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English Literature BA (Hons) Year three modules

The English Literature BA (Hons) modules listed below are just to give you a flavour of what is available in your third year and are subject to change.

Year three (Level 6)

The third year allows you to pursue your own areas of interest. You will produce a dissertation on a subject of your choice and then choose a selection of modules from a list of options, as indicated below, reflecting the research specialisms of the English team.

Core module:


You will research and write a dissertation of 8000-10000 words on a topic of your choice with the support of a supervisor. Examples of recent topics include fairy-tales in adaptation, Shakespeare’s comedies, the 19th century detective novel and Jewish-American writing.

Optional modules:

English in the Workplace 

In this module you will put the skills developed during your English degree into practice in a placement of your own choosing. Previous placements have included, publishing, journalism and teaching (primary, secondary and college). 

Modernism and Modernity 

This module explores the development of Anglo-American modernism during 1910-1945. You will study experimental fiction and poetry and a selection of magazines from this period that first printed, supported and debated modernist literature. 

This module examines the impact of history, memory and publication media on narrative. Students will examine the production and use of selected narratives in different media: manuscript, print and current digital cultures. It will use well-known English texts of medieval origin that have blended with wider society to become part of our history and modern popular culture: Chaucer, Malory and the Arthurian Legend, Robin Hood and the Ballads tradition, and the Bible and Saints’ Legends. A distinctive feature of this module is its use of digital technologies as a vehicle to explore manuscript and print literary production from historical perspectives. 

Textual Studies Using Computers 

On this module you will use computers to tackle questions like: Who had the larger vocabulary, Shakespeare or Austen? Or, is it true that c and k are the funniest letters? With hands-on experience of how computers store and process literary texts, you will devise your own project to ask and answer original questions that shed new light on literature. 

Radical and Contemporary Adaptations 

This module explores what happens to a range of counterculture and radical literary works, such as Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Christos Tsiolkas’s Loaded, when they are adapted. It considers texts transferred to screen and other media, such as graphic novels, from America, Australia and England. 

Revolutionary Men, Unruly Women: Politics and Gender at the Fin de Siècle,1880-1900 

This module will provide students with an introduction to some of the popular and controversial literature published in the final two decades of the nineteenth century. It will be divided into two sections: the first covering the literature discussing the drive for female emancipation and the second will introduce the students to the literature of decadence and degeneration. 

Writing Adaptations: Theory and Practice 

This module introduces students to key theories of adaptation studies and assesses them on their own creative adaptation practice in the form of screenplays and treatments, plus critical and reflective essays. Workshops will deliver various discourses on the history and development of literary and non-literary adaptations and interrogate the various relationships of differing media. Themes covered include adapting fairy tales and myth, experimental literature, postmodern adapting, and the art and craft of screenwriting for film and television. 

Watching Early Modern Drama: Spectatorship and Fandom 

On this module we will explore the role of the audience in the production of early modern dramatic meaning, both then and now. Beginning in the early modern period, we will explore the ways that early modern dramatists imagined and engaged their audiences and vice versa. We will utilise this knowledge and compare early modern spectatorship against the types of audience engagement that can be found in the contemporary moment. The module will introduce the critical concept of fan theory and we will then work through a series of representative fan texts. 

The 21st century Global Franchise: Adapting the Wizarding World 

This module will explore the concept of the 21st Century Global Franchise, using J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World as a case study. With adaptation theory as a critical framework, we will explore how Rowling’s appropriation of established genres, such as school stories, children’s fantasy, and the bildungsroman, was adapted in turn for the cinema. We will then address the current rebirth of the Harry Potter franchise, and its rebranding as ‘Wizarding World’. A trip to the Warner Bros studio tour and/or to the West End production of the stage play will clinch our study of the evolution of Potter, from publisher’s gamble in 1997, to tourist attraction today. 

19th-Century American Literature 

This module will introduce students to a representative range of nineteenth-century American literary texts, studying them in their cultural and historical contexts. It will examine the attempt to develop a distinctively American literature, the impact of slavery and the Civil War on literature, and transatlantic literary and cultural relations during the period. Authors to be studied include Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Longfellow, Emerson, Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry James and Theodore Dreiser. 

Professional Writing Skills 

Students will work on creating a publication to professional standard in print or online format, develop skills in oral presentation, and explore aspects of professional practice. NB: Students must have taken ‘Exploring Creative Writing’ and ‘Writing Place’ at levels 4 and 5 to take this module. 

Perception, Persuasion, Power: Communication and Control 

This module examines the techniques of persuasive communication as they are employed in the real world in a variety of domains, including propaganda, political discourse, advertising and interrogation. 

Powerful Language: An Introduction To Rhetoric 

The tools of effective, persuasive communication have been studied for over two millennia; what is now presented as advertising, PR, ‘news management’ or ‘spin’ has in previous centuries been known as ‘rhetoric’. This module considers rhetoric both in theory and in practice.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.