EN3PSY-Psychoanalysis and Text

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: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Prof Karin Lesnik-Oberstein

Email: k.b.lesnik-oberstein@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module introduces and explores relationships between psychoanalysis and literary criticism, concentrating not on psychoanalysis as ‘applied’ to literature, but, instead, on thinking through the implications of psychoanalysis for literary criticism and theory. On the basis of readings from Sigmund Freud the students are introduced to central concepts from and about psychoanalysis, primarily the psychoanalytic ‘unconscious’, and then continue by examining the implications of this for ideas about authorship and intentionality, readership and response, and text and interpretation. After the initial readings from Freud, each group selects both primary and secondary literature to analyse closely.

Through the reading of both theoretical and fictional texts the relationships between Freudian ideas about the unconscious and the reading and criticism of texts will be analysed and addressed. These include considering the way that psychoanalysis has been read as affecting ideas of authorship and biography, and of interpretation. The aims are both to introduce students to a reading of some texts from Freud, and other relevant psychoanalytic theory, and to promote an ability to reflect on critical languages and practices, in order to begin to develop some understanding of the complex relationships between ideas of psychoanalysis and ideas of literary criticism.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module the students will be expected to:

•Exercise skills of close textual analysis, especially in relation to reading all
texts, including psychoanalytic or critical texts and understand how and why this
is motivated by the implications of psychoanalysis.
•Demonstrate an awareness of the theoretical and methodological issues
pertinent to the module throughout their own critical formulations and readings.
•Understand the centrality of the reading of narration/ perspectives to the
implications of psychoanalysis for reading.
•Have an understanding of issues core to psychoanalysis, including ideas
of the ‘unconscious’ and sexuality.
•Connect the issues and implications of this module to related issues on
other modules.

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. In enabling students to focus on developing a detailed understanding of some core elements of psychoanalytic theory and its relationships to literary criticism and theory this module also provides students with an awareness of the wider cultural and historical influence of psychoanalysis and the broader discourses around it, including, for instance, ideas about ‘science’, gender and sexuality.

Outline content:
The module addresses ideas from and about psychoanalysis and its possible implications for the reading and criticism of texts. Firstly students will explore ideas about psychoanalysis itself through the reading of Sigmund Freud’s ‘Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis’ and his ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’, together with any further essays to be decided on during the course. Further links to the reading and analysis of texts will be introduced through other texts set in consultation with the class. These texts can be any literary, critical or psychoanalytic readings as core to the module is not what is read but how it is read and why.

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
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 40
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
This module is assessed by two pieces of work: two assessed essays of 2500 words, each worth 50%. Feedback will be provided on both elements of the summative assessment.

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.

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 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 25 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:

    Key Readings List:
    You can view a Key Readings list for this module here: http://readinglists.reading.ac.uk/lists/DC954FD5-C3BB-44C0-8335-09E3E594A797 N.B. Reading lists may change before the module starts.

    Last updated: 4 April 2017

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