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SEL1030 : Close Reading

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Stacy Gillis
  • Demonstrator: Ms Emily Anderson
  • Lecturer: Dr James Harriman-Smith, Dr Mark Byers, Dr Anne Carruthers, Dr Kirsten MacLeod
  • Other Staff: Miss Chiara Pellegrini Giampietro, Miss Caroline Rae, Dr James Cummings, Dr Matt Coneys
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims:

1. To develop students' ability to close-read the formal and stylistic features of a range of literary modes.

2. To introduce students to the critical vocabulary used to identify and describe those features.

3. To teach students how to apply that critical vocabulary thoughtfully and with precision in their own analyses.

Outline Of Syllabus

Close reading is one of the tools which are fundamental to any degree involving the study of literature. This core Stage 1 module is therefore designed to equip students with the analytical skills and vocabulary needed to read and write meaningfully and accurately about a wide range of 'texts'. The syllabus will involve the analysis of works in a range of different literary modes. Lectures and seminars will concentrate on developing students' understanding of how to approach works in each mode, identifying and interpreting key formal and stylistic features. Students will develop their own close-reading practice both orally and in writing.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture261:0026:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion184:0084:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study178:0078:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce students to a range of literary modes, examining some of the major stylistic and formal features which are particular to a mode or in some cases common to all of them, and explaining essential critical terms and how to use them. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop and practise their analytical skills orally and through preparatory small-group written work, using both set texts and unseen sample extracts from each mode. Students will also receive detailed guidance on their assessments in some of the lectures and regular feedback on their assignments and study group work.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50A closed-book exam will require the students to focus solely on the extracts provided.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502 x 1000 word close reading of selected extracts.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The portfolio of 2 x 1000 words close readings focuses on two of the forms studied in the first half of the module. The final exam ensures that students focus solely on the extracts and gives experience of exam conditions.

Reading Lists