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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL32155 Crime Fiction Stylistics: Crossing Languages, Cultures, Media

20 creditsClass Size: 22

School of English

Module manager: Dr Christiana Gregoriou

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

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

ENGL3258 - The Language and Style of Crime Narratives

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What is it that makes crime fiction so pleasurable, even addictive? How can this ever-fascinating, yet formulaic, genre be defined and explained? The module explores and illuminates the workings of the crime fiction genre in prose, as well as televisual, filmic and theatrical form. It interrogates what happens to those essential stylistic features where such narratives find themselves, through popular demand, metaphorically 'migrating', meaning 'travelling elsewhere', crossing the boundaries of the language, medium and culture they were first created in.


In this module, students will
- explore the construction of crime narratives
- explore the generic conventions of popular crime fiction
- examine the specific concept of migration in relation to adaptation

Learning outcomes
The module explores the language, style, effect and popularity of fictional crime narratives.
By the end of the module, students
- will be able to explain crime fictional story meaning and interpretation
- will have the ability to identify stylistic features and what happens to these features in cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and/or cross-media adaptation
- will be able to better understand some of the cognitive processes involved in reading

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.


The crime fiction genre currently finds itself ‘journeying’ in the form of translation, adaptation, and remaking across different media.

How does the ordering of information in novels such as Lionel Shriver's (2003) We need to talk about Kevin relate to the elements of suspense, misdirection and surprise? How does character construction in novels such as Jeff Lindsay’s (2004) Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Mark Haddon’s (2003) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time operate, and what ideological implications does such construction have? In this module, we will explore the mechanisms of the crime fiction genre in order to better understand how genre works and what makes a genre popular through attention to literary stylistics across modes of ‘adaptation’ or ‘migration’.
Working through a series of case studies, we will look at the move from book to stage, film and television, and examine the ways in which texts from the same medium are remade through translation. We will look at the way in which linguistic metaphors migrate into bodily or sartorial ones in Lynne Ramsay’s (2011) filmic adaptation of We Need to Talk about Kevin, and how Simon Stephens’ (2012) theatrical adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time brought to life the main character’s ‘mind style’ on stage. We will explore how close shots relate to matters of linguistic agency in the TV show Dexter (2006-13), a show based on Jeff Lindsay’s 2004 novel. And we will also explore the stylistic devices in the Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (1997) alongside its American remake Funny Games (U.S) (2007) as we explore how the American version elaborates on, but also problematizes, the original’s stylistic metafictionality.

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, assignment writing.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

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

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment1,700 words33.30
Assignment2,750 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: 28/04/2023 14:39:50


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