English and Art History BA

English

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
QV33
Start date:
September 2018

Explore how literature and the visual arts shape our culture and society. You investigate literature in diverse historical, political and cultural contexts while exploring a wide range of visual material – from painting and architecture to sculpture and dress.

You interrogate what we read, how we read, and why we read, in order to produce your own critical and creative response to the world we live in today.

The two subjects complement and enhance each other, and the tutors encourage you to explore beyond boundaries.”Amanda Cooper-Grundy
English and Art History BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

Subjects

A-levels must include English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language and Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

Access to HE Diploma must contain substantial Level 3 credits in Literature. Alternatively, you will need grade A in A-level English Literature or the combined English Language & Literature, normally at grade A, in addition to the Access Diploma.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.     

Subjects

Higher Level subjects must include English A1 or A2, with a final grade of 6.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

Subjects

In addition to the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma you will also need A-level English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language and Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Subjects

Highers must include English at grade A. You would also be expected to have an Advanced Higher in English (also grade A).

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

Subjects

Options must include two A-levels, one of which must be English Literature or the combined A-level in English Language & Literature, normally at grade A.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.     

Subjects

Higher Level subjects must include English A1 or A2, with a final grade of 6.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Additional requirements

Successful applicants will need to achieve a final mark of at least 8/10 in English.

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, such as a Business related course, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

Additional requirements

You will need Laudatur in English.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Additional requirements

You will need at least 14/20 in English.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Additional requirements

You will need a final result of at least 14/15 in English.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3.

Additional requirements

Higher Level subjects must include English at grade H1.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Additional requirements

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole - Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Additional requirements

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0.

Additional requirements

You will need at least 8/10 in English.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Subject-specific knowledge

You will need to demonstrate high levels of ability in literature.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • In the top 15 in the UK for English Studies (The Guardian University Guide 2017 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
  • Ranked 9th in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014 REF) and in the top 100 in the world for English (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016).
  • Fantastic campus facilities including the Art History Lab and the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, and exceptional links with galleries and museums including Tate Modern and the V&A.

Course information

How will I study?

Learning is through lectures and seminars, with workshops in English and on-site work for Art History. Your core modules cover cultural contexts, critical methods and the importance of the literary form.

You develop as a reader and writer by exploring a variety of literature – from the Greeks to the present day – including classic texts, graphic novels and experimental poetry.

Your introduction to Art History encourages you to challenge accepted thinking and engage with visual culture.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

In your English core modules, you focus on the novel and the historical periods that shape our understanding of the discipline. You can choose from a range of modules and learn about writing from different centuries, continents and genres.

In Art History, we introduce you to key terms and theories, from feminism to postmodernism, providing you with a vital set of tools to use during your studies. You can choose to study the periods of art history that most interest you.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Studying abroad boosts your confidence, gaining language skills, international connections, and a totally fresh perspective on life (and literature!).”Josephine Mortimer
English (with a study abroad year) BA

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

How will I study?

You learn through seminars, site visits, one-to-one tutorials and small workshops. Your understanding of literature grows as you become an assured researcher.

In your English core modules, you continue to explore crucial historical periods, and select two authors to study in detail.

In Art History, you look at art in context, such as the advent of Modernism in early 20th-century Paris. Sussex’s distinct approach to study helps you forge connections between diverse ideas and materials, allowing you great choice when choosing a dissertation topic.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2016. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

 

The approach to English here is interdisciplinary, with a strong theoretical foundation, and encourages creative, daring thinking that challenges the status quo.Katie Walter
Lecturer in Medieval English Literature

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that, if you’re an EU student applying for entry in the academic year 2018, you'll remain eligible for financial support. This applies even if your course ends after the UK’s exit from the EU. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Details of our scholarships are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018.

Careers

Graduate destinations

English and English Language at Sussex is ranked 1st in the UK for graduate prospects (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). 

97% of Department of English students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates from our Department and the Department of Art History graduates have found jobs as:

  • editorial assistant, Taylor and Francis
  • analyst, Interbrand
  • creative director, Big Al's Creative Emporium.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

English is multidisciplinary and flexible. Art History is a practical humanities subject. Studying them together gives you transferable skills in critical analysis, research, communication, independent thinking and problem-solving. You’ll also understand how visual culture works – an essential skill in an image-saturated society.

