English Literature BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)

Cambridge

September

 

Overview

Learn how different societies have shaped, and been shaped by, English literature on our full-time English Literature degree in Cambridge. Choose to study abroad for one semester. Become a self-reliant researcher as well as developing many critical and communication skills required in the modern workplace.

Full description

Careers

We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need: they help us review what we teach and how we teach it.

As well as teaching, the most popular choice of career for our graduates, our students have gone on to find success in many different roles including journalism, television, radio, the music industry, arts administration, gallery work, fundraising, personnel work, publishing, librarianship, marketing, local authority work, publicity, social work, tourism and IT-related industries.

You might also decide to carry on to a Masters course after you graduate, such as our:

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Humanities, English, Media, Social Sciences and Education
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to the humanities, social sciences, English, media and education. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching, and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to a broad range of disciplines whose skills and theories are widely applicable. Students will study a variety of writing styles in order to recognise, deconstruct and replicate various forms of persuasive, analytical, and informative writing. Students will learn the basics of intercultural studies and how these theories can be applied to real-world problems. Students will consider social perceptions held across western cultures, and the difference between social and self-perception, participating in structured discussion and argument. Students will be introduced to the core principles of psychology and will explore various current applications of psychological theory. Students will also be introduced to ethics and will learn about some of the key theories and thinkers in the development of current ethical considerations in a range of scenarios. This module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Intercultural Studies; Psychology; Composition and Style; Ethics; Social Perceptions.

