Module Identifier ENM0220  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Seminar   5 Hours 5 x 2 hours, 1 seminar every other week  
Assessment Essay   1 essay of 5,000 words    

Brief description
This module will introduce students to a wide range of theoretical approaches to the study of literature. It will develop students' understanding of key issues relating to history and theory as they pertain to literature. It will encourage them to become more theoretically aware of their own intellectual positions as well as preparing students for the dissertation to be produced over the summer.


Theories of Hisotry and Historicism

Tutors: Tim Woods/Mike Smith

This workshop will focus on the ways in which Marxist theories of history have been challenged bypostmodernism. It will consider versions of the structural models of history offered by Walter Benjamin and Jean-Francoise Lyotard, and it will take the French Revolution as a case study of a grand narrative of history and the Enlightenment being challenged by poststructuralist accounts.

Primary Reading

Benjamin, Walter, "Theses of the Philosophy of History, in Illuminations", ed. Hannah Arendt (Fontana, 1973)

Extracts from; Lyotard, Jean-Francois, "The Postmodern Condition" (1979; Manchester, 1984)

Marx, Karl, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" (1848)

Secondary Reading

Sim, Stuart, "Lyotard and the Politics of Antifoundationalism", "Radical Philosophy 44" (Aut. 1986), 8-13

Paulson, Ronald, "Representing Revolution" (Yale UP, 1983), 1-36

Mehlman, Jeffrey, "Revolution and Repetition" (California UP, 1977)


Race and National Identities

Tutors: Andrew Hadfield/Martin Padget

It is now virtually impossible to study literature without considering the racial or national identity of writers of both literature and criticism. We will consider some of the key contemporary debates through looking at four representative essays. Issues explored will include: debates about race and national identity; links between "first" and "third" world cultures; arguments concerning cosmopolitan and particularism; and the relationship between literature and culture.

Primary Reading

Tzvetan Todorov, "'Race', Writing and Culture", in "'Race', Writing, Difference", ed. Henry Louis Gates Jr., (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press 1986)

Henry Louis Gates Jr., "'Talkin' That Talk", in "'Race", Writing, Difference", ed. Henry Louis Gates Jr., (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986)

Homi Bhaba "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse", in "The Location of Culture" by Homi Bhaba (London: Routledge, 1994)

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, "The American Indian Fiction Writer: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, The Third World, and First Nation Sovereignty" in "Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays: A Tribal Voice" by Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

Secondary Reading

Henry Louis Gates Jr, ed., "'Race', Writing, Difference", (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986)


Feminist Literary Histories

Tutors: Patricia Duncker/Sarah Prescott

This session will consider the strengths and weaknesses of various feminist approaches to the construction of literary histories and the traditions of women's writing. We will also discuss the revaluations of genres within women's writing with particular reference to romance.

Primary Reading

Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own" (1928)

Daphne du Maurier, "Rebecca" (1938)

Secondary Reading

Margaret Ezell, "Writing Women's Literary History" (John Hopkins University Press, 1993)

Ellen Moers, "Literary Women" (The Women's Press, 1978

Adrienne Rich "When We Dead Awaken": Writing as Revision, "On Lies Secrets and Silence": Selected Prose 1996-1978 (W W Norton & Co, 1979)

Elaine Showalter, "A Literature of Their Own" (Revised Edition, Virago, 1982)

Janet Todd, "Feminist Literary History" (Polity, 1988)


Reading Texts in Contexts: Historicist Approaches to Literature

Tutors: Claire Jowitt/Paulina Kewes

This seminar will assess the advantages and limitations of historicist approaches to literature. We shall be discussing the contribution of New Hisotricism and Cultural Materialism and of more recent historicist scholarship to literary studies. We shall investigate how major and minor events affect the writing of texts and their reception by multiple audiences. The chief objective will be to compare the different kinds of historical evidence available in particular historical periods and to consider what uses might be made of such evidence in re-constructing contexts for the interpretation of texts.

Primary Reading

Robert D Hume, Reconstructing Contexts: The Aims and Principles of Archaeo-Historicism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998). Chapters 2 and 4.

Michel Foucault, "La Meninas" from, "The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences" (London: Routledge, 1991)

Wolfgang Iser, "The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach" in Philip Rice and Patricia Waugh, "Modern Literary Theory: A Reader, third edition" (London, Arnold, 1996)

H R Jauss, "Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory", in Rice and Waught, ibid.


Dissertation Preparation

Tutors: Ffrangcon Lewis/Clive Meachen

This session will deal with the issue of choosing a dissertation project, paying particular atention to work length and the time that can be reasonably allotted to research. It will also cover the roles of the supervisor and researcher, focussing on the number of sessions that can be expected, together with a review of what these sessions can be expected to achieve. It will also look in depth at the practical aspects of producing a dissertation, such as footnotes, bibliography, submission procedures and general presentation.