EN1SL-Shelf Life

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:4
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Paddy Bullard

Email: p.s.bullard@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is an introduction to English literature’s material dimension, and to the library as a symbol. For the most part literary study involves the interpretation of poems, novels or plays. This module complements this ordinary kind of reading by investigating books and other archival documents as physical objects. Its focus is on the preservation, use and dissemination of material texts in libraries and collections, and on how those sorts of places have been represented in literature.



One half of the teaching on the module is seminar-based. Students will use set texts to find out how writers have imagined libraries and archives in the past and present: as treasure-houses for a culture’s most valued stories; as labyrinths that hide mysterious and dangerous knowledge; as cemeteries for ideas; as “thought in cold storage”; or, conversely, as bastions for the active defence of free thought. They will consider how literary representations of libraries and archives map onto their actual operation. The other half of the module is practice-based. Students go behind the scenes at the University of Reading’s Special Collections department. They explore its world-class holdings and learn how its archives are safeguarded and made accessible to scholars. Reading’s Special Collections contain priceless stores of rare books and manuscripts, including the Overstone Library, the MERL library, the National Publisher’s Archive, and the Samuel Beckett Collection.


Aims:

The module aims to help students develop an understanding of libraries and archives as living, working institutions, and as cultural symbols. It is designed to introduce students to a range of critical perspectives on the physical dimension of literary culture, and to explore those perspectives in literary texts. These may include debates about heritage and conservation, cultural value, the psychology of collecting, the politics of the canon, the sociology of texts, and the methods of descriptive bibliography. It also aims to equip students with practical experience of the work of archivists, librarians and collections professionals, with a particular focus on how they publicize their work on social media and through other digital channels.



Students acquire skills that include: the safe handling of rare books, and basic methods for their conservation; techniques for presenting collections to different publics (including digital techniques); and familiarity with systems for ordering, cataloguing and accessing items within collections. Through secondary reading, personal reflection and a variety of assessment tasks they will be encouraged to engage critically in debates on the cultural value and significance of libraries and archives.



A further aim of the module is to open an optional pathway to students that leads on, once the module is completed, to further study of literature’s material dimension, or to further work in museums and archives. This pathway may lead to other modules with material culture themes, such as EN2BB ‘The Business of Books’, EN3SM ‘The Writer’s Workshop’, EN3PC ‘Publishing Cultures’, or EN3FKL ‘Folk and Literature’. It might lead students to join the BA English Literature with Museum Studies programme at the end of the programme.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students are expected to be able to:




  • exercise skills of close textual analysis, broad cultural synthesis and critical assessment

  • analyse literary and material texts, and respond to their affective and cultural power, using appropriate approaches and terminology

  • develop independent and imaginative interpretations of literary and material texts

  • articulate a critical understanding of the mat erial and literary dimensions of texts, and the way those dimensions are connected.

  • evaluate a range of materials for study (print, digital, archival, material)

  • apply to the reading of literary texts their acquired understanding of practical issues in the running of libraries and archives



plan, write, and proof-read essays and other digital assessment outputs that are clear, accurate and effective.


Additional outcomes:

Over the course of the module students will acquire various specific practical skills. By its end they are expected to be able to:




  • handle archival objects, books and documents safely and appropriately

  • navigate archival cataloguing and storage systems so as to access a range of materials (print, digital, archival, material) for study or display

  • discuss and present items from archival collections effectively through digital media



Over the course of the module students will acquire various generic and graduate skills. By its end they are expected to be able to:




  • discover and synthesize complex information and diverse evidence

  • respond creatively and imaginatively to research tasks

  • present information within wider contexts

  • plan, organise and report to deadline

  • articulate their own and other people's ideas concisely, accurately and persuasively both orally and in writing 

  • be sensitive to cultural contexts when working with others

  • adapt to different demands and tasks

  • look beyond the immediate task to the wider context, including the social and commercial effects of their work



initiate and take responsibility for their own work.


Outline content:

Over the course of the module students will acquire various specific practical skills. By its end they are expected to be able to:




  • handle archival objects, books and documents safely and appropriately

  • navigate archival cataloguing and storage systems so as to access a range of materials (print, digital, archival, material) for study or display

  • discuss and present items from archival collections effectively through digital media< /li>


Over the course of the module students will acquire various generic and graduate skills. By its end they are expected to be able to:




  • discover and synthesize complex information and diverse evidence

  • respond creatively and imaginatively to research tasks

  • present information within wider contexts

  • plan, organise and report to deadline

  • articulate their own and other people 's ideas concisely, accurately and persuasively both orally and in writing 

  • be sensitive to cultural contexts when working with others

  • adapt to different demands and tasks

  • look beyond the immediate task to the wider context, including the social and commercial effects of their work



initiate and take responsibility for their own work.


Global context:

Texts for this module are by authors from the European and American continents.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module is delivered through a combination of lectures and structured seminar discussion (Whiteknights Campus), and on-site practical work at Special Collections (London Road Campus). Students are required to do preparatory reading where appropriate.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6 6 1
Seminars 5 6
Practicals classes and workshops 8 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 11 11
    Exam revision/preparation 39
    Preparation for presentations 5
    Preparation for seminars 40 34
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 10 10
       
Total hours by term 80 119 1
       
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Portfolio 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Students are required to submit a portfolio of digital presentations (through the Blackboard blog facility) at the end of the Spring Term.


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Students will complete a series of short formative tasks throughout the Autumn and Spring Terms, and will receive spoken and written feedback from their seminar tutor. The skills learned through the formative tasks will prepare students to undertake the blog portfolio and summative essay. Written feedback will also be provided on the summative essays.


Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor 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 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 at a date to be confirmed at the end of August.


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

































Cost



Amount




  1. Required text books



£20




  1. Specialist equipment or materials



 




  1. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear



 




  1. Printing and binding



 




  1. Computers and devices with a particular specification



 




  1. Travel, accommodation and subsistence



 



Last updated: 4 April 2020

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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