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Undergraduate English 2018-2019

EL1009: ACTS OF READING

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.

EL1513: CONTROVERSIAL CLASSICS

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.

EL1536: RETHINKING READING

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

Rethinking Reading invites you to consider what we do when we study literature. What shapes the idea of literature as we know it? How, and why, might we want to change the ways in which we think about texts? Who gets to decide, and why does it matter? Designed as an introduction to critical theory for students of literature, Rethinking Reading introduces several key topics in critical studies: literature, authorship, genre, sexuality, and posthumanism.

EL2011: ENCOUNTERS WITH SHAKESPEARE

30 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.

EL2512: THE TRAGEDY OF KNOWLEDGE

30 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.

EL3008: WRITING REVOLT: LITERATURE AND POLITICS IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Literature has the power to reimagine society.  The course will explore how poetry, drama and other literary forms across the century sought new literary approaches to meet the challenges of these times. We will examine different literary strategies adopted by authors to engage with their times, from those who drew upon classical precedent to others who brought new voices, and new publics, into the forum of literature. Texts on the course will vary each year, but will feature such authors as Ben Jonson, John Donne, Katharine Philips, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson and Samuel Daniel.

EL3009: AMERICAN INNOVATION

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.

EL30CP: PAGE AND STAGE: RENAISSANCE WRITINGS 1500-1640

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. A period which saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.

EL30FF: MODERNISM: MAKE IT NEW

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

The early twentieth century was a time of great literary experimentation as literary modernists rose to the challenge to make it new. We will explore modernism’s stylistic experimentation while also considering the social contexts and changes that shaped this literature. The course will examine a range of writers, genres, movements and locations which prompt us to consider what, when and where was modernism.

EL30GK: MIND AND MONSTROSITY: REALISM AND THE GOTHIC IN THE LONG 19TH CENTURY

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Exploring connections between Gothic monstrosity and psychological realism, this course investigates an exciting range of texts and contexts from the long nineteenth century. Focusing on novels from 1789-1914, with some attention to other genres and adaptations, we ask what it means to be human, and how cultural anxieties and scientific/technological developments have affected literature (and vice versa). From doubling to degeneration, madness to the metropolis, villain to vampire, empire to the threat of extinction, we examine the work of writers such as Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells.

EL30HK: AMERICAN INSURRECTIONS: WRITING, SELF AND NATION, 1776-1865

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course follows the development of American literature in English from the printing of the Declaration of Independence, the defining document of the American Revolution, in 1776, to the end of the Civil War, in 1865. It focusing on the idea of America, both as the subject of American writing, and as the context in which that writing was produced. Among the authors studied in the course are: Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

EL30JS: ANGLO-AMERICAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

From the picture book to the fairy tale, literature for children offers a wide range of literary modes of engaging with questions of human becoming. This course explores American and British children’s literature from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. We will look at a range of genres including poetry, the school story, the adventure story and fantasy, as well as examining the construction of children’s literature as a genre of its own. We will engage in close reading, and consider historical and social context and questions of gender, race and sexuality.

EL30QA: SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL: SCOTTISH SHORT STORIES

30 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Sympathy for the Devil: A Century of Scottish Short Stories

While the short story is often said to have developed in America nineteenth-century Scottish writing is in fact instrumental to the emergence of the form. Often drawing on oral and folk traditions Scottish writers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries employ the supernatural , or our fear of it, to explore subjects such as guilt, fear, remorse and the extent to which we can control our own destinies. This course will explore the ways in which the short story in Scotland develops from the early nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. It will include writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, John Galt, Margaret Oliphant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Findlater and Lewis Grassic Gibbon

EL35DQ: KNIGHTS, VIRGINS AND VIRAGOS: CHAUCER AND MEDIEVAL WRITING

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

An introduction to late medieval-literature, challenging modern assumptions about the medieval and exploring the diverse range of medieval literary culture, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the autobiographical narrative of Margery Kempe and surprising profanity of medieval lyric.

EL35EH: CLASSICAL EPIC

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course is your opportunity to study four of the most influential and gripping texts of world literature. We begin in the oral culture of ancient Greece, with the Iliad's stark meditation on war and death, and the Odyssey's consolatory reflections on divine justice, poetry and love. In imperial Rome, we see the genre transformed into a monument to political power in Virgil's Aeneid, then thrown into disarray by Ovid's irreverent anti-epic, the Metamorphoses. We end by considering some of the ways these texts have been exploited and adapted across the intervening centuries, in poetry and prose, art and film.

EL35GK: MIND AND MONSTROSITY: REALISM AND THE GOTHIC IN THE LONG 19TH CENTURY

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Exploring connections between Gothic monstrosity and psychological realism, this course investigates an exciting range of texts and contexts from the long nineteenth century. Focusing on novels from 1789-1914, with some attention to other genres and adaptations, we ask what it means to be human, and how cultural anxieties and scientific/technological developments have affected literature (and vice versa). From doubling to degeneration, madness to the metropolis, villain to vampire, empire to the threat of extinction, we examine the work of writers such as Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells.