Year one, core modules

  • A History of English Literature 1: Writing Matters
    In this module you will survey the history of English Literature between William Blake and the present day. Mainly using Volume 2 of ‘The Norton Anthology of English Literature’ you will study period, genre and form through a range of texts including: the novel; the short story; the essay and manifesto; poetry; drama; letters and graphic art. Each week, you will attend a lecture which will introduce you to key issues from the text and period, followed by week a three-hour seminar. The first two hours of the seminar will be spent on close reading and discussion. These activities will allow you to develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to the literatures under discussion. Working with other students in class you will develop your social capital and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will develop your sense of identity as a critical and adaptable thinker, problem-solver, researcher and creative agent as you apply theoretical material to the primary literatures under discussion. You will also realise the broader social and cultural capital of the course as you engage with key ideas and concepts related to, but also transcending, the literatures under discussion.
  • A History of English Literature 2: Reading Theory
    In this module you will survey the history of English Literature between the Anglo-Saxon period and the end of the eighteenth century, using Volume 1 of The Norton Anthology of English Literature. The juxtaposition of pieces by well-known authors such as Chaucer, Marlowe, and Milton with less familiar texts is intended to encourage reflection upon what constitutes the 'canon'. At this same time, you will be introduced to an exciting range of social, cultural and political theories that can be used to further the analysis of literary texts. These might include psychoanalysis, Marxism, structuralism, feminism, postcolonialism, postmodernism or queer theory. In your seminars, you will apply these theories to the texts studied. Each week, you will attend two lectures; one which will introduce you to key issues from the text and period, and one which will introduce a theory. These will be followed by a two-hour seminar. The seminar will be spent on close reading and discussion. These activities will allow you to develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to the literatures under discussion. Working with other students in class you will develop your social capital and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will develop your sense of identity as a critical and adaptable thinker, problem-solver, researcher and creative agent as you apply theoretical material to the primary literatures under discussion. You will also realise the broader social and cultural capital of the course as you engage with key ideas and concepts related to, but also transcending, the literatures under discussion. You will be assessed by: a portfolio of writing including a 2000-word essay which analyses literary text through the lens of one of the theoretical approaches studied; a group presentation at a student conference that makes the case for a text to be included on one of the History of English Literature modules next year.
  • Myth, Miracle and Magic
    This module will introduce you to some of the key Greek, Roman and Biblical texts which underpin English literature and which have been translated and adapted by each new generation of writers. Over the course of the module you will engage with the ways in which these pivotal stories have continued to have a shaping influence on English literature, and with the different ways in which they have been interpreted by later readers and writers. This module will complement your study in the History of English Literature help you appreciate the importance of understanding the larger literary culture within which works such as Paradise Lost and The Waste Land were produced. You will study creation narratives from different cultures, comparing and contrasting classical stories, such as the myth of Prometheus, with the Genesis narrative, and then exploring how the creation of new life has been depicted in later works, including science fictional responses such as Frankenstein. You will then consider the different ways in which writers have depicted the struggles between humanity and the gods, heroic adventures, human suffering and inner conflicts. You will explore these themes within a variety of genres and contexts – classical epic, Biblical narratives, Shakespearean tragedy and modern popular culture. You will have the opportunity to read several different narratives of magic and transformation, including some of the memorable myths the Roman poet Ovid included in his Metamorphoses. You will learn about the classical origins of familiar fairy tales, before exploring how these fairy tales, in their turn, have been reinvented for a modern age. You will have three assessments: a 2000 word essay on creation narratives; a 2000 word essay on gods and mortals; and a 90 minute class test on magic and fairy tale narratives.
  • Language and Society
    This module will introduce you to practical and theoretical aspects of the study of language and society, including forms of address; sex and age differentiation in language; accent and dialect; education and employment; language disadvantage; language choice according to function in multi-lingual communities. In weekly lectures you'll discover the key theoretical, analytical and descriptive terms, then explore these issues through a mixture of practical and discussion tasks in workshops. You'll analyse data closely and consider the reasons for collecting, analysing and interpreting it, as well as the practicalities involved. You will then design your own original, hypothetical sociolinguistic project. You'll also write a discussion-based essay, giving you an opportunity to identify, reflect on and synthesise some of the key concepts involved in one or two of the topics covered.
  • Literature of the Fens
    The Fens is an area of low-lying land that stretches across Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk; it is also a mysterious and compelling place rich in folklore, dark legends, ghost stories, myths, strange tales, and uncanny happenings. By exploring a variety of texts – novels, poems, short stories – with a Fen connection while being physically present in the Fens yourselves, this module will give you the opportunity to explore the relationship between writing, place and identity. It will also open up new understanding of the social, cultural and literary heritages of the place where you now live and/or study, and encourage you to make critical connections between its physical and psychological landscapes. Each week you will read a selected literary text in relation to key module themes such as community; writing and place; psychogeography; political resistance; localism and globalisation; migration; the uncanny; self; identity; and language. You will also be introduced to relevant theories of ecocriticism, nature writing, literary geographies, and hauntology as they relate to the texts you are studying. These close reading and discussion activities will allow you to develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to the literatures under discussion. Working with other students in class you will develop your social capital and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will develop your sense of identity as a critical and adaptable thinker, problem-solver, researcher and creative agent as you apply theoretical material to the primary literatures under discussion. You will also realise the broader social and cultural capital of the course as you engage with the key ideas and concepts on the module, and reflect critically on your own position – physical and psychological - within the Fenland community. Each seminar will offer you opportunities for formative feedback on your work and ideas, so allowing you to adapt to the challenges of the module and develop strategies for planning and completing your assessment. There are two assessments on this module: 1) an in-class close-reading exercise at the midpoint in the module to enable you to develop and test your analytical and interpretative skills; 2) a 2,000-word essay at the end of the module, which students will have the option of co-devising with their module tutors and module leader. This will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of set texts and grasp of key theories and ideas, which have informed the course, whilst advancing your own critical interests in the subject area.