You can use your English and Art History degree to go on to postgraduate study, or for careers in fields such as:

  • the arts, libraries and archives
  • PR, media and journalism
  • teaching and higher education.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Critical Approaches 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text? What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature: are we trying to establish one correct interpretation? How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others? Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means? Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged? Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments? Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality? How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued? Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English modules?

This module will suggest some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation, and aims to make you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex. The module is divided up into five parts: two five-week lecture blocks in the autumn, and three four-week blocks in the spring. In the autumn you will study two themes: "The Author/Authority" and "The Word"; in the spring you will study "Class and Culture," "Desire and Pleasure," and "Difference." Throughout the module you will read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes. The module will examine many different aspects of literary theory including new criticism, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction, feminism, post-colonial theory, psychoanalysis and queer theory. We will also ask you to reflect on the relationship between the theoretical reading and literature through simultaneously reading several literary texts.

Critical Approaches 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1
  • How do we go about reading and interpreting a literary text?
  • What are we trying to do when we analyse a work of literature - are we trying to establish one correct interpretation?
  • How do we decide that some interpretations are more valuable than others?
  • Do we need to understand the original intentions of the author to understand what something means?
  • Is it necessary to understand the historical or political situation from which a work emerged?
  • Do readers interpret texts differently at different historical moments?
  • Could our interpretations of texts be affected by forces beyond our control, forces such as the workings of language, unconscious desires, class, race, gender, sexuality or nationality?
  • How is it that some texts, Shakespeare's plays, for instance, are highly valued by our culture, while others have been lost or devalued?
  • Who or what decides which literature will survive to be read and studied on English courses?

In this module, Critical Approaches 2, you explore some ways of answering these large and difficult questions about interpretation. The aim of the module is to help you think in new ways about the work you do for your English degree at Sussex.

In the spring, you study three themes:

  • Theories of Subjectivity, Identity, and Desire
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • The Contemporary Moment.

Throughout the module, you read critical and theoretical essays and literary works that contribute to your understanding of these themes.

You examine many different aspects of literary theory including:

  • new criticism
  • Marxism
  • structuralism
  • post-structuralism
  • deconstruction
  • feminism
  • post-colonial theory
  • psychoanalysis
  • queer theory.

Reading Genre 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

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.

Reading Genre 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

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.

Stories of Art I: Shaping Art

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This is a twelve-week lecture-based module that forms part of the First Year teaching for the Art History single-honours module and all joint honours modules with Art History. It provides an introductory experience of studying art history at undergraduate level.

You will be introduced to a wide range of works of visual art across time and across cultures. We will consider many different kinds of works of art – paintings, sculptures, architecture, prints, drawings, and the so-called decorative and applied arts – and acknowledge that such objects raise a wide range of questions that can be answered in many different ways. The module is based on the principle that there are multiple Stories – rather than one single Story – of Art.

Stories of Art II: Making Modernity

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This is a twelve-week lecture-based module that continues from Stories of Art I in forming part of the First Year teaching for the Art History single-honours module and all joint honours modules with Art History.

On this module, you will be introduced to a wide range of works of visual art across time and across cultures. We will consider many different kinds of works of art – paintings, sculptures, architecture, prints, drawings, and the so-called decorative and applied arts – and acknowledge that such objects raise a wide range of questions that can be answered in many different ways. The module is based on the principle that there are multiple Stories – rather than one single Story – of Art.

Art and the City

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 2

Art and the City is a twelve-week module taught in the Spring term.

The module forms part of the second year teaching for the Art History single-honours module and all joint honours modules with Art History. 

Towards the end of the Spring term, all Art History single and joint-honours students go on a compulsory study trip to a major European centre of art, usually Rome.

Art and the City is concerned with the physical and social contexts for the production and consumption of works of visual art and is built around specific geographical case studies.

