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SEL1030 : Close Reading

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ella Dzelzainis
  • Demonstrator: Dr Bysshe Coffey, Dr Jonathan Quayle, Dr Marco Medugno, Mr Toby Martinez De Las Rivas, Mr Steve Kendall, Miss Chiara Pellegrini Giampietro
  • Lecturer: Dr Chloe Ashbridge, Dr Kirsten MacLeod, Dr Alex Niven, Dr Hannah Durkin, Dr James Harriman-Smith
  • 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
Portfolio1M60Essay portfolio (2 x 1000 word essays) plus weekly submission of close reading exercise.
Portfolio1A40Essay portfolio (2 x 1000 word essays)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The weekly exercise provides practice in close reading. The mid-module portfolio consists of two essays which assess the first half of the module, and the end-of-semester portfolio assesses the second half of the module.

Reading Lists