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Unit information: Arthurian Literature in 2021/22

Unit name Arthurian Literature
Unit code ENGLM0079
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Steve Bull
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will focus on the Arthurian legend from early medieval to modern times. We will begin by considering the origins of the legend in Welsh tales and in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, and then proceed to the first Arthurian romances by Chrétien de Troyes. Medieval English versions to be considered are Malory's Morte Darthur and Sir Launfal. The post-medieval responses are as interesting as the original medieval legends. We will be focusing on Tennyson's Arthurian cycle, Idylls of the King and Mark Twain's parody A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court. We shall discuss issues such as the changing characterisation of Arthur, the conflict of love and chivalry, the roles of religion and of magic, representations of men and women, and the ways in which the Arthurian legend has been both idealised and parodied.

The aim of the unit is to give students a good grounding in Arthurian literature, medieval and modern, and to develop skills in close reading and in comparative criticism.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a diverse range of literary texts;

2. apply an understanding of critical and theoretical reading to specific issues articulated in the designated literary texts;

3. discern different critical perspectives on the literature studied;

4. identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument;

5. demonstrate skills in textual analysis, argumentation, and critical interpretation, using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources.

Teaching Information

Teaching will involve asynchronous and synchronous elements, including long- and short-form lectures, group discussion, research and writing activities, and peer dialogue. Students are expected to engage with the reading and participate fully with the weekly tasks and topics. Learning will be further supported through the opportunity for individual consultation.

Assessment Information

  • 1 x 5000 word essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]
  • 1 x group project (formative)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGLM0079).

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.