Literature and religion have long been intertwined, from the devotional poetry of the Renaissance to contemporary representations of faith in a multicultural modern world. Understanding the nature of religious belief unlocks the meaning of many literary texts, which in turn have profoundly influenced the course of debate on religious issues.
On a degree in English Literature with Religious Studies, we’ll introduce you to writers who will open doors to contemporary beliefs and cultures remote from your own, and also help you explore more familiar literature in ways that challenge your preconceptions. This means you’ll study literature written in English by writers from all parts of the globe, whose voices are relevant and important in our modern world.
A core Literature module in your first year will equip you to read and interpret both traditional and contemporary literary texts critically as a scholar of English literature. Alongside this you can choose to revisit Shakespeare and consider his cultural relevance today through fictional, cinematic and TV adaptations; or to deepen your understanding of Gothic writing by tracing its origins back to the Romantic era.
In your second year you’ll focus on period-based literature from the Renaissance onwards and gain an understanding of literary history, from Elizabethan verse and drama, via Augustan poetry and the emergence of the novel in the 18th century, to the radical transformations of the Victorian age, and the emergence of modernity in the twentieth century. You’ll also have the opportunity to consider ways of reading that go beyond textual analysis or historical context, such as understanding literature through the political or ideological lens of Marxism, feminism and post-colonial theory – alternative systems for interpreting the world which have sought, in different ways, to challenge the dominant religious worldviews that held sway for so much of human history.
You’ll have the chance to specialise in your final year, tailoring your literary study to reflect your own interests. Themed options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, Renaissance tragedy, European crime fiction, literary adaptations and the culture of print in the 18th century.
Whether you’re religious or not, understanding the beliefs that guide people’s lives is crucial to navigating a globalised world, and the ways in which writers have depicted it. Studying religion helps you to explore literature from social, political and ethical perspectives. You’ll learn about the development of religious ideas and practices over time through the exploration of four major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. This will be given a modern context through a module on religion and the contemporary world. Religious Studies seminars in your first year will explore how to investigate and discuss different beliefs and ideas and to develop your critical thinking, all within a respectful and empathetic environment.
In your second year you’ll study the philosophies of religion, while in your final year you’ll consider the intersection of religion with popular culture. You’ll be taught by academic staff who bring fresh thinking to our accessible, engaging courses. They are active researchers of international standing who bring their own passion for their discipline into the classroom.
A fresh take on writing of the past, and the opportunity to study contemporary works that speak directly to our everyday lives
An expert academic team to challenge you, support you and build your confidence as you develop into a scholar of literature and religion
A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
Teaching rated excellent by 92.14% of our students in the 2018 National Student Survey
CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities
Students of English Literature with Religious Studies will be taught in a variety of ways according to the characteristics of each module. Many are taught via weekly lectures and weekly seminars. Workshops are also used to discuss subjects in more depth and encourage independent analysis, and in Religious Studies, in particular, small group teaching helps you to find your feet in the academic environment.
There are plenty of opportunities to discuss philosophical, religious and ethical issues with staff and fellow students, including an optional residential weekend each year.
You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies and enhance your CV. These include our Philosophy Society, run by students, which hosts fortnightly research seminars led by distinguished external philosophers.
You can choose a work experience module, Literature at Work, which explores English in the classroom and aspects of the literary heritage industry. The module is centred around a six-week work placement where you’ll gain valuable transferable skills. Our students have worked as school classroom assistants, in publishing houses or attractions such as London’s Charles Dickens Museum and Dr Johnson’s House.
The Placement Year provides you with the opportunity to set your academic studies in a broader, practical context and to gain experience in specific areas relevant to your fields of study. You will also strengthen your time management, organisational and communication skills as well as develop employability skills.
The Placement Year helps you to develop as an independent learner and apply the communication, analytical and other skills gained from studying to the workplace.
Taking a year’s study abroad is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens. Immersing yourself in a host country enhances your learning, giving you a greater appreciation of other cultures and societies, and a deeper understanding of their everyday lives. Your time abroad could also afford you an opportunity to observe religious beliefs in your host country.
