EL4001 - Introduction to Literary Studies

What will I learn on this module?

You will be given the opportunity to familiarise yourself with conceptual issues such as canonicity, the unconscious, the tragic, the nature of the author, gender and postmodernity. Lectures will introduce you to these concepts and modes of applying these to literary texts as well as introducing you to new material in the texts themselves. Seminars will follow the lectures, where you will discuss and explore with your tutor and with your fellow students both the texts and their historical and theoretical contexts.

How will I learn on this module?

Learning and teaching will be through a weakly 1.5-hour lecture and a weakly 1.5-hour seminar. The critical discussions and explorations that the students will be exposed to and participate in will be consolidated by a combination of formative and summative modes of assessment facilitating and enabling students’ awareness of the relevant issues in literary study, while also encouraging self-assessment and reflexive learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Lectures are supported by power point presentation and handouts; seminars are supported by handouts; both lectures and seminars are supported by a dedicated Bb site; by a detailed module guide that clearly sets out in detail the structure of formal teaching; by detailed bibliographies that draw upon the latest scholarship in the field of English Literature by text assigned and by period covered: early modern studies to the present. Discussions with the module tutor and with the other students in the supporting seminar are invaluable for the development of speaking, listening, and critical skills gained through participation in classroom activities.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• An introductory knowledge and understanding of issues raised by a range of literary texts and contexts from the early modern period to the present

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Introductory intellectual skills in employing theoretical and critical material in relation to literature.
• Introductory abilities in close and interdisciplinary textual analysis

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Introduction to debates around class, race, gender, religion, nationality and sexuality and literature’s intervention in those debates.
• Introductory skills conforming to relevant standards of good academic conduct in the expression of an informed argument in written forms through completing the various activities prescribed.

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment
• A 1500-word essay. (100%)
This essay allows students to engage with two of the course texts, offering the opportunity to apply the theoretical and conceptual approaches discussed in lectures and seminars.

In addition to formative oral feedback throughout the semester delivered in seminar discussions, students will receive written feedback on their summative work.

This assessment task addresses MLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

Additional two formative assessments – detail of process and rationale
• A 1000-word annotated bibliography.
Students are required to find three secondary sources (printed and electronic) which support their understanding of one of the course texts. For each source, students supply a 300-word account and evaluation of the critical argument offered.
Formal written feedback will be supported and reinforced by oral tutor feedback and student group discussions during the seminars. The rationale for this is to enable students to road-test ideas before committing themselves to an argument.
This assessment addresses MLOs 2 and 5.

• A 500-word essay plan that will include essay question, choice of primary texts, theoretical approach, main arguments, and indicative bibliography. The students will discuss their plan in a 10-minute tutorial with their tutor at the end of the semester and before they start writing their summative assignment.

Feedback for both the formative and the summative assessment will be provided using the Departmental feedback sheet and comments on the script. The students will also complete a Self-Evaluation Document for the summative as part of the feedback procedure





Module abstract

This module aims to introduce you to a wide range of approaches to the study of English literature through discussion of literary texts from 1590 to today. You will be interrogating and investigating conceptual issues such as the tragic, war, canonicity, the unconscious, the nature of the author, gender, the uncanny, psychoanalysis and postmodernity in relation to a carefully selected range of literary texts that cover four genres: play, poetry, novel and short story. Lectures will introduce you to the historical and theoretical contexts and to the literary texts themselves, whilst seminars will provide an opportunity for you to discuss and debate the content of the lectures and additional reading in a forum designed for discussion and debate.

Course info

UCAS Code Q320

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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