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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL2080 Contemporary Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 95

School of English

Module manager: Dr David Wylot

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is mutually exclusive with

ENGL2055American Words, American Worlds

Module replaces

ENGL3026 - Contemporary Literature

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

To what extent has recent writing in English engaged with the contemporary? Is there an aesthetics, as well as a politics, of contemporaneity, mirrored in a wide range of recent literary texts and forms? The module will ask these and other questions in the context of contemporary literature, enquiring into changing attitudes toward society and identity, new approaches to gender and sexuality, and the aesthetic/political dimensions of postmodernism, especially its twin impulses toward radical philosophical scepticism and the experimentation with fragmented literary form.


Contemporary Literature aims to foster an understanding of a range of contemporary literary texts across multiple genres. It aims to introduce students to a range of recent literary texts and equip them to consider contemporaneous critical/theoretical debates relating to: 
- regionality and national identities; 
- modes of experimental writing in postmodern and contemporary narratives; 
- the relationship between writing and forms of authority.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of a range of contemporary texts.
2. Interpret those texts in relation to some key historical and cultural contexts.
3. Understand and engage with wider scholarship and debates relating to contemporary literature.
4. Communicate informed readings of the literature and demonstrate the capacity for developing research, critical thinking, and argument.

Skills outcomes
1. Skills for effective communication, oral and written. 
2. Capacity to analyse and critically examine diverse forms of discourse. 
3. Ability to acquire quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way. 
4. Capacity for independent thought and judgement. 
5. Research skills, including information retrieval skills, the organisation of material, and the evaluation of its importance. 
6. Critical reasoning. 


This module explores the range and diversity of contemporary literary production. The texts are broadly representative of a diverse body of literature produced in English. Examples of fiction, poetry and drama articulate several key matters in contemporary society and culture. These may include the terminal crisis of literary meaning, literary innovation and the reaction against experimentalism, the postmodern and its discontents, nations and multiculturalisms, gender trouble and sexual revolution, popular cultures and post-culture, and the impact and aesthetics of shock. Throughout the module we consider the diverse literary positions and critical debates which characterize the contemporary period, and explore the ways in which contemporary literature often offers a vital critique of wider social and political standpoints.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution to seminars. Feedback on assessed work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Critique1,000 word close reading25.00
Essay2,500 word essay75.00
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: 11/06/2024 11:40:26


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