Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5000 word essay 100%  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate all three of the following intended outcomes:
1. A thorough understanding of 20th-/early 21st-century lesbian and gay fiction.

2. An ability to contextualize such fiction in relation to key literary, philosophical, medical, social, political and/or theoretical movements.

3. An ability to apply theories of gender and sexuality to such fiction, self-reflectively and critically


This module will comprise 5 seminars.
1. Early Twentieth-Century Contexts. This seminar addresses the emergence of the homosexual novel in which Edwardian writers sought to adapt the hetero-normative conventions of romance fiction to the needs of homophile representation. Topics for discussion may include: Hellenic models of Sapphic and Greek Love, the adoption and resistance to medical sexological models of inversion, and the philosophica democratic influence of Carpenter and Whitman ('patriots and pacificists'). Indicative primary texts: E.M. Forster, Maurice and Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness.

2. Early Twentieth-Century Aesthetics. This seminar focuses on the question of a specifically lesbian/gay/queer literary style or sensibility. Attention may be drawn to current theorized and philosophical debates over queer modernism, the poetics and politics of camp, ecriture feminine, 'butch-femme' and other transgressive aesthetics. Indicative primary texts: Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying and Virginia Woolf, Orlando.

3. Before Stonewall. This seminar addresses fiction written when (male) homosexuality was illegal and female and male homosexuality were demonized before the advent of the liberation movements of the 1970s. Some topics for discussion are: 'the closet', oppressive representations of the marginalized, stereotypes of the abjected and the treacherous ('the homosexual outlaw'), the medical and Freudian legacy, and homosexuality and ethnicity. Indicative primary texts: Patricia Highsmith, Carol and Christopher Isherwood, Berlin Stories.

4. Coming Out. The coming-out novel is an important fictional sub-genre associated with the era of gay emancipation. Discussion may include the generic adaptations and narrative strategies employed to construct positive models of gay/lesbian/bisexual identity and related theoretical issues concerning sexual dissidence and queer counter-discourse. Indicative primary texts: Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Edmund White, A Boy's Own Story.

5. Queer Histories. This seminar will address queer life writing and/or the recent emergence of gay and lesbian historical fiction. Topics for discussion may include: writing and embodiment, modern and/or post-modern subjectivities, AIDS and the autopathographer, and the construction of a queer lesbian heritage. Indicative texts: Alan Hollinghurst, The Swimming Pool Library and Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet

Brief description

This module is designed to build upon and to complement students' understanding, developed in their undergraduate degrees, of the cultural and theoretical context of literature in this period (and especially any previous encounters with queer, feminist and/or masculinity theory and/or contemporary women's fiction). However it neither assumes nor requires prior knowledge of either current and historical debates about gender and sexuality or lesbian and gay writing


This module is concerned with the emergence and development of lesbian and gay fiction from the early decades of the twentieth century to the beginning of the twenty-first century, focusing on key 'moments' and movements. The focus will be primarily on literary texts but the module will address a range of central issues: literary, theoretical, political and social

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication written communication in the form of essay. oral communication in seminars (not assessed)
Improving own Learning and Performance developing own research skills and time management
Information Technology use of electronic resources in research and production of written work
Personal Development and Career planning except in so far as this module is related to a research or academic/teaching career
Problem solving formulating and developing an extended argument
Research skills developing independent research skills
Subject Specific Skills detailed critical analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad cultural/ intellectual concepts

Reading List

General Text
Cook, Matt (2007) A Gay History of Britain:Love and Sex Between Men since the Middle Ages Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated Primo search Jennings, Rebecca (2007) A Lesbian History of Britain:Love and Sex Between Women Since 1500 Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated Primo search Jennings, Rebecca (July 2007) Tomboys and Bachelor Girls:A Lesbian History of Post-War Britain, 1945-71 Manchester University Press Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Audre Lorde Zami: A new Spelling of My name Primo search Forster, E. M. (1999.) Maurice /E.M. Foster ; edited by Philip Gardner. Andre Deutsch Primo search Highsmith, Patricia (June 2005) Carol 2nd ed. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc Primo search Waters, Sarah (1999 (2008 prin) Tipping the velvet /Sarah Waters. Virago Primo search Woolf, Virginia (1998 (2008 prin) Orlando :a biography /Virginia Woolf ; edited with an introduction and notes by Rachel Bowlby. Oxford University Press Primo search

Bowlby, Rachel (2007.) Freudian mythologies :Greek tragedy and modern identities /Rachel Bowlby. Oxford University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7