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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5850M Culture and Anarchy: 1945-1968

30 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Tracy Hargreaves

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective


The module introduces students to a range of major British texts - fictional, theatrical, critical studies and film - between 1945-68.

Students will engage with the cultural and intellectual debates of the period in essays and in the literature of the period, and look at shifts in cultural, political and sexual attitudes as they're reflected in a range of textual forms and through a number of evaluative, social, political and economic categorisations and descriptions: high, popular, political, multicultural, monocultural, societal, familial, intellectual, postmodern, sexual, regional, metropolitan.

Learning outcomes
Students will have developed a critical understanding of literary texts in relation to the history and intellectual ideas of the mid-century period.

They will have developed a critical understanding of cultural studies, gender, class, postmodernism, feminism, sexual politics and genre. They will have developed a critical understanding of film adaptation.

Skills outcomes
Masters (Taught), Postgraduate Diploma & Postgraduate Certificate students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities as defined in the modules specified for the programme:
- the skills necessary to undertake a higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity;
- evaluating their own achievement and that of others;
- self direction and effective decision making;
- independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development;
- to engage critically in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms.


This module explores post-war English literature and film in the long mid-century – 1945-1965. It begins with a moment of incongruity: Rebecca West’s report on the Nuremberg Trials and Noel Coward and David Lean’s Brief Encounter. In ‘Greenhouse with Cyclamens (I)’, West recalled watching a screening of Brief Encounter at the conclusion of the Nuremberg Trials in 1945 – ‘the great tragedy imposed on the small’ as she put it. Taking the jarring note between the incommensurable and the ordinary as a starting point, we’ll explore how writers and film-makers tried to find appropriate forms and an appropriate language to imagine and re-shape literature, film and culture in post-war, mid-twentieth century Britain. The module is divided into three broad areas: (1) writing in the aftermath of modernism in the work of Waugh, Bowen and Greene; (2) the emergence of cultural studies, the so-called ‘Angry Young Men’ and the adaptation of their writing into British ‘New Wave Cinema’ across the 1950s and early 1960s; and (3) the turn from the ‘provincial’ neo-realism of English fiction and film to the political, formal and ethical agendas of writing in the 1960s. We’ll look at – amongst other things - the preservation and fractures of culture at its ‘high’ and ‘ordinary’ incarnations, the uses of popular genres and morality (detective fiction, thriller, film noir) issues of film adaptation and the relationship of the literary text to its screen reincarnation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

- Preparatory reading for seminars.
- Independent research for assessed essay.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly seminars and submission of one unassessed essay of 2000 words.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 words100.00
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: 10/05/2022 12:59:18


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