Literature and Science: Modules Currently on Offer

BA Modules

ENGL403 - Literature, Science, and Science Fiction (15 Credits)

MA Modules

ENGL720 - Science and Literature I: Science on Stage (5 credits)
Convenor: Dr Greg Lynall
Exploring science and the stage within their reciprocal cultures of spectacle and display, this module considers the representation of various kinds of scientific knowledge and practice in Renaissance and eighteenth-century drama. Reading science as performance, and theatre as experiment, the module locates plays such as Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist and John Gay’s Three Hours After Marriage alongside contemporaneous alchemical and natural philosophical ideas and writings, in order to think through the mutual issues they raise about
secrecy and public demonstration, curiosity and observation, audience, and space.
ENGL710 - Science and Literature II: Science and Imagination (10 credits)
Convenor: Dr Greg Lynall
This module explores the relationship between literature and science in the Renaissance and Eighteenth Century, through the works of authors such as Spenser, Bacon, Milton, Boyle, Cavendish, Newton, Swift, Thomson and Barbauld. It pays particular attention to how emerging ways of knowing and seeing influenced accounts of cosmology and creation, discovery and imagination, and politics and poetics. We use electronic resources such as EEBO andECCO, together with the University Library’s Special Collections and Archives, to examine how literary and non-literary texts of the period engaged with ideas prevalent in ‘scientific’ discourses and how writers were inspired by or set against different narratives of nature, from simple conceits to grand visions of the cosmos.

ENGL730 – Using the Science Fiction Archive (5 credits)
Convenor: Mr A Sawyer
This module uses Liverpool’s world-renowned science fiction collection to introduce students to the concept of a literary archive and the importance of context and evidence to presenting an argument about literary texts. As well as looking at books, magazines and other printed material, students will gain practical experience in using authors’ individual archives and reflecting upon the value of archival materials such as manuscripts, letters, and ephemera.

ENGL731 - Science Fiction and the Contemporary (10 credits)
Convenor: Dr Will Slocombe
This module aims to introduce students to the field of science fiction writing, and some of its dominant themes and tropes. Reading authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Margaret Atwood, Joanna Russ, and John Wyndham, students will cover a variety of topics including: temporality and narrative, counterfactual and future histories, utopia and dystopia, and ‘speculating on the present’. These classes will explore how imaginative and speculative writing responds to its time and place of production, in particular how SF articulates ‘the contemporary’.

Find out more about studying Literature and Science on our MA in English Literature

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