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Unit information: Text in Focus in 2015/16

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Unit name Text in Focus
Unit code ENGL10106
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Ms. Green
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will provide an opportunity to discuss a single text, or a series of closely related texts, in depth, paying attention to concepts such as literary form, genre and style, authorial presence and intention, imagination and readership. The text to be examined may be chosen, where practical, after consultation with students.


By focusing on a single text, this unit aims to raise various questions - such as the importance of form, voice, genre and style, and the relation between a part and the whole of a work - in relation to this specific work and to literary study more widely. Students will also have an opportunity, through studying one work in depth, to consider its relation to a particular historical period and to the author's other works. Students will be expected to explore a range of criticism relevant to this text.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have had an opportunity to study one text in relative depth, and through this to consider a range of questions relevant to examining any literary work. There will have been an opportunity to consider the relationship between this work and its historical context; and to explore a range of criticism relevant to the text.

Teaching Information

The unit will normally be taught in six three-hour seminars, utilising a range of teaching methods including short lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, and small group discussion. Normally one whole seminar or sections of each seminar will be devoted to the assessed presentations.

Assessment Information

Students will be assessed through a formal seminar presentation, normally lasting 10-15 minutes. Assessment will be on the basis of preparatory work submitted in writing (of 1,800 words - 2,500 words) as well as on the presentation itself. The presentation should be on an aspect of the text being studied in the unit, and should combine close reading of the primary text with commentary on one or two pieces of criticism relevant to it. This assignment is designed to assess students' close reading and presentation skills, as well as their effective use of library and online resources and engagement with wider criticism.

Reading and References

The text chosen should be of sufficient length (or depth) to justify the intensity of focus required by the unit. Examples of texts that might be chosen include Milton, Paradise Lost; George Eliot, Middlemarch; or James Joyce, Ulysses. Since his works are already the focus of a named unit at Level C, a work by Shakespeare will not normally be chosen for this unit.