SEL3308 : Murder, Mystery, Mayhem: British Detective Fiction, 1850-1950
- Offered for Year: 2017/18
- Module Leader(s): Dr Stacy Gillis
- Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
- Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
|Semester 1 Credit Value:||20|
This module introduces students to the historical and critical development of British detective fiction as it began to emerge as a genre in the mid-nineteenth century through the work of authors like Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, through to the genre's dependence on the figure of the private detective (as in Arthur Conan Doyle) before considering its consolidation in the inter-war Golden Age of detective fiction, with the work of such authors as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. The module also investigates the narrative structures of detective fiction and considers the significance of the various avenues from which it emerged: the Gothic novel, the penny dreadfuls/penny bloods and the sensation novel. The module introduces and investigates contemporary critical and theoretical arguments concerning popular fiction and genre studies. By the end of the module, students will have a sophisticated understanding of these texts and will be able to engage with various theoretical approaches.
Outline Of Syllabus
Lectures and seminars will concentrate on specific aspects of the key period in the history of the British detective novel (including the gothic, sensation fiction, the relationship between the reader as detective, the emergence of the middlebrow novel, the politics of genre fiction, World War One) The texts/authors studied on the module will vary from year to year and may include some film. An indicative syllabus may include novels, short stories, journalism and criticism by Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Morrison, John Buchan, E.C. Bentley, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Daphne du Maurier.
|Guided Independent Study||Assessment preparation and completion||40||1:00||40:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Lecture||12||1:00||12:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Directed research and reading||112||1:00||112:00||N/A|
|Scheduled Learning And Teaching Activities||Small group teaching||12||2:00||24:00||N/A|
|Guided Independent Study||Student-led group activity||12||1:00||12:00||N/A|
Teaching Rationale And Relationship
The lectures introduce students to ways of thinking about the study of detective fiction. Seminars are used for critical analysis of the primary and secondary reading, for student presentations and for research and writing workshops. Study groups supplement the seminar work and will be based around questions set by the module convenor.
The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners
|Written exercise||1||M||15||600 words|
Assessment Rationale And Relationship
Report One: The essay outline and draft bibliography allows students to gain feedback before they submit their essays.
Written Exercise: Each study group will collectively write a chapter of a detective novel, requiring them to think about the impact of tone, structure, plot and character.
Essay: The essay requires a critical engagement with secondary reading, critical analysis and research and writing skills.
Formative Assessment 1 (Oral Presentation): Study group participation is a crucial component of the module and students will be asked to reflect critically upon their work in seminars and to do a group presentation.
Formative Assessment 2 (Computer Assessment): The discussion board postings will allow them an informal space in which to explore concepts and texts across the seminar groups.
All the assessment models require the students to demonstrate a facility with the intended learning outcomes.
Study abroad international students will complete all of the assessment but may submit the essay electronically if s/he has returned home.