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Unit information: Literature 1940-1970: Writing After War, After Modernism in 2021/22

Unit name Literature 1940-1970: Writing After War, After Modernism
Unit code ENGLM0035
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Kennedy-Epstein
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit focuses on literature written in English in the post-war period. Reading texts against the background of the Second World War, the Cold War, and the great cultural and sociological changes of the period, the unit will offer the chance to study continuities with and challenges to high modernism, and to investigate the alternatives offered to modernist modes by the resurgence of realist and traditionalist models, on the one hand, and by the rise of postmodernism, on the other. The unit will consider writing that responds to Auschwitz, the hydrogen bomb and the emergence of Welfare State democracy, and that chronicles the rise of consumerism and the mass media, the dismantling of Empire and the rise of new, postcolonial realities. The period 1940-1970 presented new challenges to the writer and new ways of answering them, and the unit examines a range of authors in order to build a complex picture of the writing of the period. Writers studied might include Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Keith Douglas, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Doris Lessing and Muriel Spark.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. A broadened experience of the range and variety of writing from the period 1940-69.

2. Improved independent critical thinking about literature of the period.

3. A maturing ability to apply critical, social and cultural contexts to the discussion of mid-twentieth century English literature.

4. Developing an appropriate style of critical writing for the discussion and analysis of literary works.

5. Improving existing skills through independent reading, research and writing on defined texts and topics.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. These can include seminars, lectures, class discussions, formative tasks, small group work and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

1 x 4000 word summative assignment (100%) [ILOs 1-5]


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How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.