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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course examines some critical approaches and theories that have shaped modern literary inquiry. An organising theme of the course is different notions of ‘text’, ranging from historicist definitions of the ‘material text’ to poststructuralist theories of intertextuality and the practice of modern textual editing. The relevance to literature of different types of context is also explored, as are the interpretative possibilities of various forms of ideological critique, including feminism and post-colonialism. Throughout the course students are exposed to a wide variety of primary and secondary texts.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Alison Lumsden

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • One of Master of Letters in English Literary Studies or Master of Letters in the Novel or M Litt in Creative Writing
  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

How do we understand what we read, and what stories do we tell about works of literature? What historical, political, and cultural circumstances shape the way we think about literature? This course will introduce students to a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to literary analysis. Through study of the diverse contexts and methodologies by which literary research can be undertaken in the twenty-first century, students will develop the ability to apply these ideas and approaches to their own scholarly interests. In the first part of the course, students will explore significant approaches to literary study, ranging from large topics such as psychoanalysis, feminism, historicism, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and political theory to sessions on questions of intertextuality and the turn to religion. In the course’s second part, the focus will be on primary texts, as students evaluate the interpretive possibilities offered by these various methodologies. Throughout the course students will be exposed to a variety of primary and secondary texts, including a wide range of geographical and historical contexts and both canonical and non-canonical texts.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 7 - 17

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

1 mid-course course essay, 2500 words (30%)

1 end-of-course essay, 3500 words (70%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.



Course Learning Outcomes


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