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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL3410 Contemporary World Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 24

Module manager: Richard Hibbitt

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This year-long module will enable students to analyse contemporary international works of literature in English translation, with a focus on authors who have gained critical and/or commercial success in recent years. It will explore the theories underlying the concept of 'world literature' and discuss why certain texts enter today’s global field, with references to publishing, reception and literary prizes. These discussions will reflect diverse contemporary interests in themes including culture, families and communities, gender and sexuality, globalisation, philosophy, politics, posthumanism, religion and spirituality, and science and technology. The module will also consider concepts such as exoticism, 'highbrow' vs popular culture, mimesis, Orientalism and postcolonialism. Students will explore these questions through the study of a representative corpus composed normally of 3 texts per semester. The module will be taught entirely through weekly seminars: student presentations (unassessed), introduced and chaired by other students in the group with the tutor as respondent, will be supplemented by material and guidance on reading from the tutors. The texts will be taught by comparative literature specialists embracing different language areas in LCS and beyond. Authors studied will vary from year to year, depending on teaching staff; examples might be Elena Ferrante, Michel Houellebecq, Yu Hua, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Han Kang, Haruki Murakami, Corín Tellado and Viktor Pelevin.


To develop students’ ability to analyse, evaluate and interpret literary texts in English translation from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
To enhance students' knowledge and critical appreciation of how the international literary market and publishing industry works.
To develop students' original critical ability; in most cases students will be working with texts where secondary literature consist of reviews and interviews rather than established bibliographies, which will necessitate greater autonomy.
To give students an insight into how contemporary literature reflects and constructs questions of identity, drawing on a number of cognate disciplines (e.g. gender studies, philosophy, politics, religion and spirituality).

Learning outcomes
Enhanced knowledge of the concepts, methodologies and approaches used in the production, practice and study of literature.
Ability to discuss critically a variety of texts, embracing different cultures.
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
a) understand and employ a range of the key concepts used in the study of literature.
b) adopt different approaches to literature based on an understanding of a number of methodologies.
c) demonstrate an ability to understand the practicalities of the contemporary global literary field.
d) demonstrate intercultural awareness of the backgrounds of different literary texts, writers and readers.
f) research, present and discuss specific questions in seminar discussions.
g) make original contrasts and comparisons between the various texts in written assignments.

Skills outcomes
Intercultural Skills
Research Skills
Analytical Skills
Employability Skills


Semester 1
Introduction: the global literary field and world literature (1 week)
Text 1 (3 weeks)
Text 2 (3 weeks)
Text 3 (3 weeks)
Semester 2
Text 4 (3 weeks)
Text 5 (3 weeks)
Text 6 (3 weeks)
Conclusion: student group presentations on module as a whole, presented in the form of a competition and prize-giving ceremony (1 week).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students are expected to:
1. Carry out the assigned weekly reading of primary texts and secondary materials.
2. Prepare answers in note form to the weekly seminar questions.
3. Take turns in giving and chairing seminar presentations.
4. Conduct research for their essays at the end of each semester.
5. Attend essay tutorials with the module tutor to discuss plans for their two essays, as well as a feedback session after the first essay on the skills to develop for the second essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided on an ongoing basis, both individually and collectively in seminars and essay tutorials.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 words50.00
Essay3000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/11/2018 09:25:47


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