IT2PA-Poetry Under Attack

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Paola Nasti


Summary module description:

here is something inherently dangerous about poetry and the way in which it imagines the world (and other worlds) – a danger that is closely related to a poet’s power to fashion a reality that cannot be controlled by outside authorities. The threatening potential of poetry, in all its shapes and forms, has long been conceptualised – already the ancient Greeks explored this issue in political, religious, and philosophical discourse.

The module ‘Poetry under Attack’ will cover a wide range of responses to the perceived threatening potential of poetry, from the ancient world to the modern period, with a particular focus on ancient Greece, Rome, the western middle ages, and the early modern period (without disregarding more recent paradigms, as relevant).

Students on the ‘Poetry under Attack’ module will be given the opportunity to conceptualise the liberating power of poetry and song as well as to encounter the ways in which poetic licence has triggered responses, from contempt to threats to poets’ lives and murder.


This module aims to expose students to a broad range of responses to poetry as a (seemingly or factually) dangerous art. It will thus foster a critical and analytical approach to the relevance, power, and innate potential of poetry as a central element of human cultural behaviour and practice, in all its ramifications, combined with a strong sense of continuity beyond traditional, self-imposed chronological and geographical boundaries.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the conclusion of this module, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • analyse and critically appraise ancient, medieval, and modern arguments against poetry as an art form;

  • identify key issues of scholarly research and debate on the same topic;

  • understand how poets have instigated, refuted, and otherwise engaged with, criticism faced from a multitude of ideological, theoretical, and practical angles;

  • develop and carry out independent research, forming articulate and well evidenced arguments.

Additional outcomes:

The module encourages independent thought and development of own questions as well as the development of oral and written communication skills. It also encourages critical thinking, familiarises students with research methods and the most relevant resources in the subject area.

Outline content:

Sessions will offer a mixture of introductory, staff-led lectures, in-depth class discussions of relevant texts and issues, and student-led sessions, aiming to take into account students’ needs and interests throughout the term. Sessions may also, on occasion, take the shape of workshops, to support students’ needs with regard to the production of assessed outputs

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Following an outline lecture in week 1 of term, teaching will proceed by interactive, seminar-style sessions, during which relevant texts, concepts, and ideas will be explored in depth. Depending on student needs, takers of this module will also have up to three hours of additional supervision on developing and carrying out independent research for assessed coursework items.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 2
Seminars 18
Tutorials 3
Guided independent study 177
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

This module will be assessed by means of –

(i) a position paper, due on Friday of week 11 of the term in which the module was taught (30%)

(ii) a 3,000 words essay, due on Friday of week 1 of the term after the term in which the module was taught (70%).

Formative assessment methods:

Timely feedback on position papers and essay draft will be provided through discussion in class as well as through supervision meetings, as required and requested by students.

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:
    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:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Resubmission of coursework in 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: 31 March 2017

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