ENMWIL-Oscar Wilde

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

Module Convenor: Prof Peter Stoneley

Email: p.stoneley@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module addresses the range of Wilde's output - poetry, essays, drama, fiction - and it uses a variety of critical methods. Topics will include decadence, the "soul", and poetry; The Importance of Being Earnest and the aphoristic imagination; medicine, aesthaetics, and The Picture of Dorian Grau; publishing in the 1890s; and Wilde and the prison. Aside from drawing on staff research expertise, the module exploits the exceptional resources to do with "decorated books", in the University's Special Collections, and the Reading Gaol Archive at the Berkshire Record Office.

To provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of a range of Wilde's writings, and especially with regard to cultural and critical contexts.

To engage students in working with archival materials of a literary and historical nature.

To encourage students to analyse and interrogate their own and others' critical methologies.

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

Employ skills of textual analysis to demonstrate understanding of the materials they have studied.

Identify and engage critically with a number of different analytical models relating to Wilde.

Evaluate and interrogate some of the ways in which primary texts express and respond to contemporary social, cultural, and historical conditions.

Construct and articulate coherent critical arguments in writing.

Additional outcomes:
The module will encourage students to: develop their oral communication skills through discussions in seminars; think critically both within and across disciplines; to interrogate their own assumptions and arguments, and those of others, including their peers and seminar leaders.

Outline content:
This modules explores the range of Wilde's writing, from the social comedy for which he is most famous, The Importance of Being Earnest, to his last completed literary work, The Ballard of Reading Gaol. Early seminars will take up essays such as "The Soul of Man under Socialism" alongside poems such as "The Harlot's House", to explore ideas of decadence. The module will move on to truth, aphorism, and paradox in Wilde's writing, and also contemporary medical discourses in relation to body dysmorphia and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Concluding sessions will look at Wilde's important creative and critical role in fin de siecle book history, and at his writing of the prison as both self-conscious artist and as

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of nine weekly seminars, each of two hours in length. Each module will involve discussion of texts or special materials that will have been set and prepared in advance. At least two of the sessions will take palce off-campus, including the University Special Collections and the Berkshire Record Office (both in Reading). The module convenor will be available for consultation with students on a one-to-one basis to discuss their work and the progress of the module as a whole.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 22
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study: 177
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:
4,000 word essay

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

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: Essay plans for discussion with convenor.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework.

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: 29 October 2019


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