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CLA3090 : 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: 20
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 20.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aims of this module are:

• To promote students' insight into and ability to analyse the interrelationship between literature written in English (or other appropriate cultural products such as English language films) and the literature and other cultural products of the classical world.
• To develop, to a more advanced level than in CLA2099, 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.
• To develop, to a more advanced level than in CLA2099, 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

For this module, you are required to present a written project of 12,000 words, exploring the specific influence of classical literature, myth etc. on particular works (or a work) within the field of English literature.

Your essay may involve wider literary study of the connections between the English work(s) and specific texts/aspects of the classical world or a comparison between a translation or adaptation and its original. You have free choice of topic, subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor,your topic must be relevant to the study of influence and not just a purely comparative study. Recent topics have included studies of Shakespeare’s use of Plutarch in Antony and Cleopatra; retellings of classical myth in 20th-century children’s literature; an examination of the uses of Homer and other classical sources in the film Troy or the Japanese/French animation series Ulysses 31.

You work on your chosen project topic primarily in private study, with guidance from group sessions and a maximum of 8 individual supervision sessions throughout the year.

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/artist etc. has drawn inspiration and/or material (preferably both) from 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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1931:00193:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture51:005:00Plenary sessions/lectures for the Engish dissertation module SEL3362. Delivery may be partly online
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading701:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Introductory and skills sessions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops61:006:00Introductory Sessions, skills and library sessions, shared with CAC3000/CAH3000/CAC3020.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1151:00115:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision90:406:00Individual Dissertation Supervision
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL3362Dissertation: Long-Form Essay
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The introductory workshops and small group teaching are designed to outline the requisite approach for the special study, to introduce/reinforce key skills involved in undertaking independent study projects, and to provide guidance to students’ choices of topic. The individual supervision sessions are designed to provide guidance as to suitable approaches and reading and as to the decision-making involved in narrowing down the student’s field of interest to a suitable question; to provide feedback on the detailed essay plan and to provide the opportunity for further guidance and feedback on short samples of student work as required.

Skills sessions on both the Classics and English side will provide further skills reinforcement.

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, and/or of analysis of material and pictorial culture, 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
Dissertation2M95One submitted dissertation of 12,000 words (due Sem 2)
Research proposal1M5Students must submit a detailed essay plan worth 5% of the dissertation module. (900 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 exercise2M1 chapter section of c. 1,500 words for comment and guidance by supervisor(s)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay plan allows students to demonstrate their skills of planning and organisation, and their initiative and adaptability in selecting and defining an appropriate question for the project within their chosen topic field, and in outlining the approach to be taken.

The extended submitted project assesses student’s knowledge and understanding of their chosen topic in relation to the general field of classical influence and the issues this involves; their ability to apply skills of literary analysis and interpretative tools, and/or of analysis of material and pictorial culture, to a comparative/‘source-study’ topic; and their skills of initiative, planning, organisation and adaptability in selecting and defining an appropriate question for the essay within their chosen topic field, assembling relevant primary and secondary material, outlining the approach to be taken and organising a schedule for completing the various stages of the project. It also assesses their skills in written communication. One chapter can be submitted as formative work for comment and guidance by the supervisor.

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