Reading Art History: Critical Texts

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The interrelationship between text and image is one of the critical issues in visual culture from classical antiquity to the present day. From Chinese calligraphy, which blurs the divide between painting and writing, and medieval manuscripts where pictures appear in margins of the text to contemporary advertisements that use graphics and photography, these connections have influenced our attitudes towards images and information. This module asks how objects as diverse as Chinese porcelain or a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a pair of jeans or a designer dress, acquire meaning and value, both in the past and in the present. It raises questions about materials and techniques: how things were made and what form affects how they look. This module takes one or a number of places and periods to explore the way text and image functioned in society and the different interdisciplinary approaches required to study the two together.

American Drama

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Living Through Art: Art and Society in Renaissance Italy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines Italian art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, focusing particularly on its role in constructing and maintaining social relationships. It encompasses a range of Italian urban and courtly centres, exploring how distinctive regional contexts influenced the design, content and location of works of art. Investigating the networks of people involved in commissioning and creating art objects, it explores how viewers engaged with them in civic, sacred and domestic settings. The module considers the traditionally privileged 'art' of the Renaissance - painting and sculpture - in relation to luxury 'arts' - ceramics, glass, metalwork and textiles - to investigate the changing visual and material culture of Italy in this period. Finally, it addresses the term 'Renaissance', examining how this concept has been historically constructed and reinforced.

Period in Art History: Selling yourself: 18th Century Art and Society

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module considers the production of visual culture in the 18th century within its social contexts. Rather than simply looking at a list of artists, you will consider the visual arts against the backdrop of contemporary social and ideological issues: commerce and luxury, urbanization and the rise of industry, the impact of empire and colonialism.

The approach will be a thematic one, looking at topics such as the representation of labour, the image of the family, the cult of individualism, the representation of war, as well as the more conventional genres of portraiture, landscape or history painting. You will also relate the visual arts to 18th century literary culture: the rise of the novel, georgic and pastoral poetry, and developments in social philosophy.

Period of Literature: 1500-1625

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module you will examine literature from the reigns of Henry VIII to James I. The volume, variety and quality of writing produced in this period are astonishing. The 16th century saw the impact of an unprecedented expansion of England's capital city, which produced a thriving environment for professional writing, prompting the birth of commercial theatre in London and a flourishing book trade.

You will consider how literature came to be produced historically, looking at writing in its cultural setting with the help of visual texts such as paintings and architecture. You will address questions of literary history and theory, form and rhetoric within the network of institutions, practices and beliefs that constitute a culture as a whole. The module does not confine itself to major authors, but involves the consideration of appropriate themes and material drawn from various literary genres - drama, poetry and prose.

Topics explored include the rise of the commercial stage; sexualities and the transvestite stage; writing history; popular pamphlet culture; representations of the body; exploration and early colonialism; the sonnet; erotic writing; devotional writing; the city of London and money; religion; gender; death; representations of monarchy; the political stage; revenge tragedy; witchcraft and the birth of science.

Period of Literature: 1625-1750

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the literary production of the period from the autocratic reign of the Stuart king Charles I to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. At its centre lies the regicide of Charles I in January 1649 - an event T. S. Eliot argued still divided British political society 300 years later. Even now it is a matter of some controversy to refer to the period between 1642 and 1649 as a rebellion or as the English Revolution, and between 1649 and 1660 as the Commonwealth or else as the Interregnum. However it is described, the extraordinary 125 years covered by this module have some claim to be the decisive period in the creation of what we think of as modern politics.

It is also a period of astonishing literary creativity. This is true both in terms of the volume, variety and quality of writing produced, and in terms of radical innovations in styles, in readerships, and in media. This module will include the study of a wide range of poetry, prose and play-texts. At the same time, it will involve trying to understand how this writing came to be produced historically. In particular, it will be concerned with the social life of texts, placing literary artifacts within the network of institutions, practices and beliefs that constitute a culture as a whole.

Period of Literature: 1750-1880

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

The module, taught in seminars supported by a weekly lecture series, will address a selection of authors and themes prominent between 1750 and 1880. The actual content will vary from year to year depending on the expertise of those available to teach it in any given year.

