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Unit information: Literature in its Time 2: From Milton to Johnson in 2015/16

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Unit name Literature in its Time 2: From Milton to Johnson
Unit code ENGL21011
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. John McTague
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to the wealth of literature in English in the period running approximately from 1660 to 1750. There will be opportunities to consider the rise of the novel and developments in poetry; students will also be encouraged to study parallel developments in society and in enlightenment thought, and changing methods of literary production and consumption.


This unit aims to introduce students to a range of literature in the period running from the works of John Milton to Samuel Johnson. Students will be introduced to a range of literary developments in this period, including the rise of the novel, and to relevant contexts that impact on particular texts and on literary production and reception more widely. The unit aims to facilitate students' ongoing appreciation of the chronology and historical development of literature in English.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will have had an opportunity to read a range of texts from the period and to place them in wider historical, sociological, and other contexts. There will have been opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the historical development of literature at this time, and to place this period in the wider context of literature in English.

Teaching Information

The unit will normally be taught in ten three-hour seminars, which will utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, and small group discussion.

Assessment Information

Students will be required to write two essays for formal assessment. The first will be of 1,800 to 2,500 words; in this assignment, students will be asked to engage with a particular text or a topic with a relatively defined scope. The second will be of 2,800 to 4,000 words and will normally involve a wider range of texts and/or approaches to literature in this period. The first essay will be worth 40% of the unit mark; the second essay will be worth 60%.

Reading and References

  • Milton, Paradise Lost
  • Henry Fielding, Tom Jones
  • Samuel Richardson, Clarissa
  • Samuel Johnson, Rasselas