Year two, core modules

  • Romantic Conflicts
    This module will develop your knowledge of the Romantic Period, which usually covers literature produced between 1770 and 1832. In this course you will develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to literature of the period. Working with other students in class you will develop your social and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will realise the broader cultural capital of the course as you engage with themes that transcend the literature of the period. Conflict can be found in all literature. However, in the Romantic period it seems to have been the essence of the spirit of the age. Percy Shelley called the French Revolution of 1789 ‘the master theme of the epoch in which we live’, and indeed many critics and historians date the beginning of the Romantic period from then. In fact Britain was at war with France for most of this period (from 1793 to 1815) trying to undo the revolution, restore a king, and with him, the old aristocratic ruling class. Class conflict was in the air well before 1789 as William Hazlitt notes: ‘the French revolution might be described as a remote but inevitable result of the invention of the art of printing.’ What he means is that an overwhelming public consensus had to be achieved before a revolution could occur, and the only way to achieve this is through the mass dissemination of ideas – through literature. Therefore, this module will help you consider your own individual identity, as well as your attitude and adaptability to ideas on a diverse range of subjects. Notions of class, race, debates over work, the individual in society, women’s rights, slavery, protest and land ownership all feature in this module and require engagement with you as a person who has to examine many still current ideas from the Romantic period. Therefore, the scope of this module is a large one.
  • The European Novel: Desire and Transgression
    This module will introduce you to a representative selection of some of the most memorable and significant European novels, ranging from ancient Greek prose narratives and Renaissance romances to contemporary fiction. You will compare the ways in which different writers have handled elements of the novel such as characterisation, dialogue and narrative voice, as well as consider different sub-genres of the novel, for example magic realism and the epistolary novel. Texts will be selected to complement the novels you have studied on other modules, giving you a fuller understanding of the origins of the genre, and of its wider European context. Desire was a key focus of the very first European proto-novels, and continues to be a preoccupation today. You will engage with some of the changes and continuities in fictional depictions of romantic and sexual relationships, examining the ways in which topics such as same-sex desire, elopement and adultery have been depicted. The first assessment element, a 1000 word critical analysis, will test both your close reading skills and your understanding of the contexts and conventions of the early novel. The second assessment element, a 2,000-word essay, will require you to demonstrate an understanding both of your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of key ideas that have informed the course.
  • Reading Beyond Britain
    This module engages actively with widespread calls to decolonise the curriculum of English literature by considering some of the best writing from beyond Britain. You will consider applied theories that enable you to think deeply about issues of colonialism, postcolonialism, race, gender, empire, and canon. It is a sweeping module, covering not just 150 years but also oceans and continents, equipping you with the critical tools needed to participate knowingly in today’s trans-global economies of thought, culture, and labour. This module deliberately turns on its head new political and social movements towards nationalism and localism to think through diverse voices and non-UK perspectives. It seeks to tear down literary and cultural walls to develop empathetic critical reading practices and encourage reading beyond ‘identification’ and towards activism. The final assignment is a free-form 3000-word submission, creative, critical, and/or pragmatic, on the theme of ‘global literature and equality’. Accepted submission forms include blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter streams, essays, radio dramas/features, political protest plans/reports, short stories, artefact(s) with critical commentary, or (recorded) time-based art.
  • Victorian Literature and Culture
    This module is structured around three main themes: ‘The Impersonating I’, ‘Victorians and Globalization’ and ‘Sensation, Scandal and Serialization’. These themes are central to the current re-formulation of Victorian studies and, as we work through them, you will be asked to engage with new critical developments in the field. In considering ‘The Impersonating I’, you will be asked to examine uses of first-person narratives in ‘autobiographical’ bildungsroman, the incorporation of multiple first-person perspectives in fiction and the impersonation of an individual in the dramatic monologue. The second strand of the module, ‘Victorians and globalization’, will involve how different forms imagine ‘the globe’, how the practice of imperialism both shaped, and was shaped by, the works that described it. The final theme of the course will involve a careful engagement with print culture and the development of sensation fiction. Through the course of the semester, you will experience something of the practices and rhythms of serial reading as we discuss the weekly instalments of a selected novel. From the outset of the module, textual study will be embedded in an examination of key historical developments and the issues - political, social, cultural and intellectual - to which these developments gave rise and currency. Formative and summative assessments will give you the opportunity to investigate particular historical and contextual phenomenon and will stretch your abilities of close analysis.
  • Modernism and the City
    In this module you will examine literary Modernism as an artistic response to the social conditions and technological advances of modernity. You will explore the ways in which the distinctive features of Modernist writing - subjectivity, the psychological, innovations in form, style and genre – are produced by urban experience. You will study a range of canonical and noncanonical texts that 'write' the city in order to explore the centrality of urban culture to modernity and to consider the connections between cultural geography, historical context and narrative form. You will study poems, novels and manifestos dating from 1900-1940 in the contexts of some of the following: the influence of the First World War; suffrage; changes in visual art (primitivism, postimpressionism); cinema and photography; the movements of Imagism, Futurism and Surrealism. Ideas of exile and expatriation will underlie discussion of the cultural exchanges occurring in London, Paris and New York. Working with other students in class you will develop your social capital and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will develop your sense of identity as a critical and adaptable thinker, problem solver, researcher and creative agent as you apply theoretical material to the primary literatures under discussion. You will also realise the broader social and cultural capital of the course as you engage with key ideas and concepts related to, but also transcending, the literatures under discussion, which provide: differing reactions to the early twentieth-century city, in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality and class. The 1000-word Critical Review that forms the first part of the assignment, provides valuable experience in summarizing and synthesizing complex ideas, whilst the 2000-word essay allows you to develop these ideas with reference to your chosen literary texts.

