PP3LITE-Philosophy of Literature

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Severin Schroeder

Email: s.j.schroeder@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module is, for the most part, a close study of Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen’s book Truth, Fiction, and Literature (OUP 1994), exploring key questions in the philosophy of literature, especially the issue of truth in literature.


This module aims to explore some fundamental questions in the philosophy of literature, such as: What is fiction? What is literature?  How do they relate to truth and falsity?  What is the value of literature?  Is it to be explained, at least partly, in terms of literary truth?

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students should have a good grasp of the concepts of fiction and literature, and of some of the main issues in the philosophy of literature.  In particular, they should be familiar with various attempts to account for literary value in terms of truth or understanding, and with the problems those attempts encounter.

  • Students’ hermeneutic and analytic skills will be improved by their in-depth study of, and critical engagement with, one of the major philosophical books in that area.

  • Students’ oral skills will be improved by their presentation of material on a given topic in class.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

The module will be based on Lamarque & Olsen’s book Truth, Fiction, and Literature and topics covered in the module will typically include:

  • Fiction and truth: the practice of story-telling, truth-value, pretence, content, reference;

  • Literature and truth: literary practice, the theory of novelistic truth, the propositional theory of literary truth, metaphorical truth, literature as philosophy, mimesis, literary value.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught by lectures and seminars. Students are expected to attend 10 hours of lectures and 5 hours of seminars during the term in which the module’s lecture and seminar classes take place. All students are required to write a single essay from a list of questions supplied by the module convenor. The essay assignment will be due in week 5 of the Summer term. In addition, students will be required to write a short précis of the topic for discussion in each seminar class. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. A reading list and sample questions will be given out at the start of the course.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 5
Guided independent study 85
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Students will write a short précis of the topic for discussion for every seminar class. Some classes may involve quizzes.

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 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Written assignment, to be completed in August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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