Authors to be studied will be selected from but not necessarily confined to: Johnson, Gray, Sterne, Goldsmith, Blake, Lewis, Austen, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Carlyle, De Quincey, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Ruskin, Dickens, Gaskell, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, W.M. Thackeray, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy.

Themes to be considered may includ sentimentalism and sensibility; slavery and empire; Romantic aesthetics and Romantic poetry; theories of the sublime and the imagination; the Gothic; responses to the French Revolution and the oppression of women; images of women; the condition of England question; progress and evolution; art and society; mind and spirit: the inner life; and culture in crisis

Period of Literature: 1860-1945

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

On this module you will study one of the truly momentous and troubling periods of British and world history. Imperialist conflict, the growth of nationalism, war, migration, feminism and the struggle for women's suffrage, the development of consumerism and of new forms of economic organisation, the emergence of anarchism, socialism, communism and fascism, the creation of the mass press, the radio and cinema: these are some of the contextual forces out of which emerged some of the most challenging, demanding, fascinating, rich and bewildering works of literature in English.

You will examine the links between modernity and modern/modernist literature in a range of texts, genres and authors. You will investigate notions of the avant-garde and the experimental in writing, and explore the ways in which literary texts participated in and responded to the revolutionary intellectual changes that marked this period, from Darwinism to psychoanalysis. Some of the topics we will investigate include: the consequences of science and technology (modernisation, urbanisation, sub-urbanisation); definitions and re-definitions of Englishness; the invention of traditions; the critique of modernity; the fate of liberalism; the impact of photography, the mass media and new forms of communication from the telephone to the motor car.

Picasso to Kahlo: Transatlantic Dialogues

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You will explore around fifty years in the history of 20th-century art, during which the exchange between European and North-American artists intensified.

Starting with the shocking art of Dada artists in New York (Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Man Ray and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag), we will go back to Paris to examine the queer enclave of American artists and critics (Romaine Brooks and Gertrude Stein). Passing via the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, we will return to New York and discuss the significant role of Peggy Guggenheim in supporting those artists who fled from Nazi Europe (Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Joan Miró).

The module will also look at representations of African-American artists in Paris and Berlin (Josephine Baker), and the stories around the controversial murals of socialist Mexican artists in New York and Detroit (José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo).

Pop Life: After Modern Art

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines developments in western art from 1945 to the present, placing them in a variety of social and cultural contexts. It begins with Pop Art and its relation to 1950s consumerism, before charting the rise of conceptual art practices in the context of 1960s counter-culture.

It goes on to explore the emergence of postmodernism, and the challenge presented to a predominantly white, male, Eurocentric art establishment by identity politics and feminism in the 1980s. The module concludes by looking at 'relational' art practices in the 1990s and 2000s, along with the rise of the art biennial.

Primitivism at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module introduces you to the range of literary productions of the Romantic Period (approximately, 1780-1830) at the same time as considering the extent to which primitivism is the key motif of the period's thought. Primitivism is defined as a preference for what is 'natural' ('in the sense of that which exists prior to or independently of human culture and contrivance') over what is 'artificial' (that which is technologically constructed, or associated with the complex institutions of civilised society).

The module begins with a detailed examination of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's On the Origin of Inequality (1754) taught alongside modern theorists of primitivism such as Susan Hiller and Michael Bell and then goes on to examine the echoes of, and departures from, Rousseau's ideas over the course of the rest of the module's texts. The turn of the 19th century is particularly suited to this approach because cultural primitivism, in various forms, stands at the heart of many of its literary phenomena. The Gothic proposes that key human passions and ideas can only exist outside of stultifying commercial society, hence its frequent pretence that its texts are ancient 'found' manuscripts of various sorts. Wordsworth and Coleridge's lyrical ballads project celebrates a rural simplicity under threat in contemporary urban life and under pressure from the spectacular and world-historical nature of recent politics. And abolitionist literature and thought mobilises the cult of the noble savage to challenge the brutal reality of economic expansion. The module will consider these and other related literary phenomena with the ideas of primitivism as a critical template.