Introduction to World Religions - 15 Credits
What do some of the world’s major religions teach about human life? The world’s great religions offer a diversity that is richer and more fascinating than people often realise. In this module, you will be introduced to what it means to study religion at university level and to some central ideas, doctrines and practices in several different world religions (typically Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism). Treating them as living traditions, the module will pay particular attention to the internal varieties of these traditions and the historical development of some of their central ideas, beliefs and practices. For instance, how has Judaism responded to the Enlightenment and the challenges of anti-semitism? How did the distinctively Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant forms of Christianity arise? Is the Sunni-Shia divide in Islam motivated by religious concerns or by political ones? Is Buddhism a secular form of spirituality or a full-blown religion?
Religion and the Contemporary World - 15 Credits
Is religion a mental illness or a source of mental health? Is it a tool for political oppression or a tool for liberation? Can it be understood at all from a secular point of view? In this module, we look at the place of religion in the contemporary world. We examine how different academic disciplines (e.g. psychology, political theory, sociology, philosophy, phenomenology, theology) have shaped our contemporary understanding of religion. With this background in place, we consider the way in which religious traditions engage with important contemporary controversies about such issues as gender, sexuality, multiculturalism, the media, war and peace and the environment. In exploring these controversies, we examine questions such as: Is religion inherently sexist? Does it condemn homosexuality? How accurate are media representations of religious groups and their beliefs? Do religious groups have different rights? Does religion promote war or prohibit it? Is religious environmentalism possible?
Texts Up Close: Reading and Interpretation - 15 Credits
This core module aims to encourage and develop your enjoyment of the processes and practices of reading literary texts. It is also intended that the module help you transition from secondary education to university study and equip you with a strong foundation in some important skills needed throughout your university career: close textual analysis, independent learning, critical thinking, and advanced academic writing. The module aims to encourage you to think about literary genres and styles, as well as a range of approaches to literary criticism. We will focus on a small number of primary texts written at different times, as well as a selection of literary criticism. Typical examples include: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (a novel, 1818); Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (a play, 1953) and an anthology, Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets (2010). `Texts Up Close’ will also complement your work on other modules in the first year, and prepare you for the next steps in your degree.
Make it New: Literary Tradition and Experimentation - 15 Credits
This module builds on your work in the first semester and focuses on the ways in which, in the Twenty-first century, literary texts continue to undergo transformation. In studying examples from the three main genres—prose (novels), poetry, and drama—you will examine how texts either conform to, or break away from, literary conventions and traditions. The module emphasises recent material to give you a sense of the writing around us now, but we will also look at some older ‘classic’ texts. We will seek to question how the ingredients of different genres—character, plot, and narration in the novel; dialogue and structure in drama; language, metre and rhyme in poetry, for example—are re-examined and questioned over time. Typical texts include Ali Smith, How to be both (2014), Zadie Smith, NW (2010), Daljit Nagra, Look We Have Coming to Dover! (2007); Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (1952) and Emily Berry, Stranger Baby (2017).
Border Crossings: Modern Literature from around the World - 15 Credits
This module focuses on literary texts from around the world. You will explore texts from a diverse range of countries and cultures (either written in English, or translated into English), helping you to think of ‘English Literature’ as more than just writing produced in Britain. You will study a selection of significant international works that have sparked particular debate, or represent literary innovation. We will discuss themes such as: identity; belonging; migration; heritage; diaspora; indigeneity; and environment. The module will build on the work done in the first semester, continuing to help you develop ways of comparing and analysing different texts and their contexts. We will read works from countries as varied as Australia, Guyana, India, Ireland, Nigeria, Palestine and the USA. These will typically include novels, graphic novels, films, poetry and plays.
Shakespeare Reframed - 15 Credits
The work of William Shakespeare needs no introduction. Proof of its enduring appeal comes from the multiple times his plays have been adapted for film or television or repurposed for comic books and fictional retellings. This module will introduce you to a diverse range of Shakespearean drama and explores some key adaptations, allowing you to develop close-reading skills and an understanding of how contemporary concerns are reflected in adapted versions. The set texts will vary each year, but might, for example, include a comedy, a tragedy and a history or problem play. Each one will be paired with a twentieth- or twenty-first-century adaptation. These may be fictional treatments, film or television versions. By increasing your confidence in analysing Shakespeare’s plays and understanding the process of adaptation for different mediums, this module provides a good springboard for further study at levels 5 and 6 of Renaissance texts and screen adaptations.
