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Module

SEL3404 : High-toned, Middlebrow, and Lowdown: Jazz-Age Literature in the Magazines

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kirsten MacLeod
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module introduces students to the study of literary texts within the contexts of their publications in magazines. It also invites students to consider the magazine as a literary genre in its own right that can be read and analysed similarly to a conventional literary text. The module focuses on American literature and magazines of the 1920s, a period in which most writers published in and derived significant income from magazines (including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and T. S. Eliot). In magazines, these writers’ works appeared alongside an array of other material – other literary content by writers known and unknown to us now; advertisements; political manifestoes; illustrations and art work; shopping and fashion tips; non-fiction material on popular fads of the day; etc. Students will be introduced to methodologies, theoretical approaches, and case studies from the disciplines of book history and periodical studies for engaging with literary texts in magazine contexts and with magazines as literary texts. Students will learn how the magazine served as a key medium for literature in this period and how reading literature in magazines is a different form of close reading and allows for different interpretations of literary texts than analysing them in isolation. They will encounter familiar canonical authors in these magazines as well as authors who were extremely popular or important to literary culture in the 1920s but are now lesser known, thereby gaining a broad understanding of the literary field of popular and “high” culture. They will explore the representation of key movements and themes through these authors and the magazines in which they appeared.

Outline Of Syllabus

In the first weeks, students will be introduced through lectures to the relevant theories and methodologies. There will also be “practical” sessions in a computer lab, learning to access and search the magazines through the various databases in which the material is held. The module will begin with a defined set of literary texts and/or themes to be read in magazine context. Later the core texts will consists of critical material which will serve as the basis for a freer and individual student-defined survey of magazine content. Set texts will include at least one canonical and one non-canonical author; set themes may include flappers, jazz, queer modernism, Harlem Renaissance, celebrity culture, consumer culture, the city; magazines studied will include popular mass-market magazines, avant-garde literary magazines, pulp magazines, and fashion and society magazines.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work91:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1135:00135:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide the historical, critical, and theoretical background. Small group teaching (seminars) will enable students to discuss and share ideas and findings. Workshops will introduce students to strategies and skills for working with the online magazine databases and resources. Project supervision will allow students the opportunity for formative feedback on their developing portfolio. Directed research and reading and independent research as guided by module leader are an essential element of learning in this module as in humanities subjects.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M501700 words of assessed writing and evidence of weekly note taking
Research paper2A502300 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MDiscussion board postings and responses
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The portfolio is suitable to the exploratory and developmental nature of the module. The portfolio will consist of student documentation of weekly findings, set tasks that include self-reflexion on their work for the module as well as critical and analytical work. The research paper (with an option of essay or conference paper format) will be derived from student’s findings and interests, and will enable them to develop a detailed and original analysis of a topic in relation to the scholarly field.
Written exercise: The discussion board postings will allow informal exchange of key findings.

Reading Lists

Timetable