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SEL1023 : Transformations

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ella Mershon
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 280 student places

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

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


Many literary texts, across all historical periods of study, have points of reference in classical or pre-medieval literature. This module therefore introduces first-year students to key texts from this period to equip them with knowledge of essential cultural landmarks that will inform their study of literature and film in stages 2 and 3. The module considers the ways in which pre-medieval texts have been adapted by subsequent writers, playwrights and film-makers. Students are asked to read across the pre-medieval text and its later adaptations, and to reflect on the various modes of 'transformation' that the original has undergone. The module also introduces students to how transformations of the conditions of literary production and consumption can change what people do with texts.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will cover one text per week through lecture and small group teaching.

The introductory weeks will consider various modes of textual transformation, eg the advent of print or film, and how new modes of textuality have changed what people do with texts.

The remainder of the module will be grouped around three pre-medieval texts which have been particularly influential in English Literature, such as 'Genesis', Homer's 'Odyssey' or Ovid's 'Metamorphosis'. The first week of each textual cluster will focus on the pre-medieval text and the following weeks will look at subsequent adaptations of that text.

KEYWORDS: transformation and translation; power and authority; gender and sexuality; LGBTQ identity and desire; race and racial identity; climate crisis and ecocriticism; poetry; theatre and performance; the novel; children's literature; film

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1114:00114:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops30:201:00Small group sessions preparing for assignments and engaging with feedback
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Workshops support students undertaking creative assessment option
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity111:0011:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce the students to the knowledge outcomes as listed.

Small group sessions develop this knowledge further and provide a structured learning space where students practise the skills of close textual analysis, critical debate and the evaluation of critical positions.

Between the lectures and the seminar students will participate in a self-directed study group where they will discuss topics relevant to the module and respond to set readings.

On three occasions during the module, these study groups will meet with their seminar tutor for workshops with an intensive focus on writing, assessment and feedback.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14402A7024hr take-home exam. 2,000 words.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M30Written Assignment of 1,250 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination will test students' knowledge of the pre-medieval texts and how they have been adapted or transformed. As other stage one modules are examined by submitted work, a formal examination will provide a diversity of methods of assessment.

The written exercise will ask students to consider transformations of the Ovid texts in relation to either issues of translation, or the medium of transformation (text, performance, or film). They will perform a close reading of their chosen text in relation to these issues, or complete a creative submission.

Reading Lists