American Voices: Introduction to US Literature and Culture - 15 Credits
This module will introduce you to some key works of US literature, from the founding of the nation until the present day, and explore how they intersect with important aspects of American history, culture and society. We will study works in a range of forms and genres, from varied historical moments, developing your understanding of recurring motifs in American culture and your skills of critical analysis. The module will suggest different ways of conceptualising -- and making connections between -- alternative literary interpretations of the American experience. These approaches may be thematic (e.g. revolution, modernity, isolation), stylistic (e.g. Gothic, realism, naturalism) or spatial (e.g. city, plantation, frontier, small town). The module will lay the foundations for the more in-depth, period-based study of American literature at Level 5 and 6 by giving you a sense of the dazzling diversity of American writing over the last two centuries and more
Romantic Origins & Gothic Afterlives - 15 Credits
This module interrogates Romanticism’s intersection with the Gothic in an era of revolution, innovation and social change. It explores a number of themes around innocence and experience, liberty and enslavement, terror and romance, together with new ways of thinking about the world, through theories of the sublime and the picturesque. The emphasis on origins invites us to investigate the development of genres and modes of writing from Romantic fragments to revolutionary feminist essays, fairy tale narratives and Gothic romances, and to give special prominence to childhood. We interrogate a range of narratives that focus on the peculiar responsiveness of children to nature and the revolutionary promise of the child. We also investigate childhood as a less than idealised state: tales of primitives, ‘savages’, feral children, and ‘monsters’. The module will conclude with an exploration of the dark ‘other’ of the beautiful Romantic child through the Gothic afterlife of Frankenstein’s creature.
Journeys and Quests: Adventures in Literature - 15 Credits
In this module, we start to examine one of the major plots in literary history: the journey or quest. From ancient Greek poems about mythic heroes, to the search for the Holy Grail, and recent stories about returning home, the quest narrative has been central to literary texts across time-periods and cultures. This module is interested in the narrative traditions, conventions and motifs of the quest, and we will pay close attention to literary form and content. We will also think how certain narratives are recycled and re-used by writers and film-makers. We will move from ancient texts such as Homer’s epic The Odyssey to more contemporary re-writings of this story, such as Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad (2005). Other texts for study might include the autobiography The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831), Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road (2006) and The Wizard of Oz (film; 1939).
Identity and Contemporary Writing - 15 Credits
This creative and critical module explores a range of contemporary poetry and prose about identity. Broadly, the module examines material written in the late-twentieth and twenty-first-century about identity positions, from race and gender, to sexuality, dis/ability, class and so on. We will consider, both creatively and critically, how one writes about one’s own life, whether marginal or otherwise. You will think about these concerns as both creative writers and literary scholars: you will be analysing poetry and prose as well as writing in these forms on a fortnightly basis. Each critical week, exploring a topic, theme or author, will be followed by a creative week, where you put into practice the things you’ve learned. In all, this module helps develop you as both a writer and a scholar of contemporary literature. Writers studied may include: Emily Berry, Danez Smith, Justin Torres, Mary Jean Chan, Andrew McMillan, Claudia Rankine, and others.
Ways of Reading: Literature and Theory - 15 Credits
Ways of Reading is an introduction to literary critical approaches which call into question apparently common sense interpretative concepts such as 'intention', the 'author' and 'character'. The module will offer a survey of twentieth-century trends in critical thinking about literature, including Marxism, psychoanalysis and feminism, together with later developments such as deconstruction and Postmodernism. The emphasis will be on learning to apply concepts which are characteristic of these approaches within the context of your own critical writing about literature. This module is compulsory for students intending to take an independent project module or dissertation in Literature at Level 6.
Graduate Skills - 0 Credits
You will be offered a variety of employment enhancing workshops and online activities such as interview skills workshops, personality profiling and career planning in order to improve your employment prospects after graduation and make you aware of current areas of strength and weakness in relation to employability.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about self-employment options, graduate schemes and will attend speaker sessions with successful professionals in areas of employment appropriate for Humanities graduates so you can learn about the skills and attributes required for these areas and how to enhance your prospects of entering such areas.
You will be required to undertake a certain number of activities chosen by you from a career “menu” and to reflect on what they have learnt in order to complete the module successfully.
