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CLA2099 : Special Study on an Aspect of Classical Influence in English Literature

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sally Waite
  • Lecturer: Dr Susanna Phillippo
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


For this module, you are required to explore the specific influence of classical literature or myth on a maximum of two texts within the field of English literature, drama and/ or film.
In semester one you will undertake a written assignment analysing the employment of classical sources in an Anglophone literary text. In semester two you will write a discursive essay on an element which is shared between classical source and modern work. This might be, for example, an image, a character, a trope, or a locale, which both works have in common. This section requires you to formulate an independent research question, which the essay will address.

Over the course of the module students will meet in small groups with other students working from the same period. Examples of recent topics include Shakespeare’s plays based on Plutarch, Jonson’s plays using material from Roman historical writers such as Tacitus, Ted Hughes’ versions of classical poetry and drama, Derek Walcott’s reworkings of Homeric epic. You may use the same texts for your discursive essay, or different texts from the same period.

This module aims to:

* Promote students’ insight into and ability to analyse the interrelationship between literature written in English and the literature and other cultural products of the classical world;
* Develop skills and interpretative tools involved in assessing the influence of one culture upon another and the ability to apply skills of literary analysis to the making and exploring of connections between classical and English literatures and cultures;
* Develop skills associated with the undertaking of an independent research-style project, especially skills of initiative, organisation and adaptability in applying skills learnt elsewhere in the degree programme to new material.

Outline Of Syllabus

In semesters one and two, there will be sessions to go over particular skills and issues relevant to the module. Teaching involves a combination of group teaching, supervision and lectures, which will be shared between the two Schools. In semester two you will attend the plenary sessions for the English module Independent Research Project (SEL2210), which outline a range of approaches to research and teach argumentation and research skills, in preparation for your discursive essay.

The written assignment in Semester 1 will be supervised and assessed by a member of staff from the Classics section; the discursive essay will be supervised and first-marked by a member of staff from the School of English.

In semester one, there will be group meetings at which formative work for the assignment will be presented and discussed. There will be further meetings in semester two, which will be held with staff from the School of English. During the course, students will receive individual supervisions on their discursive essay (including short, individual supervisions with their supervisor from the School of English).

N.B. As the module title suggests, your essay must be an investigation of influence: any topic you choose must be based on clear, specific and demonstrable instances where a later writer has made demonstrable use of specific aspects of Classical literature and/or culture. Topics which are primarily comparative, involving modern works whose connection to classical material is tenuous, minimal or non-specific, are not suitable.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Jointly taught with Careers Service
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion451:0045:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading401:0040:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities71:007:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice451:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00all-class workshop
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00Research skills training sessions delivered as part of SEL2210
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study451:0045:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL2210Independent Research Project
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The introductory 'small group' sessions are designed to outline the requisite approach for the special study, to introduce/reinforce key skills involved in undertaking independent study projects, and to set out the topic fields and supply guidance to students’ choices in signing up for these. Further Sem. 1 sessions are designed to provide guidance and practice in the skills and approaches required for the source-study commentary exercise. Further skills session in Semester 2 provide guidance on research skills including the decision-making involved in narrowing down the student’s field of interest to a suitable research question. The individual supervision sessions are designed to provide guidance and feedback in preparation for the discursive essay and/or the source-study.

Research skills sessions shared with SEL2210 develop and reinforce important research and argumentation skills, in preparation for the discursive essay.

Private study is the primary mode for this module, through which the student learns to develop skills of independent research-type study, and the ability to apply for themselves general skills of literary analysis to the specific field of the study of cross-cultural influence.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A30One written assignment (1600 words)
Essay2A70One submitted essay of 2,400 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M700 words: close reading exercise on English literary passage
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessments develop key skills in synthesising the student’s knowledge of literary text and cultural context in both classical and English vernacular writing and applying it to an independent project.

The formative assessment exercise is intended to prepare the students for the assessed source-based study and to contribute to the drafting process for that assignment. It will normally ask the students to explain the role of the English passage in the overall work from which it comes, and to analyse one or two specific textual details (usually 2–3 lines each) in terms of how they create particular effects that fit in to the passage’s overall dynamics. Students will receive written feedback on this formative work that will provide key guidance for their summative Semester 1 assignment submission.

Private study is the primary mode for this module, through which the student learns to develop skills of independent research-type study, and the ability to apply for themselves general skills of literary analysis to the specific field of the study of cross-cultural influence.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module cannot be made available to exchange students under any circumstances. This applies to Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola students equally.

Reading Lists