EN3VW-Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury

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:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Madeleine Davies

Email: m.k.davies@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Virginia Woolf is a cornerstone of Modern Literature, and a reference point for women’s writing. This module provides students with knowledge and understanding of selected novels and essays by Virginia Woolf, and explores key issues including narrative experimentalism, versions (and subversions) of ‘reality’, and challenges to concepts of boundaries, hierarchies, sexualities and difference. The module emphasises Woolf’s novels, but seminars are also devoted to her critical essays and ‘political’ writing. One seminar is devoted exclusively to ‘Bloomsbury’, exploring the figures associated with it, its dominant ideas in relation to art, literature, politics and sexuality, and its significance in terms of its own context and in terms of Woolf’s writing.

This module is designed to provide students with knowledge and understanding of the novels of Virginia Woolf in their Bloomsbury and Modernist contexts and to develop critical awareness of a range of impulses circulating in her work. Students will acquire an understanding of the selected texts, and will become familiar with a variety of critical readings of them.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:
•exercise skills of close textual analysis, and demonstrate an understanding of the texts selected for study
•select, extend and challenge established critical readings of Woolf.
•engage with the ‘challenges’ implicit in Woolf’s writing.
•construct and express coherent critical arguments vocally and in writing. One seminar is presentation based so students will need to prepare input in advance and deliver it effectively to the group.

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also learn to use IT resources efficiently, as seminar preparation documents and ongoing announcements regarding sources of information (for example, newly published critical discussions) will be published on Blackboard and students will need to become familiar with the system

Outline content:
The module addresses selected novels, essays, and short stories of Virginia Woolf. These will be read critically in the context of related modernist developments in the visual arts and literature. Central to the module will be ideas involved in Woolf’s challenge to narrative convention, her interrogation of patriarchal values (and the narrative expression of them), her re-perception and relocation of time and ‘space’, and her re-inscription of notions of hierarchies and boundaries. Her relations with artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and the critics Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry will be examined in the light of her literary approaches and techniques.

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 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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