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2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3014 Contemporary Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 150


Module manager: Dr Tracy Hargreaves

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

Pre-requisite qualifications

Grade B at 'A' Level in English Language or Literature or equivalent or an achieved mark of 56 or above in a Level 1 module in English.

PLEASE NOTE:- This module is restricted to Level 3 students.

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

To what extent has recent British and Irish writing engaged with the contemporary? Is there an aesthetics, as well as a politics, of contemporaneity, mirrored in a wide range of recent literary texts and forms? The module will ask these and other questions in the context of post-war British and Irish writing, enquiring into changing attitudes toward society and identity, new approaches to gender and sexuality, and the aesthetic/political dimensions of postmodernism, especially its twin impulses toward radical philosophical scepticism and the experimentation with fragmented literary form.


On completion of this module, students should have acquired an understanding of a range of post-war and contemporary literary texts, across genres. Students will examine recent literary texts and consider contemporaneous critical/theoretical debates relating to: regionality and national identities; modes of experimental writing in postmodern narratives; metafiction; the relationship between writing and forms of authority.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed:
- the ability to use written and oral communication effectively;
- the capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse;
- the ability to manage quantities of complex information in a structured and systematic way;
- the capacity for independent thought and judgement;
- critical reasoning;
- research skills, including the retrieval of information, the organisation of material and the evaluation of its importance;
- IT skills;
- efficient time management and organisation skills;
- the ability to learn independently.

Skills outcomes
Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way.
Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
Critical reasoning.
Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
IT skills.
Time management and organisational skills.
Independent learning.


This module aims to provide an understanding of the range of literary production within the second half of the twentieth century. These texts are broadly representative of a diverse body of literature, in several genres, produced largely in British and Irish contexts. Examples of fiction, poetry and drama represent influential critiques of central aspects of post-war communities. The critical focus is on changing attitudes to the self in relation to history, gender and sexuality, and postmodern writing. These aspects of the period, often in tandem with specific kinds of literary experimentation, are underlined in the range of poetry and fiction studied, while different phases of theatrical experimentation are signalled by the work of dramatists writing from very different positions.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours168.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to seminars.

Unassessed assignment.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

One unassessed essay of approximately 1700 words (including quotations and footnotes) is required, for which the deadline is given in the Undergraduate Student Handbook. This does not form part of the examination for this module, but is a module requirement and MUST be submitted. Students who fail to submit the unassessed essay will be awarded a maximum mark of 40 for the module (a bare Pass).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 06/08/2008


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