EL35KM: PERVERSION OF THE INTERIOR: WOMEN'S FICTION 1925-1975

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Gothic, Romance, Autobiography: these are the central topics of mid-twentieth-century fiction by and for women, and yet have often been critically neglected. Looking at a range of women's fiction in this period, including popular and middlebrow titles as well as literary classics, this course looks at what women wrote, what women read, and who deemed these works important. This course especially focuses on the relation between physical space (the home, the village) and psychological space (including representations of mental illness) in order to discuss the space of women's writing.

EL35KN: HAUNTED TEXTS

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course offers an overview of a wide range of twentieth-century Scottish literature, focusing on themes of haunting, death, and place. Including novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, the course explores questions of the relationship between self and society, the legacy of the past, and the formation of gendered and regional identities. There are lots of ghosts.

EL35UT: ART AND ATROCITY: REPRESENTATIONS OF VIOLENCE AND TRAUMA

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.

EL35XR: ROMANTICISM

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

The Romantic movement swept Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and produced some of the most innovative and exciting literature that has ever been seen. This rule breaking art helped shape the way that we consider art today and underpins many of our ideas about imagination, originality, creativity and self-expression. This course will explore the ways in which the Romantic movement manifested itself across Britain and Ireland and will consider writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Austen and Byron. 

EL35YB: CREATIVE WRITING: CREATIVITY AND CRAFT

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course offers students the opportunity, through lectures and interactive workshops, to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Taught by widely published, award-winning writers, it provides a thorough, practice-based understanding of creative process and of the technical challenges involved in developing an original idea into a completed literary artefact, presented to a professional standard. It also contributes to students' future career potential, whether as ‘creative’ or other kinds of professional writers/communicators.

EL40AD: STAGING THE CITY: RENAISSANCE URBAN DRAMA

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Drama was the entertainment phenomenon of the early modern period: a popular art form that developed swiftly and attracted mass audiences. London was both the city that played host to this new cultural form, and the subject of much of its output. The course will examine the relation between life in the early modern city and the great flowering of drama by celebrated authors of the period.  Using works by well-known writers such as Middleton, Jonson and Shakespeare, as well as lesser known authors, we will explore how the plays of the period engage with key concerns of urban living.

EL40DR: THE SHORT STORY AS A LITERARY FORM

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course examines the development of the short story during the last two hundred years, e.g. from Washington Irving, Hawthorne, and Melville, through Hemingway, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf and Mansfield, to Raymond Carver and a selection of contemporary writers. The course will consider the distinctiveness of the short story as an art form, its techniques and applications, and the factors that have influenced its evolution.

EL40DT: DAUGHTERS OF CIRCE: ACRASIA, CLEOPATRA, EVE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Renaissance literature is full of temptress and enchantress figures from classical epic and medieval romance, refashioned to reflect the desires and anxieties of the early modern world. The course explores the development of this archetype, showing the psychological, religious and political concerns it encodes, and its power as an artistic motif in works by Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton and others. You will study a mixture of poetry and prose and examine works by three great early modern writers, in light of renaissance poetics, 'psychology' and politics, and the theories of language and the imagination which they encapsulate and transform.

EL40GU: LITERATURE AND PSYCHOLOGY AT THE FIN DE SIECLE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Psychology, neurology and criminology came to the forefront of late-nineteenth-century thought about pressing issues and anxieties: post-Darwinian fears of decline and degeneration; decadence and neurasthenia; the strains upon and secrets within city spaces; New (and fallen) Women, and imperialist expansion and its attendant masculinities. Examining interdisciplinary exchange between literature and sciences of mind, we will engage in close reading of several texts to understand the role and scope of the novel genre at this time of social, cultural and aesthetic upheaval. Authors studied may include Thomas Hardy, Olive Schreiner, Joseph Conrad, R.L. Stevenson, Oscar Wilde and H.G. Wells.

EL40HQ: LITERATURE AND MEDICINE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course explores the relationship between literature and medicine, and asks what kind of ground the two disciplines might share and how they might enrich one another.  The use and abuse of literary concepts in medical practice and of medical ideas and history in literature will be considered along with the literary representations of the physician and narratives of illness, focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The final part of the course explores the representation of psychiatry and psychiatric theory in twentieth- and twenty-first century literature.

EL40KD: IMAGINED SPACES: SELF AND PLACE IN TWENTIETH CENTURY SCOTTISH FICTION

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

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.

EL40QV: HORRIBLE HISTORIES: VIOLENCE AND TRAUMA IN THE SCOTTISH NOVEL

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Scotland's history is one of violence, bloodshed and trauma. This is reflected in its literature, above all in the fiction of the nineteenth century. Focusing on pivotal moments of upheaval in Scotland's past such as the Covenanting Wars and the Jacobite Risings this course will explore the ways in which these violent events are reflected in the works of writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson and those in the modern period who have inherited their legacy. Exploring key concepts such as how the novel might approach and engage with the past, the extent to which it may operate as a form of commemoration and the limits which traumatic events place upon forms of narration, the course will examine the ways in which we can comprehend and remember a nation's violent history through the form of the novel.

