Year One Modules

Compulsory Modules 


The key aim of this module will be to develop skills in close reading, informed by a sampled knowledge of the historical and geographical varieties of verse written in English. Each week’s work will be structured around a key text, or group of texts, which will form the basis of that week’s lectures; in seminars, these key texts will be related to, or contrasted with, a variety of extension texts. The key texts will be grouped by three themes, each of which will form the basis of three weeks’ work: Love, Loss and Location, allowing students to shape arguments about change and variety in English verse. 


This module aims to provide an introductory exploration of prose as a medium of art and thought. Through encounters with specimens of prose from across recent history, students will be brought into contact with the ways in which prose writing has been theorised and understood. They will learn different critical approaches to prose and become practiced in conceiving and producing academic prose of their own. The module’s ten weeks are divided into a number of sections, each of which focusses on one of the core texts. Within the sections, each week focuses on a different critical theme, inviting students to familiarise themselves with a range of different ways of reading and writing about literature. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with a spectrum of critical theory, as well as the specific works in question; they will have encountered prose through various lenses such as history and biography, gender and sexuality, race and politics.

Plays and Performance

The primary aim of this module is to explore plays both as pieces of prose and verse and as the basis for performance. The module will equip students with the analytical, critical and technical skills necessary, both to analyse plays as literary texts and to evaluate performances as theatrical productions of these works. Students will be encouraged furthermore to consider the process of reception and adaptation, whereby plays are refashioned into cinematic or other media. The module is structured chronologically. It analyses a group of key texts with close reference to genre and mode (comedy, tragedy, the absurd and so on); it examines staging and performance history and the reception of plays by later writers and filmmakers. These themes will enable students to reflect on the significance and the shaping effects of genre, mode and place on the style and structure of dramatic texts and to consider the effects of media (and re-mediation) on the meaning and significance of individual plays.

Language for Literature

This module introduces students to stylistics: the analysis of language in (primarily) literary texts. We develop a stylistics toolkit, based around the structures, meanings and history of the English language, which is used to explore the style and affect of literary works. Developing techniques for analysis and critique, such as transcription using the International Phonetic Alphabetic, methods of corpus linguistics and drawing on key theoretical concepts such as foregrounding and iconicity, we discuss how the features of English combine in genres such as drama, poetry and prose and we aim to understand how language and creativity intertwine. Texts studied will be drawn from a range of geographical, historical and cultural contexts and relations between the literary and the ‘everyday’ will be explored throughout the module.

Optional Modules 

Literary Practice (students choose one) 

  • Discovering Digital Cultures

  • Discovering Medieval Literature

  • Discovering North American Literature

  • Discovering Shakespeare 

Creative Practice (students choose two) 

  • Creative Writing 

  • Drama

  • Film

  • Language

Widening Horizons Module