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Unit information: Contemporary Literature in 2020/21

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Unit name Contemporary Literature
Unit code ENGLM0038
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Theo Savvas
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Literature today is marked by its diversity. Globalisation, technology, terrorism, and ecological awareness have all shaped how writers are representing the world. At the same time, literature as a discipline has been reshaped by the emergence of new critical approaches, such as postcolonialism and postmodernism, and new theories of sexuality and gender, and race and ethnicity. In this unit we will consider a selection of primary texts written in English after 1970, and including prose and poetry, which address such issues. We will study a range of writers which may include Linton Kwesi Johnson, Zadie Smith, Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Geoffrey Hill, Tom McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Marilynne Robinson.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. A broadened experience of the range and variety of writing from the period 1970 to the present.

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 contemporary writing.

4. Developing an appropriate style of critical writing for the discussion and analysis of contemporary writing in English.

5. Improving existing skills through independent reading, reasearch and writing on specific 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 1-6] 1000 word presentation

Reading and References

Sarah Broom, 'Contemporary British and Irish Poetry: An Introduction' (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005)

Peter Childs, 'Contemporary Novelists: British Fiction since 1970' (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012 [second edition])

Richard Gray, 'After the Fall: American Literature since 9/11' (Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell, 2011)

Rod Mengham (ed.), 'An Introduction to Contemporary Fiction: International Writing in English' (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1999)

Cary Nelson (ed.), 'The Oxford Handbook of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry' (New York: OUP, 2012)

Patricia Waugh, 'Postmodernism: A Reader' (London: Edward Arnold, 1992)