2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue
ENGL5540M Thinking With the Contemporary Novel
30 creditsClass Size: 30
Module manager: Dr David Wylot
Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable
Year running 2023/24
This module is not approved as an Elective
Module summaryHow does the novel respond to the contemporary moment? This module will allow students to develop a complex understanding of the contemporary British and Irish novel in the context of key theoretical and critical debates shaping contemporary literary studies. Students will have the opportunity explore the contemporary novel’s significance and relevance, its formal transformations in response to shifting media landscapes, and the ever-evolving questions raised by the individual and collective experience of contemporaneity.
ObjectivesThis module will allow students to develop a complex understanding of the contemporary British and Irish novel through engagement with theoretical and critical debates that are currently shaping contemporary literary studies. Key to the module will be consideration of how the novel shapes and stages these debates. Rather than seeking to explain literary representation through reference to theoretical discourse, our guiding question will instead be, what theoretical work can the contemporary novel do?
The module aims to provide students with knowledge of the diversity of contemporary novel forms and a sophisticated understanding of the means through which a range of prominent contemporary writers have explored and tested the limits of the novel. Students will gain a historical perspective on the novel, they will explore and situate contemporary literary texts within key critical perspectives in contemporary literature and culture, and they will develop an understanding of the continually transforming field of contemporary literary studies.
1. An advanced understanding of the connections between the novel, the contemporary period, and prominent debates in the field of contemporary literary studies.
2. An advanced understanding of the contemporary novel’s various formal innovations and an awareness of the effects these innovations produce and why they matter.
3. Advanced critical reading skills, particularly in relation to novel form, and advanced critical thinking skills. An ability to apply these skills to texts and contexts under discussion.
4. The ability to express ideas in written communication.
5. Independent thought and judgement appropriate to postgraduate level.
6. Analyse and critically examine diverse forms of writing to an advanced standard.
1. Skills for effective communication, oral and written.
2. Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse.
3. Capacity for independent thought and judgement.
4. Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance.
5. Critical reasoning.
The death of the novel, and indeed, the book, has been much vaunted in the face of a changing media landscape. Yet despite these premature epitaphs, this module considers the ways in which the novel continues to provide an important response to the contemporary moment. The module allows students to develop a complex understanding of the contemporary British and Irish novel through engagement with key theoretical and critical debates that are currently shaping contemporary literary studies. Key to the module is consideration of how the novel shapes and stages these debates. These critical debates may include, but are not limited to: how and why we read today; the ramifications of digital culture and new media for literary form; posthuman readers and writers; the novel’s economic and political contexts; new methodologies of critical reading; the correspondence between novels, formalisms, and new materialisms.
|Private study hours
|Total Contact hours
|Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)
Opportunities for Formative FeedbackFeedback on unassessed assessment; seminar participation; use of staff office hours.
Methods of assessment
|% of formal assessment
|One essay of 4000 words
|Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)
One unassessed annotated bibliography of approximately 1000 words.
Reading listThe reading list is available from the Library website
Last updated: 15/08/2023 12:47:52
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