A Nation of Readers: British Identity and Enlightenment Culture - 15 Credits
This module focuses on British literature first published between 1640-1740 and is designed to build on your ongoing close-reading and analytical skills. The module considers many key cultural themes during this turbulent period of history, including power and political authority, national identity, class hierarchies, print culture, gender and sexuality, and religion, and encourages students to consider texts from a historicist approach. Texts include works by Dryden, Marvell, Milton, Gay, Pope and Swift as well as lesser-known female authors such as Mary Chudleigh and Mary Wortley Montagu. Prose works include Behn’s ‘Oroonoko’ and Defoe’s ‘Moll Flanders’. You will therefore be looking at both the work of writers whose works are often identified within the 'canon' of 'great' English literature as well as others who have, until more recently, often been excluded from literary histories.
Revisiting the Renaissance - 15 Credits
This module takes a historicist approach to British literature first published between 1550 and 1642 and is designed to build on your ongoing development of close-reading and analytical skills in relation to many key cultural themes during this turbulent period of history, including power and political authority, national identity, class hierarchies, print culture, gender and sexuality, and religion. Texts include plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson, and poetry by Wyatt, Sidney, Spenser and Donne as well as lesser-known female Renaissance authors such as Whitney, Wroth and Lanyer. Prose works such as Sir Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ and the Tilbury speech of Queen Elizabeth I will also be considered. We will therefore be looking at both the work of writers whose works are often identified within the 'canon' of 'great' English literature as well as others who have, until more recently, often been excluded from literary histories.
Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, 1900-1945 - 15 Credits
Building on the study of narrative begun at Level One this course will examine some key texts published in the period 1900 - 1945 and offer an historical and theoretical framework in which the set texts can be read. A central part of the course will be the attempt to explain the literary developments of the period by reference to a central concept in twentieth century cultural history: Modernism. The course will make clear that the chronological division indicated here does not imply that all texts of this period can be called `Modernist'. As students will be invited to consider, this is simply a convenient label whose meaning is itself a source of controversy and debate. Attention will also be given to such common thematic motifs such as urban ambience, the 'presence of the past', social class and sexual politics. The writers studied on the course will vary from year to year but are likely to include such key figures as Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, May Sinclair, Jean Rhys, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot.
American Literature to 1900 - 15 Credits
This module will trace the development of American literature from the colonial period through to 1900, examining texts from multiple genres (autobiography, captivity narrative, political propaganda, novel, poetry, short story). It will examine how writers responded to the American environment and sociopolitical events to create a distinctively American literary tradition. Attention will be paid to issues such as New England Puritanism; the treatment of Native Americans; slavery; the War of Independence; Americas relationship with England; Manifest Destiny, expansionism and the frontier; transcendentalism; the Civil War; industrialization and the growth of the city; gender and sexuality. Authors who may be studied include: Mary Rowlandson, Phylis Wheatley, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allen Poe, Harriet Jacobs, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Henry James, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, Sarah Orne Jewett.
Twentieth Century North American Writing - 15 Credits
This module considers the diversity of twentieth-century North-American writing and the plurality of American culture and identity. It will consider some twentieth-century American writings about America as well as looking at theories of race, ethnicity and citizenship as explored in the selected texts. It will address the ways in which ideas about community and American citizenship and nationhood are historicized. The module will explore some of the repercussions and ramifications on recent American literature of such major American events and ideas such as:
* the notion of 'The American Dream',
* immigration over the twentieth century,
* the 'annexing' of native American lands,
* America's involvement in WWII,
* the legacy of slavery,
* capitalism and consumerism.
The module will consider the ways in which these and other issues are explored by a close examination of the literary devices, conventions and techniques deployed to investigate and imagine American identities. The focus of the module may change from year to year, depending on the writers chosen for study.
Images of Contemporary Society: British Literature and the Politics of Identity - 15 Credits
Drawing on a wide variety of writing produced since the Second World War, this module focuses on the changing situations of both writers and readers of British fiction.
At the centre of the module will be an examination of realism in post-war writing through the texts of a wide range of authors. Students will be asked to consider the cultural representations of the period as they are evinced in both fiction, drama, and poetry including those of the late 1950s and early 1960s, a time of unprecedented change in British Society.
The module provides examples of this writing by investigating such authors as for example-, Sam Selvon, Pat Barker, Alan Sillitoe, Tony Harrison and Jeanette Winterson, Zadie Smith, Irvine Welsh and Kazuo Ishiguro. As well as considering the ways in which the set texts deal with such issues as class antagonisms, race and ethnicity, masculinity and femininity and differing sexualities, students will be invited to consider the extent to which the set texts can be seen to be representative of contemporary society.