Year two, optional modules

  • Writing World War One: Trauma, Memory, Resistance
    This module examines a range of texts to consider current understandings of WWI and its representations. You will begin the module by looking at the poems that have famously memorialised the experience of soldiers on the Western Front before widening your outlook to explore different forms of texts (including novels, autobiography, short stories and graphic novels) that present a more diverse range of wartime experiences on the ‘home front’ and ‘forbidden zone’. This will include experiences by ‘enemy’ authors, racial minority groups, the ‘insane’, women in war zones, and animals. Each two-hour seminar will have a (mini) lecture with a thematic focus. The (mini) lecture will be followed by close reading and discussion of related texts in the seminar group. These activities will allow you to develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to the literatures under discussion. Working with other students in class you will develop your social capital and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will develop your sense of identity as a critical and adaptable thinker, problem-solver, researcher and creative agent as you apply theoretical material to the primary literatures under discussion. You will also realise the broader social and cultural capital of the course as you engage with key ideas and concepts related to, but also transcending, the literatures under discussion, such as: the role of propaganda and the rise of anti-war writing (literatures of resistance); changing definition and realities of war through developing technologies; the politics of remembering and forgetting war and military conflict in general; new understandings of WWI derived from global history, race and gender theories; the relationship of war to literary and visual modernism; the psychological realities of war on combatants and civilians. Each seminar will offer you opportunities for formative feedback on your work and ideas, so allowing you to adapt to the challenges of the module and develop strategies for planning and completing your assessment. You will be assessed by means of a final 3000-word essay, allowing you to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered, including your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of key theories and ideas that have informed the course.
  • History of English
    This module will introduce you to aspects of the spelling, phonology, syntax and morphology of English from its earliest attested form, tracing how they have changed over time and why. You will begin by investigating the origins of language and the Indo-European language family of which English is a member. You will then learn about the history of the language, including the arrival of the Germanic tribes, the Viking and Norman invasions and the arrival of the printing press, as well as how these events map onto the various stages of the history of English. The remainder of the module will focus on analysing aspects of English grammar which have undergone significant changes through the language’s history, including: word order, pronouns, auxiliary, modal and lexical verbs and negation. The assessment for the module is an open-book exam in which you will be asked to answer questions on the history of English and write an essay in relation to (previously seen) texts from different historical periods. Discussions in seminars will focus on how to analyse historical data, applying skills and knowledge that you have acquired in other course modules and using a diverse range of resources.
  • Modern Science Fiction
    In this module you will study the development of modern science fiction, concentrating on major texts from the postwar period. You are expected to acquire a detailed knowledge of the history of science fiction and a critical understanding of the problems of defining it in relation to other forms of literature. You are also expected to gain an understanding of the distinctive pleasures which science fiction offers its readers. The emphasis is on science fiction as a literature of ideas. In this module you will be concerned primarily with science fiction as a literary form rather than with its manifestations in other media, but the demands of adapting science fiction to other media will be considered. You will read short stories, novels, and critical essays enabling you to develop a detailed knowledge of science fiction from the 1930s to the present day, and gain an understanding of some key science fiction tropes and sub-genres.
  • Dialogue and Debate: More to Milton
    On this module you will study a range of key poetic and prose texts produced by canonical and non-canonical early modern authors. One of the characteristics of the literature of this period is its dialogic nature. The writers on this course lived in an age in which the religion of their immediate forebears was seen as heresy and, in many cases, they went through a school system in which students were trained to speak for and against the same proposition. It is not surprising that they were adept at seeing issues from more than one angle. Many texts offer the reader two or more perspectives on an issue, asking questions which often remain unanswered. In addition to these internal debates, texts (translations, adaptations, parodies, flytings, prequels and sequels) were also often in dialogue with each other. You will explore these issues in lectures and seminars, investigating the relationship between the set texts and their literary, cultural and historical contexts. These contexts include politics, religion, mythography, rhetoric, gender and sexuality. Upon successful completion of the module, you will have a greater understanding of Renaissance poetry and prose, as well as appropriate cultural, historical and theoretical contexts. You will be assessed through one 3000-word essay.
