Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code GOHI007
Coordinator Dr JR Bainbridge
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 3 FHEQ Second Semester 10


To foster and enhance the skills of close reading by drawing attention to what is needed to read texts attentively;

To consider in detail a range of poetry, prose and drama from a range of critical and historical perspectives;

To develop reading skills in critical reading, academic research and writing;

To enable students to criticise and write focused critical essays on the basis of their attentive reading;

To develop confidence in constructing an argument and presenting it clearly in debates and academic discussion;

To discuss form, structure, voice and genre;

To consider the implications of these categories for both writing and reading literary texts.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate informed responsiveness to a range of literary texts from a variety of periods by employing skills of close reading.

(LO2) Deploy an initial analytical and critical vocabulary for the discussion of English literature.

(LO3) Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and aims of literary criticism.

(LO4) Consider literary texts within the contexts of other disciplines.

(LO5) Participate in group discussion of texts, and write coherently constructed essays on the texts and issues studied.

(S1) IT skills

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) Independent Learning

(S4) Critical thinking, logic and reasoning



A typical format for this module is:

Introduction to the module: The processes of reading. Examining a familiar eighteenth century text, we will question the processes involved in reading, considering how historical and philosophical context alter our understanding of the text;

Seamus Heaney, Beowulf: In this session we will examine Seamus Heaney’s translation of the Old English poem Beowulf. You are asked to have read the poem in advance. An electronic copy is available from the library;

The Sonnet: The session will introduce concepts of poetic form and metre, examining Michael Drayton’s fifth sonnet from Idea. The session will consider Elizabethan rhetoric and epistemology. Handout provided.

William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience: We will continue our exploration of poetic form, examining works in detail. We will consider the texts’ depictions of gender and sexuality and the purpose of metaphysical poetry. Handout provided;

Alice Oswald, Tithonus: Our exploration of poetic form brings us up to date with Oswald’s 2014 poem

George Eliot, Silas Marner: Students are expected to have read the novel in advance. This session begins a four-week period exploring the development of nineteenth century fiction;

Elizabeth Gaskell, Cousin Phillis: Examining another work of nineteenth century fiction. The novella raises key questions of the purpose of education for both men and women. In this session we will consider Gaskell’s motivations for writing the text, and question whether the text reveals an underlying ironical intent. Students are expected to have read the novel in advance;

A.S.J. Tessimond: Once an undergraduate at the University of Liverpool, in this session, based on new research we re-examine the work of this much-neglected twentieth century poet;

William Shakespeare, King Lear: “An evocative story of family tragedy” (Brown). Examining the traditions of Renaissance theatre, we will consider the ideas and meaning of tragedy. The session will give an overview to the text and consider why it is shaped in the way it is;

William Shakespeare, King Lear: In this session we will consider key moments from the play in detail, particularly those which question belief. Students will utilise close reading skills to explore the language of the play;

Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot: Continuing our discussion of symbolism, we will consider Beckett’s existentialist drama. What conventions of drama are retained in this challenging work? To what extent can it be considered to be in the tradition of King Lear?

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Interactive lectures cover key texts.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 2 - Tutorial
Description: Students to prepare by reading texts in advance of classroom discussions.
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Method 3 - Online Discussions
Description: Online resources and virtual forums will be established to facilitate debate.
Attendance Recorded: Not yet decided

Teaching Method 4 - Workshop
Description: Problem-based learning
Attendance Recorded: Yes

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 3



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 88


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Close Reading of given extracts from literary works There is a resit opportunity. Non-standard penalty applies for late submission - Work submitted after the deadline listed will be deemed late and      50       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Essay There is a resit opportunity. Non-standard penalty applies for late submission - Work submitted after the deadline listed will be deemed late and will receive the following penalties: 5 ma  2500 words    50       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

    Show/Hide 1

    show/hide text

    Show/Hide 2

    show/hide text

    Show/Hide 3

    Show/Hide text