Age of Transition: the Victorians and Modernity - 15 Credits
The Victorians recognized their own period (1837-1901) as a time of extremely rapid social change - an “age of transition”. In this module, we will study representative Victorian genres (novels, poems, plays, journalism), which respond to this sense of upheaval and the emergence of the modern world. Against this, we will read novels by writers working today who choose to set their work in the Victorian period. These so-called “neo-Victorian” novels re-write the Victorians from the perspective of our 21st century. They also ask us to reflect on our own preconceptions about the Victorian period and our sense of living in a more “enlightened” society. Texts for study will thus typically include examples of Victorian writing (Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Mary Braddon) but also recent bestsellers by writers such as Sarah Waters, John Fowles and A.S. Byatt and films such as Wilde (1997) which present the Victorians in a different light.
Literature at Work - 15 Credits
This module enables you to incorporate practical experience into your study of English Literature and/or Creative Writing. It focuses on how literature (the writing process, the marketing and retailing of texts, their critical analysis, or literary history) is encountered by an audience outside academia. To take this module, you must find a suitable work placement by the end of the previous semester, with guidance from the module leader. Suitable sites for work experience might include: a school, or further education college; a heritage site associated with a writer; a literary festival; a publishing company; a bookshop; a funding body or arts organisation; a theatre. Your time spent on placement should total up to at least 24 accumulated hours, though in practice you may spend longer. In seminars, you will reflect on your experiences, explore related conceptual issues and develop a broader appreciation of how literature is engaged with outside higher education. The module will be assessed by a presentation and portfolio of materials including the development of a new curriculum vitae.
Renaissance Tragedy - 15 Credits
This course considers a range of tragic drama produced during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It aims to introduce students to the diversity of the tragic drama written during this period and to its classical heritage and contemporary critical context. It will consider why tragedy dominated the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre and consider the ways in which the genre developed over time. It will examine the popularity of revenge tragedy during this period and seek to locate the contemporary fascination with revenge in political developments and debates of the period. Plays to be studied may include Kyd's 'The Spanish Tragedy', Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', Webster's 'The White Devil', and Middleton's 'The Revenger's Tragedy'.
Eighteenth Century Bodies - 15 Credits
Gender and sexuality have histories; this module will explore some of the ways in which they were constructed in the shifting social contexts of the long eighteenth century and their intertwining with concepts of power, class, nation and ethnicity. By examining a generically broad range of textual materials - plays, poems, novels, medical and religious discourses, advice books - this module will analyse a variety of models of sexual behaviour and male and female identities, paying close attention to the historical moment in which the text was written. Possible topics for study include: Restoration libertinism as represented in the works of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, Aphra Behn and William Wycherley; bourgeois sexuality as in Samuel Richardson's 'Pamela' and Henry Fielding's 'Shamela'; prostitution and the commodification of sexuality as in Defoe's 'Roxana', John Gay's 'The Beggar's Opera' and John Cleveland's infamous pornographic novel, 'Fanny Hill; or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure'; the psycho-sexual anxieties of Gothic novels, for example William Beckford's 'Vathek' and Jane Austen's 'Northanger Abbey'.
Literature Project - 30 Credits
The Literature Project is intended to give you the opportunity to carry out a substantial up-to-date research project based on a topic or author of particular interest. As well as enabling you to follow up particular enthusiasms, the module aims to further develop skills in planning, research, time-management and presentation. The module is taught via a programme of one-to-one tutorials with a designated supervisor. You may choose a topic from any area of literary studies but the choice of a topic must be agreed with the module leader before the end of Semester B preceding the next academic year in which the work will be undertaken. If you are taking 120 credits or more in English Literature at Level 3 (i.e. you are intending to graduate with a Single Honours degree in English Literature) your programme of study should include this module or 3HUM0231, the Independent Study and Research Project, but not both.
