminars will be collaborative exchanges of views, but team work will not be assessed.

Reading List

Recommended Consultation
D. F. McKenzie (1999) Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts Cambridge University Press Primo search Graham Allen (2000) Intertextuality Routledge Primo search Lynette Hunter (2001) Literary Value/Cultural Power: Verbal Arts in the Twenty First Century Manchester University Press Primo search Maureen Bell, et al., (eds.) (2001) Re-constructing the Book: Literary Texts in Transmission Ashgate Primo search Susan Hockey (2000) Electronic Texts in the Humanities: Principles and Practice Oxford University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7