EN3SB-Samuel Beckett

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 Steven Matthews

Email: s.matthews@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module provides an opportunity to trace the literary development of one of the major writers of the twentieth century through the intensive study of a range of texts.

This module is designed to provide students with knowledge and understanding of selected works of Samuel Beckett. It aims to promote skills of textual analysis, to explore the theoretical issues raised by the texts and to locate Beckett’s work within broader cultural contexts. Students will also be introduced to manuscript research at the Beckett Archive.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes

By the end of the module students will be expected to:
•exercise skills of close textual analysis
•consider relationships between the texts studied, their differences and similarities
•demonstrate an awareness of the intellectual milieu in which Beckett’s texts were produced
•construct and express coherent critical arguments, both orally and in writing
•show an awareness of the way in which Beckett explores the boundaries of different media

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:
Seminar discussion will focus on Beckett’s work in various genres (drama, poetry and prose) and media (theatre, radio, film and television). Set texts will be drawn from Murphy, Molloy, The Complete Dramatic Works and Beckett’s shorter prose. The module will place Beckett’s work in relation to his life and wider cultural contexts. Topics to be discussed include Beckett as a post/modernist writer, the author’s relationship with other writers such as Joyce, philosophy, psychology, embodiment, technology, the visual arts , genre, language, intertextuality and the various critical responses to Beckett’s work. Seminars will include an audiovisual component, and recordings of radio plays, theatrical productions and TV plays will form part of the learning experience. Students are also strongly encouraged to make use of the resources of the Beckett Archive.

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. 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 25 August 2017

    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:
    Currently there is no online Key Readings list available for this module, but you may wish to explore the range of Library resources available to you via the online guide for your subject area : http://www.reading.ac.uk/library/finding-info/subjects/lib-subject.aspx

    Last updated: 11 April 2017

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