Romance

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

You study the history of romance, focusing on medieval literature. You trace the genre's importance to English literary history, and to its readers and writers. 

You also examine how male writers thought about and adapted the genre, in an age where it was assumed to be focused towards female readers. 

During the Middle Ages, romance was the most popular form of secular literature, and has influenced later works from The Faerie Queene to Bridget Jones' Diar - making it one of the most important genres in English literary history. 

Selling yourself: 18th Century Art and Society

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Sense and Sexuality: Women and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the representation of women and the construction of female sexuality and feeling in a wide range of 18th-century writing. Addressing fictional and non-fictional writing by both women and men in novels, medical works, advice books for women and erotic literature, the module explores contemporary debates about the place of women in society, (including personal conduct), and the place of sexuality (both socially-sanctioned and otherwise). A central concern will be attitudes to female feeling, from sexual passion to sensibility, and the ways in which feeling of various kinds enables conformity to, or critical interrogation of, a larger social and cultural order. Attention will also be paid to the relationship between bodies and passion, the social disciplining of feeling, and the relationship between emotion and gender. Your focus on literary works will be supplemented with a range of additional sources that will enable you to contextualise the novels and poems and link them into contemporary debates and attitudes.

 

Senses of the Self

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The module takes as its starting point a common assumption that one of the roots of modern identity lies in a reconfiguration of ideas concerning subjectivity and the self in the 16th and 17th centuries. This assumption has aroused a great deal of debate in recent years. The whole area of study has been renewed and transformed by the application of new theoretical approaches (from feminism, psychoanalysis, or textuality) to the study of the past and the interpenetration of the past in the present.

During the module you will study a broad range of texts (from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the 14th century to Swift's Gulliver's Travels in the 18th), in order to investigate changes in the construction of personal and sexual identity through history. The module contains both canonical and non-canonical texts, including some European authors studied in translation. Issues covered will range from philosophy to pornography, mythology to autobiography, and medicine to travel literature.

Staging the Renaissance: Shakespeare

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module considers a range of Shakespeare's plays (comedies, tragedies, tragi-comedies and romances) from different stages of his career, analysing the playwright's stagecraft, his use of language, and his reworking of traditional forms for the
commercial stage. Although you will explore some recent adaptations for stage and screen, you wil focus particularly on the plays as produced in their original historical and cultural contexts.

The module will familiarise you with Renaissance drama's negotiation of contested social and political issues at the turn of the 17th century. You will investigate the social processes of the theatre - notably the playhouses used by Shakespeare's company (the Theatre, the Globe and Blackfriars) - and focus on the interplay of Shakespearean texts and their performance in the production of meaning.

Statues to Saints: The Art of Late Antiquity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module examines the world of Late Antiquity as it moves from paganism to Christianity. You will use art to explore how values and beliefs are transformed in this period and how this transition affects society on every level. You will focus on the interaction of art and ideology, and how art not only reflects the changing ideology of a society but also influences that change.

Late Antiquity is the period in which Classical Greek and Roman culture becomes moulded into a Christian model, a model on which our perceptions of the Classical world are based. The range and variety of art surviving from the period bears witness to the intricacies of the ancient world.

The Arts and Literature of Satire

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module takes you through some of the major developments from the birth of literary satire in the works of Horace and Juvenal, to the survival of satire in literature and the visual arts. You will become familiar with some of the basic concepts central to the workings of satire: including parody, burlesque, mimicry, travesty, comedy and humour, and laughter. The module will also maintain a focus upon the interaction of visual and verbal satire. Some of the later seminars are consequently devoted to a consideration of the operations of semiotics, symbolism and visual narrative. The major figures of 18th- and 19th-century literary satire (Dryden, Pope, Swift, Hone, Byron) will consequently be studied alongside the giants of print satire (Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank). The emphasis throughout is interdisciplinary and will enable you to develop basic skills in the areas of aesthetics and cultural history, as well as strategies for discussing the operations of genre and narrative in the context of satire.

