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SEL2202 : Writing New Worlds, 1688-1789

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Laura Kirkley
  • Lecturer: Dr James Harriman-Smith
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 150 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


To study writing produced in Britain and beyond during the ‘long’ eighteenth century;
To develop students' ability to: consider literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts; analyse textual form and content in detail; communicate their critical responses to these texts in speech and writing.

Many genres and forms will typically be considered – fiction, drama, poetry, children’s literature, travel writing, life writing, and so on – and this material will be placed in its historical, cultural and social contexts. The overarching intellectual aim of the module will be to enable students to understand how encounters with new peoples, places and ideas were reflected in, mediated by, and sometimes actually created in, literature.

Outline Of Syllabus

The core idea of this module is that the literature of this period engages in diverse and complex ways with the discovery, understanding, and representation of ‘new worlds’ – not only geographical new worlds, but also social, cultural, and political ones too. Such engagement took place as many phenomena that we now recognize as modern (scientific experiment, celebrity, global trade, feminism) began. As we study works of prose, poetry, drama, and other kinds from the 1680s to the 1780s, we will examine how new worlds of such force were written into being that they still shape our thinking today.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Mid-module essay preparation
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00End-of-module essay preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities118:0088:00Weekly reading for lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Weekly seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00End-of-module assessment workshop
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity101:0010:00Weekly study group tasks
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide an overview of contextual and critical debates, either for specific texts or for the period more generally. Structured guided learning and small-group teaching offer the opportunity to link these debates to detailed engagement with the texts. Independent study, both alone and in peer study groups, is essential to equip students to engage with other learning methods. Workshops supplement students' understanding of specific texts and provide additional opportunities to hone academic skills necessary for the module assessment.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2A70A 2500-word keyword essay OR a creative pastiche and related commentary totalling 2500 words.
Written exercise2A301000-word analytical commentary.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2M500-word plan.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A mid-module, 500-word formative exercise will provide students the opportunity to plan their 2500-word summative assessment. This will take the form EITHER of a plan for an essay on eighteenth-century material that responds to a keyword prompt OR a plan for a creative pastiche of eighteenth-century material and a related commentary. Students will receive written feedback.

The 1000-word summative assessment will be an analytical commentary.

In the 2500-word summative assessment students will choose between two possible options:
1) a keyword essay, allowing students to consolidate the skills honed in the formative in order to make an argument that embraces the breadth and depth of material on this module;
2) a creative writing exercise that invites students to pastiche material studied on the module and write a commentary that explains the rationale for their approach with reference to their knowledge of eighteenth-century literature.

Reading Lists