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Unit information: Literature in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Literature
Unit code CLAS10038
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Emma Cole
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit offers an introduction to studying literature from the ancient world. Students will be introduced to a range of poetic and prose genres, from archaic Greece through to first century BC Rome. They will engage with a range of literary theories to help them develop skills in thinking and writing about literary texts. We will consider, for example, how to analyse formal narrative structure, characterisation, poetic identity, intertextuality, historical and political context, and literary landscape. The course will also provide formal research skills training relevant to study at this level, and incudes a library training session with the subject librarian. As such, it helps with the transition from school to university, and gives students a broad knowledge regarding how to engage with, and construct scholarly arguments about, ancient literature.


  • To introduce students to ancient prose and poetry
  • To introduce students to key theories and methodologies for analysing ancient literature
  • To introduce students to the practice of learning independently
  • To equip students with core academic skills, including: effectively using the library; utilising and evaluating secondary literature; correctly referencing sources and formatting a bibliography; constructing a scholarly argument.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. confident skills in reading ancient sources;
  2. competence in the essential techniques for reading, thinking about, and writing about literary texts;
  3. knowledge and understanding of some of the major ideas and themes relevant to reading ancient literary texts;
  4. skills in accessing relevant and appropriate study materials from the library and other resources;
  5. an ability to construct coherent arguments orally and in writing and to present them in appropriate academic formats, including skills in the compilation of bibliographies, referencing and footnoting.

Teaching details

3hrs/wk seminars and interactive lectures

Assessment Details

20-minute presentation (40%) and 2500-word essay (60%)

Reading and References

  • Andrew Bennett & Nicholas Royal. 2009 An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. Fourth Edition. Longman.
  • Set texts: to be supplied in the unit handbook. Authors will include: Homer, Pindar, Sappho, Theocritus, Vergil, and Horace.