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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS2220 Classical Receptions in the Brotherton Archives and Special Collections

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Dr Owen Hodkinson

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

CLAS3220Classical Receptions in the Brotherton Archives and Special

Module replaces


This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Students will undertake detailed study of modern adaptations and translations of classical literary works by Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage, and others as examples in Classical Reception Studies. As well as using traditional, published primary and secondary literature, the module focuses on experiencing how unpublished archival material can be used for literary research, and builds employability skills into the coursework tasks in the form of both descriptive and reflective writing about selected archive items, culminating in curating a piece for an online ‘Virtual Exhibition’.


Students will study in depth examples of sophisticated Classical Receptions – modern English literary translations, versions, and adaptations of classical literature – by Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage, and others, employing the unique resources of the Brotherton Archives and Special Collections’ holdings relating to these works in the Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage, and West Yorkshire Playhouse archives. The use of Special Collections and Archives will allow students to gain valuable transferable and employability skills especially in the archives and librarianship, curatorial, and broader heritage sectors as well as for further research: such skills will be integral to the assessment tasks, including curating an item or a small number of related items for an online ‘virtual exhibition’ of Treasures from the Archives.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students will have acquired:
- An understanding of how to use archives and special collections (including the different cataloguing conventions and requirements for research users), in particular those relating to Tony Harrison’s and Simon Armitage’s classical adaptations and translations, including the West Yorkshire Playhouse archive.
- Ability to appreciate and employ the main methods of enquiry in the subject, in the sub-discipline of Classical Reception Studies, using unpublished primary materials from the Archives.
- Demonstrable understanding of the curatorial and public-facing sides of Archives and Special Collections work and enhancing employability in the heritage sector through the experience.
- Demonstrable ability to communicate information effectively about and analysis of Archive items in relation to the literary texts in a variety of forms.

Skills outcomes
- Analysing modern literary receptions (versions, adaptations, translations) of classical texts in the framework of Classical Reception Studies, focusing on the modern authors' and others' (e.g. directors for dramatic works) artistic processes involved in creating these receptions and their engagement with the 'received' classical texts.
- Handling, accurately describing, curating, and researching using unpublished material from literary archives relating to the modern 'reception' texts and the classical 'source' texts.


Lectures and seminars will introduce the modern authors (Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage, and others) and the modern primary texts, studying them as examples of Classical Reception in relation to the ancient texts they are adapting or translating. They will also discuss the kinds of materials available in the Brotherton Archives and Special Collections related to these texts (the Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage, and West Yorkshire Playhouse archives), and illustrate the kinds of research question which these archives can be used to answer.
Guided Archive Sessions in the Brotherton Room will introduce i) the principles of using the Archives & Special Collections in the Brotherton and more generally; ii) the specific collections related to these authors, with hands-on experience and practical tasks; iii) the curatorial and archive skills needed for the Cataloguing and Virtual Exhibition coursework tasks.
Archive ‘office hours’ in the Special Collections group work area will enable students to discuss their potential choices and chosen items from the archive for the coursework with the lecturer.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Office Hour Discussions11.001.00
Private study hours182.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading and note-taking on primary (reception and source) texts: 30 hours.
Reading secondary literature on the primary texts, on Classical Reception Studies theory/approaches, and on curatorial skills: 45 hours.
Researching for Coursework 1 (including selecting item): Cataloguing task: 10 hours
Writing Coursework 1: 5 hours
Researching for Coursework 2 (including selecting item/s): Virtual Exhibition task: 52 hours
Writing (including formatting, designing) Coursework 2: 40 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The 24 dedicated Archive ‘office hours’ in the Brotherton Special Collections group work area will be the primary opportunity for formative feedback on student selection of archive items for each piece of coursework and their developing ideas on how to approach this. In addition, the small groups for the 3 Practicals will provide opportunity to monitor student progress in understanding the nature of the coursework tasks and the Archive materials used; the 2 regular Seminars will provide further opportunity, in relation to student understanding and interpretation of the primary texts.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentGrammar Exercise 150.00
In-course AssessmentGrammar Exercise 250.00
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: 28/04/2023 14:37:49


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