BA English Literature and History

Welcome to the course page for the BA English Literature. You can find a few details on our first-year modules below.

Can’t wait to see you in September!

First Year Modules 2017-18

English Literature and History Tutorial 1 

This is a module where teaching and learning takes place in small groups of about five students who meet their tutor on a regular basis. The content of the tutorials will be tailored to your interests and needs, your strengths and weaknesses, with a view to developing your study skills and preparing you for your assessments. Assessment is 100% coursework.

What is Literature?

This module encourages students to think about two related things: what we mean by literature or the literary; and why, for any literary work, a particular form has been chosen in which to address the reader. The module gives you a historical map of developments in the forms of poetry, prose and drama and the texts are chosen from various periods, including the contemporary, in order to explore why and how literature, of these many periods, might still matter today. Assessment: 100% coursework.

Useful preliminary reading:
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Penguin
James Joyce, ‘The Dead’, in Dubliners. Oxford World’s Classics
Emily Berry, ed. Best British Poetry 2015. Salt Publishing
William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing. Arden, New Cambridge, Oxford, or RSC/Macmillan
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest. Methuen
Virginia Woolf, ‘The Mark on the Wall’, in The Mark on the Wall and Other Short Fiction. Oxford World’s Classics

Keywords for Literary Studies

What is meant by ‘realism’ or the ’image’ or the ‘unconscious’? This module introduces a series of ‘keywords’ that have been historically central to the study of literature. By exploring these words and concepts in relation to specific critical approaches to literary works, the module helps you develop your own critical and argumentative skills. Assessment: 100% coursework.

Useful preliminary reading:
Henry James, The Turn of the Screw. Oxford World’s Classics.
Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual’ and ‘The Man With the Twisted Lip’, in The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Penguin
Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography. Oxford World’s Classics.

Shakespeare and Performance (option)

The module samples a mix of Shakespeare’s plays and provides a broad introduction to the various emphases of contemporary Shakespeare study. We explore the specific forms of Shakespearean drama in their original contexts, including the performance practices of the time, but also in terms of modern and current scholarship. Assessment: 100% Coursework.

Useful preliminary reading:
Julius Caesar; Richard II; Macbeth; Twelfth Night; Measure for Measure; Hamlet; The Winter’s Tale

Poetry and Politics (option)

This module introduces students to both the varieties of modern poetry and the ways in which poetry engages with the world. It focuses principally on poetic works drawn from the last 200 years, focusing on topics like gender and the body, political voices, violence and conflict. Assessment: 100% Coursework.

Useful preliminary reading:
Terry Eagleton, How to Read a Poem. Wiley.
Rhian Williams, The Poetry Toolkit. Bloomsbury.

Blood and Iron. The Making of the Modern World Part One: 1750-1914 

Includes a field trip to a European city and museum and gallery visits in London, this module provides introductions to: the American Revolution; French Revolution; Industrial Revolution; Napoleonic Wars; Concert of Europe; Reaction and Reform; Revolutions of 1848; Liberalism; Nationalism; Socialism; Social Democracy; American Civil War; Unification of Italy; Prussianization of Germany; Franco-Prussian War; New Imperialism; Entente Cordiale; Origins of the First World War.

Conflict and Commemoration: War and Memory in Twentieth-century Europe 

This module focuses on Europe and the experience and memory of war in the twentieth century. Case studies are used in a way that allows the student to explore varying forms of war; revolution; civil war: world war; impact of war on nation building; cultural production; analysis of cultural representations of war including propaganda, visual arts, literature, film and media; forms of commemoration, notably centenary commemorations.

Cosmopolis: London since 1960 (option)

Considering the history of Post-war London, this module explores the economic, social, cultural and political changes that have taken place since the 1960s; London as a Metropolis; housing and transport; regeneration; youth culture; policing and protest; class and ethnicity.

Imperial Capital, World City: London 1750-1914. Sources and Methodology 

This module uses the themes of Empire and London as a World City to explore the wide variety of sources available to historians in London. Topics include: Imperialism; New Imperialism; London as capital of the Empire; emergence of London as World City; politics; people; trade; Great Exhibition; science; medicine; art; archives; monuments; architecture; museums.

Metropolis: London and Modernity, 1830-1939 

The module covers the growth of London through the nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the impact of industrial and technological change, economy and trade; transport; industry; work; housing; immigration; poverty; public health; crime; protest and radicalism; leisure; education; governance; impact of war; consumerism; suburban living.

The Blitz: Image, Impact, Legacy 1940-1951 (option) 

Including visits to the City of Westminster Archives, this module covers the period of air raids in Britain; the role of aerial warfare in total war; the impact of the Blitz and other air raids on London; evacuation, morale, mortalities and injuries; destruction and reconstruction of the built environment of London and other cities; international comparisons with Allied air raids in France, carpet bombing of Germany and the dropping of the Atom bomb on Japan.