Type of module:

Summary module description:


This module aims to help you to identify and develop your own interests within the period from literary Modernism up to the present day. Through a wide range of primary and secondary texts, seminars will introduce you to questions of form and genre relevant to the period, as well as issues and problems associated with the ideas of modernity and the contemporary. You will be taught by a variety of members of the Department of English Literature, encouraging a diverse range of interests and critical approaches. Texts and topics will be set in such a way as to open up possible areas of further study not only in Spring Term options, but also in the Dissertation.

The module aims to encourage wide and adventurous reading in both primary and secondary literature. By engaging with a diversity of forms, genres, theories and contexts, you will develop your own critical interests and focus.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the selected modern and contemporary texts

  • Formulate critical questions and interpret texts critically and within their critical contexts

  • Engage critically with critical and theoretical texts

  • Conduct and demonstrate independent thought and research in the selection and analysis of texts

  • Synthesise a written argument locating analysis of particular texts in a broader theoretical and contextual setting

Additional outcomes:

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

Outline content:

The module will trace a number of key concepts and ideas in literature and culture since the start of the twentieth century. The first half of the module will focus on texts from the period of Modernism, possibly including texts not usually considered as Modernist. The second half will focus on texts from the latter half of the twentieth century addressing topics of contemporary importance such as postmodernism and late modernism, feminism, women’s writing, and gender, and diasporic and transnational writing.

The syllabus for any given year will be decided in advance by the teaching team and advertised before the start of the course. An indicative list of authors studied might include Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Alice Notley, Ted Berrigan, Helen Oyeyemi.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact time will take the form of ten weekly seminars, each two hours long. Each seminar will involve discussion of texts or other materials set and prepared in advance. The seminars will be taught by a number of different members of the English department, working as a team to combine their individual expertise so as to provide students with a wider range of materials and approaches. The convenors will be available for consultation on a one-to-one basis to discuss students’ work and progress on the module as a whole.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 11
Tutorials 11
Guided independent study: 178
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will produce a 4,000-word essay on one or more of the set texts. The specific essay question or title will be determined by the student in consultation with the module convenor. In addition, students will also complete a shorter piece of assessed work (10 credits) of a bibliographical nature. This will be set centrally by the module convenor.

Formative assessment methods:

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):

Last updated: 10 April 2019


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