English

Module information for incoming Erasmus and Exchange students interested in modules at the Department of English.

  • You can take a maximum of two modules (40 credits) in the English department.
  • You can take two modules from Group 1 or one module from Group 1 and two modules from Group 2.

The courses listed on these pages are highly specialised approaches to language and literature topics. It is not their purpose, directly, to raise the quality of your spoken and written English. Acceptance to study here implies that your university has guaranteed that your proficiency in English is such that you will be able to cope with, and profit from, the modules you follow.

Group 1: Literature Modules

  • English Literature before 1790

Code: 09 19587; 20 credits; semester 2

This module will provide students with an introduction to British literature from the medieval period through to the end of the eighteenth century. The texts studied may vary from year to year, but will include a selection of poetry, fiction and drama. The texts will be studied in relation to their social, political and literary contexts. One lecture / seminar per week. Assessed by a  2,000-word essay.

  • English Literature 1790 - Present

Code: 09 19588; 20 credits; semester 1

This module will provide students with an introduction to British literature from 1790 until the present. The texts studied may vary from year to year, but will include a selection of poetry, fiction and drama. The texts will be studied in relation to their social, political and literary contexts.  One lecture / seminar per week. Assessed by a  2,000-word essay.

  • Shakespeare: Selected Plays module for Erasmus/Exchange students (run by the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford upon Avon)

Code: 09 19598; 20 credits; semester 1

The course will consider a range of Shakespeare’s plays, focusing on four or five drawn from different periods in his career. The plays will be chosen to represent a variety of genres - a typical list would be 'Romeo and Juliet', 'As You Like It', 'The Taming of the Shrew', 'King Lear', and 'Antony and Cleopatra'.  They will also illustrate a range of devices and conventions employed on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage (such as disguise, cross-dressing, the double-plot, the fool, uses of verse and prose, sonnets, pronouns, imagery).  The course will encourage the students to view the plays as performance pieces and to consider alternative staging choices.  One lecture per week. Assessed by 3,000 word essay.

You may also choose from the following Second Year Modules. Please note that space is limited and that we cannot guarantee you a place until module enrolment is finalized in September:

  • Generic Transformations, 1580-1780

Code: 09 18405;  20 credits; semester 1

The three broad generic categories of lyric poetry (including the sonnet), epic and mock epic poetry, and prose fiction narrative will be studied as representative of changes in literary culture that were taking place during the two hundred years from 1580 to 1780. The nominated texts will be used to illustrate generic, contextual, and theoretical issues raised in the lectures and to provide points of reference for work in seminars, but seminars discussions will also draw upon a range of related texts. One lecture and one seminar per week; semester 1 only.Assessed by 3-hour examination in May. Please note that we will NOT be able to arrange any alternative assessment if you cannot attend the exam in term 3. In order to obtain the credits for this course you must sit the exam.

  • Writing and the World in the Nineteenth-Century

Code: 09 22328;  20 credits; semester 2

The Victorians were both explorers and reformers, imagining and discovering new worlds while also bringing them into being.  This module explores the way the Victorians created the world through their writing, whether this was in describing new lands, reexamining those familiar to them, exploring the psyche, or speculating on the unknown.  In order to encompass the diverse ways in which the world was encountered, conceived and described in the nineteenth century, the module encompasses a wide range of literary and non-literary writing, with sessions devoted to the sensation novel, realist fiction, poetic form, and the industrial novel; as well as to correspondence, contributions to the periodical press, science writing, and questions of aesthetics posed by pre-Raphaelitism.  Possible texts include Charlotte Bronte,Jane Eyre; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Wilkie Collins, Woman in White; Elizabeth Gaskell,North and South; poetry from Arnold, Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti; short stories and verse by Rudyard Kipling; and extracts from Charles Darwin’s Origin of Speciesand other scientific writing.  Assessed by 3-hour examination in May. Please note that we will NOT be able to arrange any alternative assessment if you cannot attend the exam in term 3. In order to obtain the credits for this course you must sit the exam.

