Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours. (10 x 1 hour seminars)
Lecture 20 Hours. (20 x 1 hour lectures: two per week for 10 weeks)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 x 2000 word essays  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (Answer two questions on a two hour examination paper)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

On the completion of this module students should typically be better able to:

1. read literary texts in an informed and critical way;

2. discuss literary texts coherently;

3. write about literary texts in a well-structured and well-argued manner.


This module aims:

1. to introduce students to key aspects of contemporary writing in English through a wide range of forms, style, and linguistic registers in poetry, short fiction, drama, and film;

2. to introduce students to a range of current issues and debates in English Studies and contemporary writing;

3. to increase the reading range of students and encourage them to become reflective and responsive readers.

Brief description

This module introduces a range of contemporary writing in English covering a wide variety of forms, styles, and linguistic registers: tales, short-fiction, poetry, drama, film-adaptations, elements of pulp fiction, modernist and post-modernist fiction. The set texts raise a number of critical issues concerning literary form and language, cultural positioning and social identity. They are arranged under four thematic headings: 'Class', 'Negotiating Identities', 'Sexualities' and 'Cultures in Contact'. This approach will enable students to engage with the sort of theoretical work they will encounter at a higher level in Part Two.


There will be two lectures each week. Each topic will be introduced in a general lecture, and each of the set texts will be examined in two lectures, one specifically on the text, the other on a wider range of issues raised by the text.

In the seminars, students can present and investigate their own ideas on the meaning and worth of the set texts. What has the text communicated to you personally, and how does your opinion relate to those of other students and critics?

__Set Texts

Tony Harrison, 'Selected Poems'
A.S. Byatt, 'Elementals'

_Negotiating Identities:
Charlotte Williams, 'Sugar and Slate', Mohsin Hamid, 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'

Jackie Kay, 'Trumpet'
Jeanette Winterson, 'The Passion'

_Cultures in Contact:
Zadie Smith, 'White Teeth'
Alex Garland, 'The Beach'

(Subject to release of videos, we shall also consider the new film adaptations of both of these latter titles.)

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
A.S. Byatt (1998) Elementals Vintage Primo search Alex Garland (1996) The Beach Penguin Primo search Charlotte Williams (2002) Sugar and Slate Planet Primo search Jeanette Winterson (1996) The Passion Vintage Primo search Kay, Jackie (1999) Trumpet Picador Primo search Mohsin Hamid (2008) The Reluctant Fundamentalist Penguin Primo search Tony Harrison (1995) Selected Poems Penguin Primo search Zadie Smith (2001) White Teeth Penguin Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4