The Nineteenth-Century American Short Story

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module will be an in-depth examination of the nineteenth-century American short story. In the wake of Washington Irving’s influential 1820-1 The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., writers such as Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville quickly developed the short story into a potent and enduring American literary form.

In addition to these writers, we will read a wide range of authors who used the genre:

  • to creatively examine the nation’s colonial past and to articulate new possibilities for American individual and collective identity
  • to question the often violent exclusion of women, African Americans, Native Americans and immigrants from public life
  • to end slavery and improve working conditions
  • to describe the alienation of urban and frontier life
  • to confront the demands of industrialization and mass culture
  • to orient themselves within intellectual terrain shaken by new movements in philosophy, religion and science.

At the same time, we will pay close attention to how these writers cultivated the art of the short story itself. They undertook bold stylistic experiments in narrative form, characterization, and tone, accented their work with words from foreign languages or regional dialects, wrote with journalistic clarity or created densely allusive arabesques. They often became the sharpest theoreticians and critics of the genre in their essays and reviews. In short, whether these writers sought to educate their readers concerning social inequities, to horrify or to titillate them, they opened new, dynamic possibilities for the short story within a growing nation and an emerging literary marketplace.

The Novel

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the complex history of the novel as a form, from the 17th century to the modern period. The aim of the module is to describe the development of different traditions of novel writing, examine innovations to the novel as a form made since the 17th century, place the English novel in the context of the European novel, and introduce you to a range of important discussions about the novel as a genre, its audiences, its cultural functions and its relation to the social world. Novelists discussed will include Aphra Behn, Madame de Lafayette, Daniel Defoe, Johann Goethe, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Henry James, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. At the end of the module, you will be able to  understand and apply the concept of genre in literary analysis; think creatively and critically about the ways in which specific generic conventions have been used in the novels you are reading; and synthesise formal, cultural and historical levels of analysis.

Transatlantic Rhetoric: Public Speech and Anglo-American Writing 1750-1900

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module explores the role that practices and ideas of rhetoric played in the development of literary expression in Britain and the US during the long nineteenth century.

The aims of this comparative transatlantic module are twofold. First, to develop an awareness of the importance of rhetoric as both concept and practice in the literary and cultural imagination of the period. Second, to train you in the skills of practical rhetorical analysis, through a range of assessed class and take-home close-reading assignments.

Organised chronologically, it explores a range of literary and non-literary texts to consider how ideas about persuasion, plain style and verbal ornamentation offer a unique linguistic means of thinking about the cultural, theological and political history of this period. The fortunes of rhetoric, we will discover, tell us a great deal about the character of cultural and literary change.

Authors that will be covered will include: Addison; Pope; Franklin; Wordsworth; Jefferson; Brockden Brown; Carlyle; Emerson; Eliot; Dickens; Douglass; Whitman; Disraeli; Twain; Tennyson; Wilde. Topics for discussion and analysis will include: rhetorical poetics; republicanism and nationalism; classical form; speech and oratory; rhetoric and gender; the rhetoric of theology; rhetoric and commerce; rhetorical dialogue and the novel; the rhetoric of reform and revolution.

These texts will be accompanied each week by a set of theoretical readings that take us from classical (Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian) and early modern texts relevant to our period (Erasmus, Bacon); through the Scottish Enlightenment (Blair, Campbell); nineteenth century (Adams, Webster); to twentieth century rhetorical criticism (Burke, Richards, McLuhan, Whitman) and theory (Barthes, Jakobson, Derrida, Vickers).

Throughout this module, we will focus closely on a number of central questions. What is rhetoric and why? What is its relation to language and literary change? What role does it have in nationalism? What does it mean to think of literary texts as 'rhetorical'? What is at stake in 'rhetorical analysis'?

Victorian Things

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module reads Victorian literature through the lens of material objects. From toys, to textiles, to wax flowers, to industrial machinery—the material culture of the Victorian period was incomparably rich.

What formal and generic strategies did writers find for depicting this plethora of objects? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of the various scholarly methodologies that use things to tell us about literature and culture?

The module also investigates the book itself as a material object, via hands-on archival sessions using Sussex’s Special Collections. Central themes include realism, childhood, consumerism and the commodity, femininity, collecting, and empire.

