Module Identifier EN10520  
Academic Year 2001/2002  
Co-ordinator Dr Tiffany Atkinson  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Christoph Lindner, Mrs Carol Marshall, Dr Elizabeth McAvoy, Dr Elizabeth Oakley-Brown, Mrs Lillian Stevenson, Professor Lyn Pykett, Mrs Marie Hockenhull Smith, Mr Michael Smith, Miss Rebecca Moss, Mr Robert Cooper, Dr Sean Matthews, Ms Louise Marshall, Dr Tiffany Atkinson  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours (20 x 1 hour lectures: two per week for 10 weeks)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours (10 x 1 hour seminars)  
Assessment Continuous assessment   2 essays (1,500-2,000 words)   50%  
  Exam   2 Hours (Answer two questions on a two hour examination paper)   50%  
  Resit assessment   2 x 1,500-2,000 word essays and 2 hour exam    
  Resit assessment   Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements.    

Brief description

This module will introduce you to 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', 'Sexual Dissidence' and 'Travelling Generations'. This approach will enable you to engage with the sort of theoretical work you 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?


This module will be examined by continuous assessment (50%), and an examination paper (50%). Students will write two 1,500-2,000 word essays during the semester. There will be a two hour, two question examination paper at the end of semester 2.

Set Texts

Tony Harrison, Selected Poems (Penguin, 1995)
A.S. Byatt, Elementals, 1998

Negotiating Identities:
Karen McCarthy (ed.) Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women's Poetry (Two Women's Press, 1998)
Caryl Phillips, The Nature of Blood (Faber, 1997)

Dissident Desires:
Jonathan Harvey, Beautiful Thing (Methuen, 1996)
Jeanette Winterson, The Passion (Vintage 1996)

Travelling Generations:
Esther Freud, Hideous Kinky (Penguin 1999)
Alex Garland, The Beach (Penguin, 1996)
(Subject to release of videos, we shall also consider the new film adaptations of both titles)

Aims and objectives

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;
to introduce students to a range of current issues and debates in English Studies and contemporary writing;
to increase the reading range of students and encourage them to become reflective and responsive readers.

Learning outcomes

On the completion of this module students should typically be better able to:
read literary texts in an informed and critical way;
discuss literary texts coherently;
write about literary texts in a well-structured and well-argued manner.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Tony Harrison. (1995) Selected Poems. Penguin
A.S. Byatt. (1998) Elementals. Vintage
Karen McCarthy (ed). (1998) Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women's Poetry. Two Women's Press
Caryl Phillips. (1997) The Nature of Blood. Faber
Jonathan Harvey. (1994) Beautiful Thing. Methuen
Jeanette Winterson. (1996) The Passion. Vintage
Ester Freud. (1999) Hideous Kinky. Penguin
Alex Garland. (1996) The Beach. Penguin