  • Contemporary Issues in Stylistics
    On this module, you will look at different types of written and spoken texts, or genres, and how they are structured linguistically. You will learn to use different analytic tools and approaches to explore how different text types work, and how they interact with their ‘users’ in particular contexts. You will look at how language is used to convey not only overt but also hidden meanings, such as ideologies, and how such hidden meanings can be systematically analysed. For this, you will learn to use a variety of both traditional and modern digital techniques. The module will develop your understanding of key concepts such as concordance, collocation and semantic fields to help us to answer questions such as ‘What do texts of a particular genre have in common?’. You will also reflect on the effectiveness of digital tools and know-how with regard to the analysis of textual data.
  • Writing Short Fiction
    On this module, you'll learn the techniques of effective short fiction writing, beginning with the literary short story and moving on to explore short fiction for younger readers and some areas of genre fiction. You'll be introduced to the scope and the conventions of short fiction in English through an analysis of a diverse range of classic and contemporary examples, examining the creative process from the collection of ideas at notebook stage to the production and editing of a finished narrative. Authors studied on the module may include Anton Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield and Edgar Allen Poe. Your writing exercises will focus on practical writing techniques for effective work, with key elements such as characterisation, setting, structure, movement in time and space, observation, point of view, opening and closing, voice, dialogue, cliché, description and dialogue. For assessment, you'll submit the best work you produce during the module, along with a critical commentary that'll include a contribution to your Personal Development Planning file.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Spectacle and Representation in Renaissance Drama
    You will consider a range of plays from the period 1580 to 1642 in the light of issues of stage spectacle and representation in a variety of forms, including identity, sexuality, violence, and death. You will experience one of the greatest periods of dramatic writing that English literature has known, which has subsequently continued on the English stage under the UK’s great acting companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. Primary texts will be taken from Shakespeare and his chief contemporaries, including a changing range of authors chosen from Thomas Kyd, George Chapman, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Marston, Thomas Middleton, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, John Webster, John Ford, Richard Brome, and James Shirley. You should check the reading list each year to determine specific plays. You will become familiar with relevant theory and criticism of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. In seminars you will be attentive to issues of performance, which can include active learning through play-reading and walking through a scene, or in independent learning through attending relevant performances or viewing film adaptations.
  • Contemporary Fiction
    In this module you will look at a range of fiction written in the last 10 years, examining formal and thematic issues and the relationships between them. You will consider narrative experimentation and the recycling of old stories and forms; the representation of and return to history; posthumanism and the limits of the human; globalization and technology. The module will invite you to consider the power and role of literature in contemporary society and the impact of literary prize culture on publishing and publicity. Taking place in the final trimester, it will also encourage you to reflect upon literary developments that have led to 21st-century writing and thus the texts’ relationship to those studied on other modules on the degree, such as Modernism and the City. Since there is inevitably an absence of established critical texts on the contemporary works studied, you will consider alternative sources of critical opinion (academic journals, the internet, broadsheet and broadcast journalism); and the ways in which new novels demand and shape new criticism. The reading list will be updated annually to ensure that all texts are those written during the last decade. Each two-hour seminar will have a (mini) lecture with a thematic focus. The (mini) lecture will be followed by close reading and discussion of related texts in the seminar group. These activities will allow you to develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to the literatures under discussion. Working with other students in class you will develop your social capital and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will develop your sense of identity as a critical and adaptable thinker, problem-solver, researcher and creative agent as you apply theoretical material to the primary literatures under discussion. You will also realise the broader social and cultural capital of the course as you engage with key ideas and concepts related to, but also transcending, the literatures under discussion, which provide: differing reactions to the early twentieth-century city, in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality and class. The 1000-word Critical Review that forms the first part of the assignment, provides valuable experience in summarizing and synthesizing complex ideas, whilst the 2000-word essay allows you to develop these ideas with reference to your chosen literary texts.