Victorian Visions: Art, Industry, Modernity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module takes as its themes: artistic identities and the art market; the global relations of culture and the representation of the body and of difference. You will consider a wide range of images of modern life in paint and in print, including urban and rural spaces, domesticity, work and leisure, and explore critical interpretations of the subject.

Word & Image

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Writing Poetry

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module is a seminar and workshop for aspiring poets. You will read poetry and essays in preparation for class, but the chief activity will be original creative work. Everyone will be asked to write a poem per week, and to circulate the poem online to the whole group in advance of class.

Seminars will comprise a short introductory discussion of a set text, followed by a more extended discussion of your own work and the work of other students. For the purposes of this module, lively and respectful participation in group discussion is an essential part of our work, and you will be assessed partly on the basis of your generosity of attention to other students' work. By the end of the semester, everyone on the course will have produced a short collection of poems, with the benefit of regular critical attention from fellow students and from the tutor.

The module will conclude with a public poetry reading event on campus in which all students will be invited to participate.

Album to Algorithm: Photography in Context

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the place of photography in American and Western European culture from the medium's invention in the 1830s to the present. It pays particular attention to the relationship between photography as art and its applications within mass culture. We consider the different contexts in which photographs are encountered and how these affect issues of status and meaning, along with the impact of technological changes upon the production and dissemination of photographic images. We also examine how historic photographic traditions have been extended and disrupted by more recent practices.

Art and Letters: Visual Culture in its Literary Contexts

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module takes an interdisciplinary perspective on the links between visual and literary imaginations. Depending on the tutor, the module may look at any one of a variety of periods from the medieval to the 21st century. A typical module may focus on the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, in one of the great capitals of Modernist experimentation - London. The presence of international artists and writers such as Henry James, John Singer Sargent, Ezra Pound and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska will be examined, as well as the distinctive developments in painting and writing around the Bloomsbury Group, the Vorticists, the Camden Town Group and the London Surrealists.

Capital Culture: Money, Commerce and Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module offers you the opportunity to explore the interconnections between literature and commercial capitalism in a wide variety of literary and other texts drawn largely, but not exclusively, from the period 1710-1820, which saw the rise of modern capitalism. The module traces the responses of writers to the emergence of modern commercial society including the celebration of trade and empire, concerns about social change, the representation of labour and the critique of capitalism from Romantic poets and other writers. Topics addressed include the commodity and the fetish; property and the 'it-narrative'; labour, literary labour, and idleness; slavery; sex and money; consumption and consumerism; the role of art and the artist in commercial society; and different ideas of value (economic and aesthetic). Texts studied will include visual art, alongside novels, poetry, short stories, autobiography, journalism, essays and economic writings. Short extracts from the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx will provide theoretical perspectives.

City of Dreams: Florence 1400-1500

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In Rome at the beginning of the 16th century Popes Julius II and Leo X, their courtiers and followers commissioned buildings, paintings and sculpture that politically argued the power of the Papacy and artistically sought to rival the achievements of the ancients. You will examine some of the major projects of the time, looking at the intellectual rationale for these works and their relationship to the contemporary discoveries of the fabric of the ancient city.

Commemorative Art: Images, Monuments, Memory

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you deal with a theme - commemorative art - which you explore in a variety of different contexts and over an extended period.

Your studies move freely between cultures and periods, working towards the final dissertation and the assessed presentation for this module - and responding to your own individual interests and to the availability of primary and secondary material. You're encouraged to consider the many and varied resources in these subject areas that are available in local and national collections.

In this module, you consider the relationship of monuments and memory from a number of perspectives, such as:

  • genres and hierarchies within art-historical discourse
  • the roles of mourning and commemoration within the contexts of theology and sociology
  • varied anthropological accounts.

Documentary America: Non-Fiction Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

You explore the development of iconic non-fiction American literature and compare it to other forms of documentary such as film and photography, from the 19th and 20th century. 

You look at the style, content and circulation of non-fictional forms and examine their relationship within wider discourses of cultural, social and political representation in America.

