Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Literary Geographies
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Critical Essay  (3,000 words)  70%
Semester Assessment 0.1 Hours   Oral presentation  (10 minutes)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Critical Essay  (3,000 words)  70%
Supplementary Assessment Map and Essay  (1,500 words) Map plus interpretive essay (in lieu of oral presentation)  30%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate critical understanding of a range of literary representations of places and spaces.

2. Make use of relevant terms and concepts from the field of literary geography when discussing and analyzing literary texts.

3. Show knowledge of the geographical and historical contexts in which literary texts are written and/or read.

4. Identify, extract, and evaluate pertinent geographical information from literary texts.

5. Display an understanding of the ways in which basic mapping techniques may be employed in the interpretation of literary texts.

Brief description

This module offers students an accessible but intellectually stimulating introduction to the new field of literary geographies. It not only examines literary representations of particular places and spaces – cities, borderlands, dystopias, the natural world – but also considers the ways in which texts and writers are influenced or affected by the geographies in which acts of writing take place. Over the course of the module, students will develop a critical understanding of key geographical concepts – such as ‘place’, ‘space’, and ‘landscape’ – and encounter a wide range of literary texts from the C19th, C20th, and C21st. These include novels, short stories, poems, and creative non-fiction.


Week 1 - Introduction: Literature and geography
Andrew Thacker, ‘The Idea of a Critical Literary Geography’
Sheila Hones, ‘Text as it Happens: Literary Geography’
A selection of maps that feature in literary texts (photocopies)

Week 2 - Wild Places 1: Nature writing
Henry David Thoreau, ‘Walking’
Robert Macfarlane, ‘Moor’ (from The Wild Places)
Kathleen Jamie, ‘Markings’ (from Findings)

Week 3 - Wild Places 2: River poems
William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1805): Book 1, ll. 271-304
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Sonnet: To the River Otter’
Ted Hughes, ‘River’
Stevie Smith, ‘The River God’
Roy Fisher, ‘Birmingham River’
Alice Oswald, ‘River’

Week 4 - Cities 1: London
Arthur Machen, The London Adventure: or, The Art of Wandering
Virginia Woolf, ‘Street Haunting: A London Adventure’ (from Selected Essays)

Week 5 - Cities 2: Paris
Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

Week 6 - Borderlands 1: The US / Mexico border
Gloria Anzaldúa, ‘The Homeland: Áztlan’ (from Borderlands / La Frontera)
Sandra Cisneros, ‘Woman Hollering Creek’
Jimmy Santiago Baca, ‘Black Mesa’

Week 7 - Borderlands 2: The Irish border
Michael Longley, ‘On Slieve Gullion’
Ciaran Carson, ‘Jawbox’
Paul Muldoon, ‘Unapproved Road’

Week 8 - Utopias/Dystopias 1
J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World

Week 9 - Utopias/Dystopias 2
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Week 10 - Literary maps; Assessment advice

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Accurate reading of student timetables and time-measuring devices (e.g. watches, alarm clocks).
Communication Oral communication skills in seminar discussions and assessed presentations; written communication skills via an assessed essay.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through reflection on how novel concepts or modes of interpretation can enhance critical understanding.
Information Technology Through use of Blackboard, word processing skills, and the creation of visual resources for the oral presentation.
Personal Development and Career planning Development of key transferable skills in research, written communication, and oral presentation.
Problem solving Through in-class exercises as well as research, writing, and presentation skills employed in completing assignments.
Research skills Independent and directed research for seminar preparation and work towards summative assessment.
Subject Specific Skills Writing skills, critical reflection, and conceptual knowledge in key fields of literary study.
Team work Group work and discussion exercises in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 5