Year three, optional modules

  • Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontës
    This module will introduce you to the work of Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontë sisters and to literary and cinematic adaptations of their fiction. You will begin by reading Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë alongside Lucasta Miller’s The Brontë Myth and by assessing the way in which the ‘Brontë myth’ has been sustained by different generations of readers. The second part of the module will include a detailed survey of the diverse literary outputs of Gaskell and the Brontës. Through this, there will be a focus on the ways in which the four writers engage with their cultural contexts. In addition to thinking about the issues involved in debates about religion, education, social change, gender and familial and romantic relationships, you will be asked to consider the novels through the lens of disability theory and to assess their treatment of Imperialism and Empire. The final part of the module will involve an introduction to theories of adaptation and to rewritings and cinematic adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.
  • Romantic Idealism
    The Romantic period heralded not only the beginnings of the Modern world, but it also looked towards futures and ideals that humans have not yet obtained: slavery still exists, and yet it was banned in this period; Britain passed the first animal rights legislation in Law, but species are still disappearing and the human relationship with other animals remains uneasy. This was a period in which old ways were sometimes driven out and everything seemed up for grabs. Even time was altered. In revolutionary France the old 24-hour clock disappeared, making way for a new decimal clock with 100 minutes in the hour, 10 hours in the day, 10 days in the week and three weeks in the month. This module will help you to engage in fresh critical thinking about ideas that you might never have imagined as well as your position within society. The module will deepens your social and cultural capital with ideals examined including: Human perfectibility; Veganism; Animal Rights; Women’s rights; Children’s rights; Slavery; Human stratification; Disenfranchisement; the Natural Environment; the purpose of life; jealousy; the Imagination.
  • Renaissance Magic
    This module will give you the opportunity to specialise in an exciting period of literary history – the English Renaissance – and to pursue a thematic interest: the early modern literary fascination with magic. ‘Renaissance Magic’ explores the intersections between imaginative literature, science, religion and the occult, through the close study of various literary forms (from journal entries and essays, to epic poetry and drama) both canonical (including the works of Shakespeare, Jonson and Spenser) and more marginal (including seventeenth-century women’s writing, and anonymous alchemical poetry.) You will be introduced to various aspects of magic/occult culture of the early modern period: attitudes toward angelology and demonology; the learned figure of the ‘Renaissance magus’; alchemy; the fascination with and persecution of witches; and early science fiction. The variety of different texts is designed to challenge perceptions of the ‘canon’, and to broaden views of what constituted ‘literature’ in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. You will find all texts either in the Norton Anthology of English Literature, widely available for inexpensive purchase, or shared as documents on the VLE. You will be assessed through: an in-class (written) close reading exercise, worth 20% of the final mark; involving responding critically and applying some contextual knowledge to a short, unseen text; a 2000-word essay worth 80% of the mark at the end of the semester, showing your ability to read two or three texts from the course within their historical and cultural context. The choice of questions for this assessment will be available to you from the beginning of the module.
  • Language, Flesh, Philosophy
    In this module you will focus on language as a symbolic system and practice where meaning is produced and reproduced under specific cultural conditions and is characterised by fragmentation and conflict as much as by cohesion and consensus. You will relate the study of language to issues concerning, for example, identity, cultural power and domination, representation, and real life, examining the social corpus, the individual body and the radical/transgressive body. You will explore post-structuralist critiques of linguistics, which may include theories of language as a means by which identity is produced through the interconnectedness of language and ideology. In addition, you will encounter the physical body not as ‘natural’ but as a linguistic phenomenon: where the body is a text to be read. Challenging binaries such as mind/body and biological/textual, you will query the role of language in creating bodies and the ways in which the flesh has been historically created through discourse. You will also look at the ways the body has transgressed these discourses. In examining the relationships between language, power and bodies, you will explore the links between language, power, knowledge, ‘truth’ and identity, especially in reference to difference (gender, race, sexuality, ability) and extend these links to ecological concerns and the connectedness of the human to the nonhuman and nature. You will learn to question how truth and knowledge are challenged in post-structuralist/deconstructionist projects, and how this challenge can lead to what is known as posthuman ethics and the ecological revolution: currently known in linguistic philosophy as ‘ecosophy’. You will be expected to give short presentations in class, based on your preparatory reading. Your assessment will consist of a 2500 word essay, in which you will make connections between different ideas explored in the module, and a supporting task, on which you will receive feedback to help in the development of your essay.
  • Writing Poetry
    Through critical examination of modern and contemporary poems, you'll learn to explore important developments in technique and appreciate the benefits of close reading to open up possibilities for language use. You’ll develop sophisticated approaches to the relationship between form and content. You'll engage in advanced workshop treatment of your poems, moving beyond explanation of sources and meanings to explore process, form and audience. The seminar topics may include modelling, seeds and sources, working with journals, presentation of poetry on and off the page, working with sound and visual material, and redrafting. Your assessment will be a selection of poems accompanied by reflective writing that explores key issues of process.
  • New Media Discourse
