EN3SM-The Writer's Workshop: Studying Manuscripts

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: English Part 1
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Mark Nixon

Email: m.nixon@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module provides a practical and theoretical introduction to the study of manuscripts and textual scholarship. Students will have the unique opportunity of drawing on the resources of the extensive range of manuscript materials held at the University’s Special Collections.

This module is designed to provide students with an introduction to manuscript study. It aims to promote the skills necessary to working with drafts, letters, notebooks and other manuscripts, and to develop a critical awareness of the ways in which such material relates to our understanding of an author’s work.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes

By the end of the module students will be expected to:
•Demonstrate the practical skills necessary to working with a variety of manuscripts
•Show an awareness of theoretical issues generated by the study of manuscripts
•Engage critically with ideas discussed in seminars
•Construct and express coherent arguments, both orally and 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 starts by offering students a look inside the writer’s workshop. Through visits to Special Collections, students will be introduced to the different kinds of manuscripts (notebooks, diaries, letters, drafts, publishers’ records) that contribute to the creation of a literary text, and to the ways in which the information contained in such material can be read. Subsequently the broader theoretical issues surrounding the study of manuscripts will be examined, such as the relation between draft and final text, the materiality of text, external influences on the writing process, notions of author intention, historical and contemporary theories of manuscripts (in particular ‘Genetic Criticism’), and the way in which manuscripts can aid our understanding of published texts. For the 100% coursework assessment, students will either create an edition or write a study of a manuscript or a manuscript dossier.

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 80
Report 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

Students will submit a bibliographic task of approximately 1000 words, carrying 20% of the total mark. Building on this work, students will then submit a case study, which counts for 80% of the overall assessment. This assessed case study will be established under guidance of the module convenor.

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 conduct a bibliographic exercise on a manuscript, of between 1500 and 2000 words. Feedback will also be provided on the assessed coursework.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 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: 11 May 2018


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