Module Catalogue 2018/19

SEL2202 : Writing New Worlds, 1660 - 1800

  • Offered for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Harriman-Smith
  • Lecturer: Dr Laura Kirkley, Professor Matthew Grenby, Professor Kate Chedgzoy
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To study writing produced in Britain and the Atlantic world 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; and to communicate their critical responses to these texts in speech and writing.

Many genres and forms will 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 primary mode of teaching on the module will two lectures and one seminar per week. The first, introductory, lectures will be delivered by the module teaching team in concert, as will review lectures at the midpoint and end of the module. Other lectures will usually be delivered by an individual member of the team. After the first weeks, lectures will focus on specific set texts, often with two lectures on each set text.

The texts set for the module may change from year to year, but they will usually include fiction, poetry, children’s literature, drama, travel writing and life writing, spanning the period from the 1680s to 1800.

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 in class and in written form.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Present
    • Data Synthesis : Present
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Present
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Initiative : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading173:0073:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an overview of contextual and critical debates. Study groups and seminars offer the opportunity to link these to detailed engagement with the texts. Independent study is essential to equip students to engage with other learning methods. Workshops enhance students' understanding of specific texts, and the field trip offers the opportunity to link students' learning to real-world locations.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M401500 words
Essay1A602500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

There will be two points of assessment:
1. A 1500-word essay, to be submitted mid-module. Worth 40%
2. A 2500-word essay (max. 2500 words). Worth 60% of the overall module mark.

The first essay will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the set-texts, contexts and module themes. The second essay, based on set extracts, will both encourage students’ close reading skills and test their knowledge and understanding of the module as a whole.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 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 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.