    This module explores the importance and significance of computer mediated communication, digital media and more modern ways of communication in a rapidly changing world. It also explores how new technologies have changed the way we communicate with others. You will be introduced to a wide range of theories and theoretical as well as analytical frameworks. These include not just critical sociolinguistics and critical discourse analysis but also more pragmatic approaches to the study of digital communication. You will also learn how these approaches could be meaningfully used to analyse real and authentic digital texts. The module consists of a weekly lecture followed by a one-hour seminar, in which you will work in pairs and small groups, providing feedback to each other and reflecting on your performance. The topic of the week will be introduced in the lecture and explored in seminar discussions. You will be assessed by a portfolio of coursework comprising two tasks. In the first, you will design and maintain a weblog on Wordpress for 7 weeks on a topic discussed in class, and each week you will post original content, receiving feedback on your blogs. In the second, you will write a critical essay on one of the topics provided.
  • Working with English
    You should take this Employability module if you have had employment, want employment, need a CV, or have ever wondered how to connect what you do at university with what you have done in the workplace. If you have been on an international exchange, you can use that experience for this module too. English literature connects with every aspect of human activity, including the workplace. In addition to being a subject that provides you with a great range of transferable skills, it also engages in deepening a person’s social and cultural capital. Literature is about every part of the human experience and this makes it one of the most valuable degrees to possess - it help shapes your identity, as a broad range of ideas are examined through a thousand years of English Literature. Literature necessary engages with the world of paid work and this module helps you examine those links as well as gain credit for any work that you do. The CV and covering letter you will create can be used, and reused, after your degree, adapting to the needs of the jobs you apply for. This module requires you to complete 35 hours of work in any field, full or part time, by the end of your degree. The 35 hours worked do not have to be consecutive and might be excerpts from periods with various employers. Students with more limited CVs are encouraged to aim for work experience in areas that will aid disenfranchised people or are at prominent companies. Doing well in this module will be achieved through ambition; evidence of analysis in your work journal and having a tight and interesting covering letter and CV. This is potentially the most useful module that you will take as it will help you earn money and to apply for employment after university.
  • Literature and Exile: Displacement, Identity, Self
    This module will introduce you to a range of C20th and C21st literary representations of exile. To be in exile is to be banished from one’s home, to be displaced and/or estranged from one’s country, family, community, and even one’s self. Exile takes many forms: it can be literal or metaphorical; it can be enforced or self-imposed. Through close readings of novels, graphic novels, poetry, autobiography and short stories, many of which were written by authors in exile, you will explore various forms of exile writing and consider various conditions and contexts of exile, including politics, race, sexuality, gender and disability. At the start of the module, you will be introduced to a range of theories of exile; you will explore these theories each week in relation to the selected literary texts and related themes of memory, home, identity, community, nostalgia, self, and language. You will be assessed by means of a final 3,000-word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of the set texts and grasp of the key theories and ideas that have informed the course.
  • Theorising Children's Literature
    You will take as a starting point the need to be critical about literature written for young audiences, including early years and YA fiction. You will read children’s literature primarily as literature, instead of as a contributing factor towards childhood development. This process will demand that you engage with the primary texts through literary theory, including wider theory that is not typically applied to children’s texts, such as the work of Lacan, Bakhtin, Said, Foucault, Derrida, and others. You will consider eco-criticism, animal studies, disability, race, sexuality, and gender. You will also engage with changing historical constructs of childhood and the generic fluidity of children’s and fantasy literature. Reading will be set each for you to discuss in two-hour seminars.

Optional modules available in years two and three

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme module will allow you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You may choose to take two language modules in place of options on your course from the second semester of your first year, or in the second or third year. You can choose from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. In order to experience the learning of a new language, you must select one that you have not learned before.

Assessment

Modules are subject to change and availability.

To show your progress towards becoming a reflective and autonomous learner, you will undertake a variety of assessment methods, including: critical reflection; essays; portfolios; reviews; oral presentations; written examinations and discussion boards.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

At the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, we believe in thinking critically about the past, present and future to challenge perceptions and better understand communities and people.

With expertise from gender issues to literary analysis to exploring how the past has shaped our modern world, all our staff members are active researchers. This is reflected in our teaching, allowing us to support our students with the latest theories and practices, as well as essential employability advice.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost.

Activities and events

You can take part in our many extra-curricular activities, our poetry and writing evenings, research symposia and conferences, as well as many student societies including the Creative Writing Society, the Poetry Society and the Harry Potter Society.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)

£9,250

International students starting 2020/21 (per year)

£13,500

Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Scholarships

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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