Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32154 Prose Fiction Stylistics and the Mind

20 creditsClass Size: 30

School of English

Module manager: Dr Christiana Gregoriou

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Students wishing to take this module must have an A in English language A-level.

Students who wish to do this module, but do not meet this requirement, should consult the module tutor, as should any student who is uncertain whether they meet this requirement.

Module replaces

ENGL3255 - Stylistics and Literary Pragmatics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What happens when we read prose fiction? Why do we love some novels and not others? How does such fiction enable pleasurable access to what fictional people are thinking, and can such access invite readers to adopt different ways of seeing the world? In answering such questions, the module transforms prose fictional texts into accounts of their experience, into events that happen, and which the readers actively participate in. We employ stylistics and cognitive poetics as methods through which to access, observe and respond to these experiences.


Students taking this module will
- engage with stylistic and cognitive poetics
- develop relevant skills with which to analyse, and explain the impact and effect of, both short and long prose fictional narratives
- better understand how readers experience reading prose fiction

Learning outcomes
The module explores the nature of the prose fiction genre through the disciplines of stylistics and cognitive poetics. Students will
- engage in examination and understanding of prose fiction as a genre
- understand and apply stylistic and cognitive poetic theory and terminology
- analyse and explain how such texts work.

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 will explore the relationship between language, prose fiction and cognition in order to examine how the reader’s cognitive processes generate particular readings of texts. Students will be introduced to a range of concepts from the fields of stylistics and cognitive poetics, and will explore how this developing body of knowledge can be used to enhance our understanding of how prose narratives work and how the reader is positioned in relation to them.

We will investigate how popular narratives, such as Gillian Flynn’s (2006) Sharp Objects, are structured, and how point of view and narrative style can be manipulated to control where reader sympathy lies. We will study topics such as the role played by metaphor, and also personal and cultural knowledge, in novels such as Sebold’s (2002) The Lovely Bones, to manipulate how readers judge narrative events and characters. We will also visit techniques which enable readers to create, and keep track of, contexts and characters when reading such narratives. In novels such as Boyne’s (2006) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, for instance, narrator unreliability can direct attention and focus. It can also mystify, confuse, and misdirect readers, subsequently leading to narrative surprises.

We will mostly explore contemporary prose fiction, though you will also be encouraged to explore your own selection of texts in seminars, workshops, and in assessments.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours185.00
Total Contact hours15.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Seminar preparation, reading, essay writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Contribution to seminars.
- Feedback on 1st assessed assignment.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,700 words33.30
Essay2,750 words66.70
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: 29/04/2022 15:24:12


Browse Other Catalogues

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

© Copyright Leeds 2019