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Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:36

Course Overview

This course charts an idiosyncratic path through twentieth-century Scottish fiction, looking both at canonical novels and works relegated to 'genre fiction' in order to examine the interrelation between place, text, and narrative voice. The course focuses on questions of narrative reliability, depictions of region and nation, and self-reflexivity.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Tim Baker

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • English (EL) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4

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

The relationship between self and place is central to many key twentieth-century Scottish novels. Looking at a selection of novels about rural and urban experience, and including both canonical and lesser-known works, this course will introduce students to key debates in the study of regional and national fiction. In each of these texts individuals are shaped by a particular place, and in turn shape that place. This relationship is further complicated by the question of reliability and narrative voice: each of these texts explores the limits of stable representation. Combining a variety of modern, postmodern, and contemporary texts, this course both introduces students to some of the best Scottish writing of the last century and highlights key debates in the study of Scottish literature. Authors to be studied may include John Buchan, Willa Muir, Muriel Spark, Alasdair Gray, and A.L. Kennedy.

Further Information & Notes

Course Aims:
The aims of the course are:
- To enhance understanding of twentieth-century Scottish novels through a focus on representations of self and place
- To delineate the relationships between rural, metropolitan, and diasporic fiction
- To consider the role of regional identity in a variety of literary works
- To explore the relationship between individuals and communities in these works
- To compare a wide variety of Scottish texts in relation to their social and historical context
- To explore the main stylistic strategies used by Scottish writers to examine the concept of place
Main Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
- think in a sophisticated way about twentieth-century Scottish fiction
- demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a selection of twentieth-century Scottish novels
- demonstrate an understanding of key themes and issues relating to place in Scottish fiction
- reflect critically on the relationship between regional, local, and national identities
- write in a sophisticated way about Scottish and Irish writing, and in particular the way it reflects wider cultural, social, political, and aesthetic developments
- demonstrate a critical understanding of key issues in their contribution to discussion, in their oral presentations, and in their written work.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: Essay 1 (2500 words): 35%; Essay 2 (3500 words): 45%; Presentation: 10%; Seminar participation: 10%. Resit: Not applicable.

Formative Assessment

Verbal feedback through seminars; written feedback through essay cover sheets and SAM sheets.


Verbal feedback through seminars; timely written feedback through essay cover sheets and SAM sheets.

Course Learning Outcomes


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