EL40WH: ALL FOR ONE: THE POLITICS OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP IN MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN LITERATURE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course focuses on the emphasis on sameness in conceptions of love and friendship within medieval and early modern literature, exploring its implications for the history of sexuality, and its impact on political ideology.

EL40YL: CREATIVE WRITING: THE WRITER'S VOICE

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

Creative Writing: The Writer's Voice will focus on the crucial and often complex role of voice in fiction and poetry, considering both theoretical and practical aspects. It offers students the opportunity to develop their creative processes and practical literary skills in a supportive, constructive learning environment. Teaching consists of carefully targeted critical advice and guidance from the class tutor and peer evaluation from class members in a workshop environment. Examples of writing by recognised authors and class members will be used to enhance students' awareness of the key role of voice in imaginative writing, leading to practical application in their own creative work.

EL40YN: BRITISH POETRY OF THE 20TH CENTURY

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course will explore the work of some of the most influential and innovative voices in 20th century British poetry.  Beginning with the Modernist revolution in technique, theory and taste, it will trace some of the main continuities and reactions that stemmed from the first decades of the century and which culminated in a richly diverse and fascinating late 20th century/early 21st century poetic landscape.

EL4502: ENGLISH DISSERTATION

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.

EL4508: CREATIVE WRITING FOLIO DISSERTATION

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course will provide students with the opportunity to write an extended folio of creative work in either poetry or prose. It will provide students with the opportunity to explore and extend their creative ambitions in writing and, through the reflective commentary element, enable them to contextualise their own creative achievements in relation to works by established writers. Throughout the evolution of the folio, the student will develop a thorough practical awareness of some of the key stylistic, formal and expressive possibilities available to the skilled creative writer.

EL4510: DISSERTATION IN SCOTTISH LITERATURE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within Scottish literature.

EL45CT: CONTROVERSY AND DRAMA: THE PLAYS OF CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course will read the complete, dramatic works of Christopher Marlowe, one of Shakespeare's best-known theatrical contemporaries, paying particular attention to the author's sustained interest in social outsiders and the moral universes in which they exist and are judged. The course will also consider Marlowe's dramatic awareness of the religious controversies of his age and address New Historical questions as to the subversive or conservative power of the theatre in the sixteenth-century England of Renaissance and Reformation.

EL45EQ: SPENSER

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The module looks at a wide range of Spenser's work in different genres, including a substantial proportion of his epic poem, and studies this in the contexts of contemporary political history, Spenser's biography, and the literary traditions stemming from Virgil and Petrarch.

EL45FI: WRITING IN A FREE STATE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course addresses Irish writing produced, in or out of the country, between the revolutionary period (1916-1922) and the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1949. Political ferment was matched by a remarkable surge in literary production, in drama, fiction and poetry. We will examine the ways in which writers responded to (and helped shape) political change, while also staging literary revolutions of their own in the bold experiments of Ulysses and other landmark texts.

EL45JA: WANDERING WOMEN: LITERATURE, PLACE AND ENVIRONMENT

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

This course explores the work of women writers with particular emphasis on the role of place (focused mostly, but not exclusively, on modernist women writers from the first half of the twentieth century). We will look at a number of different environments including urban, rural, wild, domestic, trans-national and mythic spaces. We will analyse place in relation to a number of other themes such as gender, sexuality, race, spirituality and creativity. We will read a number of canonical and lesser known women writers, working across various genres, including fiction, poetry and life-writing. Authors may include: Virginia Woolf, Kate O’Brien, H.D., Zora Neale Hurston, Una Marson, Mary Butts, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Rose Macaulay, Gwendolyn Brooks and Dorothy Richardson. Previous study of modernism is not required.

EL45KP: ALL TOO HUMAN: ANIMAL AND POSTHUMAN RELATIONS

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The question of the human is at the forefront of contemporary philosophical and cultural enquiry. Looking at a range of popular and literary texts, as well as recent theoretical writings, this course investigates the relation between the human and animal and the representation of human transformation and adaptation in order to study contemporary approaches to the body, language, and suffering.

EL45UU: AMNESTY, AMNESIA, ARCHIVE: REPRESENTATIONS OF VIOLENCE, MEMORY AND TRAUMA IN CONTEMPORARY NORTHERN IRISH CULTURE

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

From 1968-1994, Northern Irish writers and visual artists found themselves addressing key questions: what is the role of the artist in a divided society, and must s/he engage with political events? This course considers how the artists framed these dilemmas and how they have been framed by them. Following the outbreak of peace in the province, the role of artists changed: their work now focused on the victims of violence and to demand justice. This course examines the different approaches taken to remembrance by writers/artists and explores the ways in which memory and trauma are framed in their work.

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