Between the Acts: Late Victorian and Edwardian Literature 1890-1920 - 15 Credits
This module studies texts written between 1890 and 1920 in order to consider the period of transition between the end of the Victorian age and the end of the First World War. Students will be invited to consider ways in which the set texts challenge 'Victorian' ideas of stability and respectability as well as their engagement with such concepts as heroism, the `monstrous', suburbia, marriage and sexuality, trauma, class and nationhood. The texts studied will include a range of different genres and styles, from the so-called `problem play' of the 1890s and 1900s, to the horror story; from the best-selling exotic romance to the literature of World War One. Authors studied may include Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Robbins, E.M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, Rebecca West, Henry James, Elinor Glyn and Rudyard Kipling.
Postmodern Genders - 15 Credits
This module focuses on representations of gender in twentieth and twenty-first century literature. Of particular interest will be a selection of texts which mount innovative challenges to conventional understandings of gender difference as fixed and natural, treating gender instead as a variable and unstable cultural production. So, for example, primary texts may include: Virginia Woolf s Orlando and Angela Carter s The Passion of New Eve (both texts where the protagonist changes sex); Jeanette Winterson's Written on the Body (whose narrator-protagonist never reveals whether s/he is a woman or a man); Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory (which interrogates hypermasculinity), Jackie Kay s Trumpet (about a woman who successfully passes as a man), Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex (whose protagonist is a hermaphrodite), and Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife (which offers playful new perspectives on gender relations). The module will also offer sessions which explore recent theoretical approaches to sex, gender and sexuality.
Children's Literature:Growing up in Books - 15 Credits
This module critically analyses works of children’s literature published since 1950. Primary texts will range from picture books designed for very young children to works of cross-over fiction which aim to bridge the gap between the child and the adult reader. This will enable us to consider the ways in which children’s literature works on the page and in culture to mediate and interpret the process of ‘growing up’ in modern society.
We will engage in close critical analysis of the primary material (considering, for example, questions of genre, narrative conventions and the relationship between words and illustrations) - and this will be linked at every stage to a consideration of the ways in which literature for children interacts with wider cultural and historical contexts. You will be expected to engage with key theoretical and critical debates around children’s literature.
Authors studied may include Sendak, Seuss, Dahl, Lewis, Morpurgo, Rowling and Pullman
Native American Literature - 15 Credits
This module will focus on literary works produced by the indigenous peoples of North America. The highly diverse linguistic, ethnic and tribal groups who inhabited the North American continent at the time of the earliest European settlement had one thing in common: the oral transmission of tradition, history and culture. Without a written language, and in the face of continual displacement, extermination, and disenfranchisement, Indians writers have faced unique challenges to articulate their culture and identity in the language of their oppressors, and to respond to modernity without betraying their heritage. You will consider their responses to these difficulties, employing varied theoretical approaches to texts from the eighteenth century to the present day. Writers who may be studied include: Samson Occom, William Apess, Black Hawk, Zitkala-`a, D'Arcy McNickle, N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gerald Vizenor, Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich, James Welch, Sherman Alexie, and Thomas King.
East End Fictions: Interdisciplinary Studies of London's East End - 15 Credits
The East End of London has a rich cultural heritage. This module will examine literary, filmic and dramatic texts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that were written in or inspired by this area. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, it draws on diverse literary texts, historical sources, pictorial representations and film. It questions the validity of the beliefs that underlie depictions of the area and its people. It will explore the concept of psychogeography, which seeks to analyse the effects of the physical environment on the psychology of those that live there. By focusing on the themes of class, community, crime and the immigrant experience, the course will trace how these reflect the social, cultural, historical and geographical context. The chosen texts may include fiction by Charles Dickens, Israel Zangwill, Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair and Monica Ali and drama by George Dibdin Pitt, Arnold Wesker, Steven Berkoff and Tunde Ikoli.
In this module you will study some of the fantastic, futuristic worlds created by writers to reflect upon their own societies and analyse the implications of these utopian or dystopian visions. The module will consider the set texts' engagement with major political and cultural movements of the late nineteenth century and twentieth century such as industrial capitalism, imperialism, fascism, totalitarianism, mass production and feminism. You will study a selection of late nineteenth-century and twentieth-century utopian and dystopian writings. These may include writers such as Edward Bellamy, William Morris, H.G.Wells, George Orwell, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Anthony Burgess, Margaret Atwood and Marge Piercy.
Texts and Screens: Studies in Literary Adaptation - 15 Credits
Literature and film have had a close and complex relationship since the beginning of the twentieth century when silent cinema adopted the novel as a fruitful source for its own stories. The cinema is still one of the most frequent ways by which we first encounter literary texts. By using a number of case studies this module aims to introduce you to some of the key issues involved in adapting literary texts for the cinema, including questions of narrative technique, concepts of genre, questions of representation and notions of 'fidelity' and 'authorship'.
