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SEL1004 : Introduction to Literary Studies II

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kate De Rycker
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module provides an introduction to literary studies from some of the earliest works written in English up to the early 19th Century. It is of course impossible to cover ten centuries worth of literature in only one semester, but the texts we study in this module are a taster of the range of authors (from the famous to the lesser known), genres (from epic poetry through city comedy to travel writing) and media (print, manuscript, performance, and digital) that you can explore further in the second and third year of your degree. We will use these texts to develop our practices in literary criticism: how can we become 'active readers' and engage with texts which may otherwise feel culturally and aesthetically distant? This module aims to enable students to develop their skills of analysis, and to work confidently in the criticism of literary texts and cultures.

Outline Of Syllabus

NB:The specific texts taught on this module are subject to change because we have some variation in the team of lecturers who teach on this course. Students will be told in December (i.e. before teaching starts in Semester 2) which texts we’ll definitely be studying. There are roughly six texts selected to represent a range of historical periods, authors, genres, and media.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion135:0035:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading185:0085:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity110:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The team taught lectures introduce students to a range of literary texts, historical contexts and critical methodologies in preparation for the rest of the course. Seminars provide an opportunity to practice the skills outcomes outlined above, including oral presentation, critical reflection, and the development of their interpersonal communication and analytical skills. This module combines the use of reading journals with study groups to allow for full flexibility and adaptability for student requirements: in the first instance students are encouraged to work as a collective to write their journal entries (thus giving them the opportunity to develop their interpersonal skills), however, in case of group breakdown or lethargy, individuals can also opt to maintain their journal individually (in which case, developing their independent research skills).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M401,500 word critical review AND 1 reading journal entry.
Portfolio2A602000 word essay AND 2 reading journal entries
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module supports students in developing written argument, refining their research skills and producing well-evidenced argumentative essays. The weekly reading journal will be used to model good research practices at stage one, and allow seminar tutors to provide formative feedback on independent work. Three short entries (two chosen by the student and based on their weekly study group discussion, one to be a reflective report at the end of the module) will be submitted as part of their mid and final portfolio assessments.

The first portfolio submission will include a 1,500 word review of a piece of criticism about one of the texts studied in the first half of the module. This will allow students to demonstrate their ability to analyse the merits of a critical argument, and to identify techniques that they might try to use in their own essay for the final assessment.

The second portfolio submission will include a 2,000 word essay on any of the texts taught across the module, and will allow students to demonstrate their ability to create their own argument based on close reading of literary texts supported with secondary criticism and/or historical evidence.

Reading Lists