Skip to main content


SEL1030 : Close Reading

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr James Harriman-Smith
  • Demonstrator: Mr Steve Kendall, Miss Chiara Pellegrini Giampietro, Dr Bysshe Coffey, Dr Jon Quayle, Dr Marco Medugno, Mr Toby Martinez De Las Rivas
  • Lecturer: Dr Hannah Durkin, Dr Kirsten MacLeod, Dr Chloe Ashbridge, Dr Ella Dzelzainis, Dr Alex Niven
  • 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 will equip students with the analytical skills and vocabulary needed to read and write meaningfully and accurately about a wide range of 'texts'. These skills will underpin the study in the rest of the degree. 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 ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Lecture material
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Seminar work
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Study groups
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1157:00157:00N/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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A802,400 words (3 essay-style questions, c.800 words each)
Prof skill assessmnt1A20A collection of participation and engagement activities completed throughout the semester
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M1,600 words (2 x essay-style questions, c.800 words each)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The module introduces students to advanced close reading practices across five genres/modes (Prose, Drama, Poetry, Visual Culture and Film), using prose and drama extracts, short poems, film clips and single images. The formative assessment at mid-module offers students practice in performing close readings on two of the genres/modes, preparatory to the end-of-module summative assessment that requires them to write on the remaining three. The assessment of participation mark will be based on a select range of small group teaching activities (e.g. contributions to seminar discussions, study group reports, solo or group presentations, contributions to Canvas discussion boards, as appropriate). This component will be assessed using the SELLL supplementary criteria for Assessing Participation and Engagement and is designed to encourage students to engage consistently with all aspects of the module.

Reading Lists