  • Victorian and Decadent Literature: the Modern, the Aesthetic, and the Gothic. Full for 09/10

Code: tbc;  20 credits; semester 2

The literature of the later part of the nineteenth century was often characterised by the term ‘Decadent’: a rebellion against the moral purpose earlier seen to legitimate and underpin literature and literary study. This fascinating period sees a privileging of aesthetic, or artistic, value over moral value, and the results include macabre modern fairy tales, philosophical writings on the role and purpose of art and literature, the importance of short, intricately-formed, impressionistic poems seeking a heightened engagement with the world through extreme experiences and the breaking of taboos, and the mediation of these concerns into the popular press and the twentieth century.  Texts on the course might include Bram Stoker,Dracula; E.M. Forster, Howards End; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; and the writings of Arthur Symons and Walter Pater. Assessed by 3-hour examination in May. Please note that we will NOT be able to arrange any alternative assessment if you cannot attend the exam in term 3. In order to obtain the credits for this course you must sit the exam.

  • Making it New: Modernism and Literary Innovation in the early Twentieth Century

Code :09 22336 ;  20 credits; semester 2

This course aims to orientate students within an understanding of the aesthetic debates and cultural scene of Anglo-American literary modernism. It examines the ways in which writers sought to define themselves against bourgeois Victorian culture and its paradigmatic ways of seeing and representing the world; both through a focus on ‘modern’ life, and the shift in accepted ideas about gender, nation, religion and psyche by which it is characterised, and through experimentation with narrative style (such as interior monologue and stream of consciousness writing) and poetic form (in terms of rhythm, symbolism and vers libre). We will study some of the most representative and remarkable writings from the period both pre- and post-WW1, and explore the ways in which the modernist impulse to ‘make it new’, redefined the form and focus of poetry and the novel in the early twentieth century. Likely texts will include Henry James, What Maisie Knew; Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent(with Ford Madox Ford’s The Soul of Londonas background text); Imagist poetry (T. E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, H.D); Wyndham Lewis,Blast and Tarr; Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; D. H. Lawrence, The Rainbow; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land(and various other poems); Virginia Woolf, The Waves; and Jean Rhys, Good Morning Midnight. Assessed by 3-hour examination in May. Please note that we will NOT be able to arrange any alternative assessment if you cannot attend the exam in term 3. In order to obtain the credits for this course you must sit the exam.

  • Literature in Britain since 1945

Code: 09 22334;  20 credits; semester 2

This module is intended to introduce students to some of the important texts and currents of post-war British literature. The diverse examples of poetry and fiction to be studied will be located in relation to the specific cultural formations of this period of British life and students will be encouraged to explore connections between the literature and the wider social and intellectual currents of the time.  Texts might include Sylvia Plath,Selected Poems; Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook; Angela Carter, The Passion of New Eve; Linton Kwesi Johnson, Selected Poems; Graham Swift, Waterland; Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses; Ian McEwan, Enduring Love; Caryl Phillips, The Nature of Blood, Jackie Kay, Darling: New and Selected Poems. Assessed by 3-hour examination in May. Please note that we will NOT be able to arrange any alternative assessment if you cannot attend the exam in term 3. In order to obtain the credits for this course you must sit the exam.


  Group 2:  Language/Linguistics  

  • TELLING (Topics in English Language and Linguistics)

Code: 09 18814;  20 credits; semesters 1 and 2

This module provides a survey of topics in English Language and Linguistics. Topics will include Child Language Development, Variation in English by parameters such as region, social class, gender and age, genre studies, text analysis and spoken discourse analysis.  The module is delivered by one one-hour lecture per week over two semesters, and is supported by WebCT materials. Assessment is by exam at the end of term 2.

  • Academic Discourse: Understanding and Using Academic English

Code: 09 21682; 20 credits; semesters 1 and 2

  The course introduces students to the nature of academic discourse and to the special features of academic writing in different disciplines through a critical investigation of different academic genres supported by a study of relevant theories of written discourse. It aims to develop students¿ knowledge of how academic discourse is constructed, hone their analytical skills of text analysis and improve their writing and reading skills. Ultimately, it will raise their awareness of communication in academic settings through studying, using, and producing academic discourse. The course will provide students with opportunities both to reflect on the characteristic features of the discourse of different disciplines and also to apply this knowledge to their own work. Areas of study include:

  • What is academic discourse?
  • Differences between disciplines, for example Business and Political Science
  • Features of academic discourse, for example text patterns grammatical structures, rhetorical strategies
  • Different types of academic genres, for example, abstracts, essays, critical reviews and reports
  • Reading and writing critically and developing an argument
  • Practical elements of essay writing, for example referencing and citation

Assessment: One 1000 word critical literature review in Semester 1 (20%); One 2000 word analytical essay in Semester 1 (30%); One 3000 word essay in Semester 2 (50%).

For further information contact:

Ulrike Mynette
Email: u.mynette.1@bham.ac.uk