As well as close readings of the set texts (both written and cinematic) the module will also engage with recent theoretical approaches to film and literary studies. The texts chosen for study will vary from year to year but might include such notable examples as Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare; Zeffirelli; Lurhmann); Goldfinger (Flemming/Hamilton) and Trainspotting (Welsh/Boyle).
The Golden Age: Victorian Children's Literature - 15 Credits
This module will examine the development of children's literature as a clearly defined genre during the so-called “golden age of children’s literature”, a period extending from the mid nineteenth century until the early twentieth century. Students will be invited to consider nineteenth-century children's literature in a historically contextualized way, as responding to debates about the nature of reading as a mass medium and its effect on young readers, a group regarded as particularly susceptible to its influence. Students will be encouraged to consider the disciplinary function of writing for children in relation to gender roles and class positioning.
African-American Literature - 15 Credits
This module will introduce you to some key works of African-American literature, from the late nineteenth century to the present day. You will study a range of genres, such as fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography, and nonfiction. We will trace how a unique African-American literary voice relates to a number of important modes of expression: oral culture, ‘signifying’, folklore, the visual arts, and music (such as spirituals, blues, jazz, work songs, gospel, and hip hop). We will identify several key themes and preoccupations in the work of African-American writers: freedom, identity, mobility (both geographical and social), and self-expression, amongst others. These will be mapped against historical events and developments, including slavery and abolition, segregation and the Jim Crow laws, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and the election of Barack Obama as President. We will also explore how issues of gender, sexuality, and class specifically inform these works.
Generation Dead: Young Adult Fiction and the Gothic - 15 Credits
All over the country in the world of young adult fiction teenagers who die aren’t staying dead. This module will interrogate the new high school gothic, exploring the representation of the undead or living dead (werewolves, vampires and zombies) in dark or paranormal romance. Texts range from Twilight, Vampire Diaries and Daniel Waters’s zombie trilogy to Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies and Eden Maguire’s The Beautiful Dead. We’ll also look at examples of werewolf fiction (Shiver) and at the folklore inspired novels of Marcus Sedgwick.
Y.A.F. has attracted some of the most gifted writers who address these themes as a means of confronting death or discrimination or to engage with Christianity or Mormonism and embrace the enduring power of love. We will be theorising folklore, investigating the ethics of writing for young adults, and grappling with undead issues such as the notion of free will, damnation and redemption, the sexualisation of early teens, the effects of prejudice and the politics of difference.
Twenty-first Century American Writing - 15 Credits
This module will survey contemporary American literature from the twenty-first century. We will investigate key literary texts and cultural movements from the period alongside historical contexts and new theoretical frameworks. Examining works of narrative, drama and poetry, we will look at a variety of textual strategies that contemporary authors use to investigate the contemporary world. Structured through six key themes—including 9/11, the transcultural, sexuality and race—the module will provide students with the change to explore new and diverse literary material that attempts to explore America in today's “globalized” world. Texts studied will vary but typically will include novels (Philip Roth’s The Human Stain), poetry (Claudia Rankine’s Citizen) and drama (Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project).
Euro-Crime on Page and Screen - 15 Credits
The twenty-first century has seen a resurgence of interest in crime fiction, films and television dramas ranging from renewed interest in the “who-dunnits” of Agatha Christie to the more explicit violence of contemporary “Nordic Noir”. This module examines examples of European crime writing beginning with the popularity of detective fiction in the early 1900s before looking at how successive European writers and film/programme makers have modified the form to suit their times, often using the crime at the centre of their narratives as a jumping off point for exploring questions of national and cultural identities. The written and filmed texts studied will take us to different European countries. Typical examples include, but are not limited to, stories from Britain’s “Golden Age” (1920s and 1930s), novels and film adaptations of work by Georges Simenon (Inspector Maigret, France), Arnaldur Indriðason (Detective Erlendur, Iceland), Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden), and Andrea Camilleri and Giancarlo de Cataldo (Inspector Montalbano and Romanze Criminale, Italy). Works will be read in translation.
Fees & funding
£9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s
Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
GCSE Maths grade 4 (D) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.
All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.