EN3MSF-Modern Scottish Fiction: From Jean Brodie to Trainspotting

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Nash

Email: a.p.nash@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Scottish writers have produced some of the most remarkable and notorious works of fiction since the 1960s, from the postmodernist techniques of Muriel Spark and Alasdair Gray to the urban realism of James Kelman and Irvine Welsh. This module introduces students to a range of influential texts in the new Scottish renaissance and explores some of the distinctive narrative innovations of the Scottish novel. In addition to examining the formal and thematic issues raised by the texts, the students will also explore the relevance of studying literature within the context of national traditions.

The module aims to promote knowledge and understanding of the development of Scottish fiction since the 1960s and, by extension, knowledge and understanding of some of the major developments in modern and contemporary fiction generally. It aims to develop critical awareness of the distinctive formal, narrative and thematic qualities of the selected texts, and to encourages students to make comparisons between different texts and writers. It also aims to encourage consideration of the relevance of issues of national identity to literary study.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes
By the end of the module the student will be expected to:
•exercise skills of close textual analysis and demonstrate an understanding of
the texts selected for study
•engage critically with ideas presented in seminars and secondary materials
•identify and demonstrate some of the major formal and thematic developments
in Scottish fiction since the 1960s and modern and contemporary fiction generally
•demonstrate some understanding of the social, cultural, and political contexts
of Scotland and Scottish literature.
•demonstrate some awareness of debates about the relationship between
literature and national identity
•construct and express coherent critical arguments in writing.

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner.

Outline content:
The module begins with discussion about the nature of Scotland and its cultural and political history and status. It proceeds to discuss seven novels. Students will consider the distinctive literary qualities of a set of texts produced by Scottish writers over the last forty years. They will examine possible connections between them and consider how (or indeed whether) these works might be said to articulate a distinctive national tradition. Topics to be discussed include metafiction, postmodernism, urban realism, imagination and authority, visions of God and the Devil, and the representation of masculinity and femininity. Texts chosen for study may include: Muriel Spark: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Alasdair Gray: Lanark, James Kelman: A Disaffection, Janice Galloway: The Trick is to Keep Breathing, Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting, Alan Warner: Morvern Callar.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Three seminar hours weekly, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30 1
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 39
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

Formative assessment methods:
Formative Assessment Methods - work which provides opportunities to improve performance (e.g. through feedback provided) but which does not necessarily always contribute towards the overall module mark:

Students write one formative essay, of between 1500 and 2000 words.. Students will also be required to give a 10-minute seminar presentation on an approved topic for which they are entitled to receive oral feedback. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed essay of 2250-2500 words, or the equivalent placement report.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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