English and drama

Reading Genre 1

Module code: Q3122
Level 4
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

How do texts locate themselves in literary conventions to develop their own expression and meaning? How do other media such as film transform literary genre? How does genre act to shape a text and a reader's understanding of it? How do we identify and understand genre?

These are some of the questions that we shall approach in these two interlinked modules by focusing on five genres: epic, comedy (in teaching block 1) lyric, tragedy, horror (in teaching block 2). In each instance we shall concentrate on either one or a small number of representative examples, allowing us to widen our understanding of genre while we deepen our acquaintance with key illustrations from it. These two modules may be taken in consort or independently of one another.

A crucial aspect of the module is to develop close reading skills, so seminars and lectures will combine larger ideas about genre (e.g. ideas of imitation; politics of genre; tragic theory) with detailed explorations of examples.

Module learning outcomes

  • Identify the conventions of the genres studied and understand the principles of genre theory in order to apply these in addressing issues of literary analysis and interpretation.
  • Gain confidence in the close reading and analysis of literature.
  • Develop critical thinking and methods for literary analysis.
  • Acquire some understanding of Chaucerian Middle English. Identify and critically apply Chaucer's use of genre in selected Canterbury Tales.