Module Catalogue 2022/23

SEL2202 : Writing New Worlds, 1688-1789

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Laura Kirkley
  • Lecturer: Dr Joseph Hone, Dr Leanne Stokoe
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To study writing produced in Britain and beyond during the ‘long’ eighteenth century;
To develop students' ability to consider literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts;
To analyse textual form and content in detail;
To communicate their critical responses to these texts in speech and writing.

Many genres and forms will typically be considered – fiction, drama, poetry, children’s literature, travel writing, life writing, and so on – and this material will be placed in its historical, cultural and social contexts. The overarching intellectual aim of the module will be to enable students to understand how encounters with new peoples, places and ideas were reflected in, mediated by, and sometimes actually created in, literature.

Outline Of Syllabus

The core idea of this module is that the literature of this period engages in diverse and complex ways with the discovery, understanding, and representation of ‘new worlds’ – not only geographical new worlds, but also social, cultural, and political ones too. Such engagement took place as many phenomena that we now recognize as modern (scientific experiment, celebrity, global trade, feminism) began. As we study works of prose, poetry, drama, letters, biography, and other kinds from the 1680s to the 1780s, we will examine how new worlds of such force were written into being that they still shape our thinking today.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

It is intended that students should develop:
- an understanding of British cultural history during the long eighteenth century;
- an awareness of the ways in which encounters with new cultures, and social, political and intellectual change, can shape literary production, and vice versa;
- an awareness of the ways in which marginalised and suppressed groups sought to use literature as a means of enfranchisement;
- a knowledge of the contexts, contents and significance of the set texts.

Intended Skill Outcomes

It is intended that students should develop:
- an ability to offer critical readings of specific texts across a range of genres and forms;
- an ability to explore the relationship between text and historical, ideological, cultural and social contexts;
- an awareness of, and ability to use, appropriate critical language for discussing multifarious forms of literary production;
- the capacity to present conclusions coherently and convincingly, both verbally and in written form.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00End-of-module essay preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Mid-module essay preparation
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities118:0088:00Weekly reading for lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Weekly seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00End-of-module assessment workshop
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Weekly study group tasks
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an overview of contextual and critical debates, either for specific texts or for the period more generally. Structured guided learning and small-group teaching offer the opportunity to link these debates to detailed engagement with the texts. Independent study, both alone and in peer study groups, is essential to equip students to engage with other learning methods. Workshops supplement students' understanding of specific texts and provide additional opportunities to hone academic skills necessary for the module assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A65A 2500-word keyword essay OR a creative pastiche and related commentary totalling 2500 words.
Written exercise2A35A 1200-word commentary on portfolio.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MA 800-word essay introduction and plan.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A mid-module, 800-word formative exercise will provide students the opportunity to plan their 2500-word summative assessment. This will take the form EITHER of a plan for an essay on eighteenth-century material that responds to a keyword prompt OR a plan for a creative pastiche of eighteenth-century material and a related commentary. They will also need to write the introduction to the essay OR the commentary. Students will receive extensive feedback and support.

The 1200-word summative assessment will comprise an analytical commentary on a portfolio of eighteenth-century texts compiled by students using the Digital Scholar Lab, on which they will receive training. This assessment will enhance students' digital skills as well as expanding their knowledge of eighteenth-century literature beyond the core module texts.

In the 2500-word summative assessment students will choose between two possible options:
1) a keyword essay, allowing students to consolidate the skills honed in the formative in order to make an argument that embraces the breadth and depth of material on this module;
2) a creative writing exercise that invites students to pastiche material studied on the module and write a commentary that explains the rationale for their approach with reference to their knowledge of eighteenth-century literature.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.