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2011/12 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL3206 America, Inundated: Floods and other Scourges in US Fiction, 1935-1998

20 creditsClass Size: 30


Module manager: Dr Andrew Warnes

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2011/12

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective


- To gain a critical understanding of twentieth-century American narrative, including its religious and political bases, its visions of identity and difference, and its representations of character and voice.
- To develop an understanding of how twentieth-century American novelists have viewed their home nation or region and considered its relationship to the economy, Western intellectual tradition, and the wider world.

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.


Not only floods but other natural disasters have long been presented, in a succession of landmark American novels, as seminal moments that can expose the sin or indigence of the corrupt while placing the good on the long path to salvation. In "America, Inundated" we will explore some of the most beautiful and austere American proseworks of the last century, enquiring into the persistence of flood imagery as we do so.

We consider the work of those who, like Marilynne Robinson and Zora Neale Hurston, seem to have gone so far as to welcome such deluges, revelling in their intensification of ordinary life, their ability to scrub American clean. We also consider those who remain more ambivalent: for whom the flood confirms a loss of some kind, a failure in national democracy.

Supporting lectures will offer guides to relevant secondary material, drawing on Biblical narrative, Civil Rights rhetoric, Blues lyrics and much else.

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 and essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Seminar contribution
- 1st assessed essay (submitted in Week 7 of the semester).

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
Essay2,250 words50.00
Essay2,250 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: 07/03/2012


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