Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2008/09 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3339 Lost in Fiction: the Metafictional Novel from "Don Quixote" to "House of Leaves"

20 creditsClass Size: 20


Module manager: Dr Jane Rickard

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2008/09

This module is not approved as an Elective


Students will explore intertextual relations between works from different historical periods and different countries.

Students will deepen their understanding of the processes of reading, the development of the novel as a genre, and the relationship between literature and literary theory and criticism.

Students will develop their skills in recognising and analysing various kinds of literary self-consciousness.

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 examines a series of novels that reflect self-consciously on the processes of writing and reading, and on the relationship between the fictional and the real. Some of these novels offer witty parodies of specific literary genres, and some even parody literary criticism itself, but all are centrally concerned with the interaction between authors, texts and readers. The selection of novels covers a broad chronological and geographical range: we begin with a translation of the seventeenth-century Spanish work, "Don Quixote", widely considered the first ever novel. We go on to examine a novel from each subsequent century, by English and Irish writers (and one film adaptation). We enter the twenty-first century with "House of Leaves", an American novel set in contemporary Los Angeles. This broad range emphasises that self-conscious reflection on the very nature of fiction has been central to the development of the novel as a genre, and has never ceased to fascinate us. Among the questions to be considered are: How does the self-consciousness of these novels inform or complicate our own reading experience? To what extent do such metafictional works blur the distinction between art and reality? In what ways do works of fiction shape perception of the real world? How can literary theory and criticism deal with texts that already critique themselves?

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 hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Teaching will be through weekly seminars (10 x 1 hour) plus up to 5 additional hours (content to be determined by the module tutor). The 5 additional hours may include lectures, plenary sessions, film showings, or the return of unassessed/assessed essays.

Private Study: Reading, seminar preparation, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminar contribution.

1 x 1700 word unassessed essay (requirement).

Methods of assessment

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

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

One unassessed essay of 1700 words is required. This does not form part of the assessment for this module, but is a 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: 24/04/2008


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019