 

Experimental Writing

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module considers why and how writers produce new forms. We will explore the historical and current uses of a variety of names for writing that defies generic expectations ('innovative', 'avant-garde', 'experimental', 'difficult' and 'cross-genre' to name a few).

You are required to read a wide range of exemplary texts (likely but not necessarily chosen from the modern and contemporary periods) that eschew easy generic categorisation. A particular theme or problem may be selected by the tutor each year (e.g. cross-genre writing, innovative poetics, documentary writing orspeculative fiction). Readings might include work by Walter Benjamin, Andrea Brady, Anne Carson, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Renee Gladman, Bernadette Mayer, Fred Moten, Harryette Mullen, Maggie Nelson, Raymond Queneau, Charles Resnikoff, Sophie Robinson, Fran Ross, Muriel Rukeyser and Monique Wittig.

Critical inquiry will focus on the effects of formal techniques within specific literary historical and social contexts. You will also develop your own writing and up to 50% of class time may be devoted to workshopping student work. As a writer you may be asked to identify the tensions or contradictions that animate your writing and to work up in structured, experimental or procedural fashion a set of formal mechanisms for reframing these tensions.

The module will help you to bring creative writing and critical practice together in order to best navigate your aims and objectives for writing. Final assessment will involve a critical/creative dissertation of 6,000 words.

Inhuman Bondage: the Image of Slavery 1750-1850

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you focus on the impact of slavery and the slave trade on western visual culture - until recently, a subject little considered in art-historical scholarship.

You consider not only the iconography of slavery and the representation of enslaved Africans and slave plantations, but also how the ideologies of slavery infused the commercial society that was the context for artistic production - to what extent were art and aesthetics directly or indirectly implicated in the slave trade?

The role of visual imagery in the campaign for the abolition of the slave trade in the late 18th century is of central concern to this module.

You look at a wide variety of visual culture, not just works of 'fine' art, but also prints, textiles, applied and decorative arts, and furniture, to assess the significance of this conventionally overlooked, but important and problematic subject.

Islam, Literature and the 'West'

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In both domestic and international contemporary politics, few issues are more urgent than the widely perceived 'clash' between the ideologies of Western European capitalism and Islamic radicalism. This module will offer you the opportunity to examine in detail the shifting terms in which the encounter between a Christian 'West' and an Islamic 'East' has been conducted in predominantly English literatures, from the rhetoric of the early crusades to the present day.

Covering a broad range of texts and genres, and including some journalism and film, emphasis will be placed upon:

  • concepts of Holy War
  • Islam on the early modern English stage
  • the emerging study of the 'Orient' in the 17th century and the first English Qur'an
  • Enlightenment fantasies of the 'East' and Muhammad
  • the Romantics and the 'East'
  • the Rushdie 'Affair'
  • and more recent developments of this encounter both before and after 11 September 2001.

Mediterranean Fantasies: Revivals and Utopias, 1919-1939

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Queer Literatures

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Sex and the City: The Origins of Modernism in Britain 1870-1910

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you consider the techniques and materials of art produced during the late 19th and early 20th century, in addition to issues around the role of the academic system and other institutions in artistic practice.

The fundamental concern is to examine art and modernity in its context - not just the artworks themselves but the construction of a cultural discourse around art and art history.

You explore topics ranging from artistic identities and the art market to inter-cultural relations and critical interpretations of the subject.

The movements you cover may include:

  • late Pre-Raphaelitism
  • Aestheticism
  • Realism
  • Impressionism
  • Postimpressionism
  • the Symbolist movement
  • Expressionism
  • Art Nouveau.

Special Author(s): Emerson and Thoreau

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module will examine the works of two nineteenth-century American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, through a close reading of a selection of their major published writings, lectures, letters, and journals.

We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues that animate their work: religion and philosophy, friendship and love, politics and slavery, scientific knowledge and ecology, aesthetics and poetics, form and representation, women's rights and native American culture.

Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Emerson and Thoreau's work has been appropriated by nineteenth-century contemporaries such as Margaret Fuller, Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche, or William James, by American culture at large, as well as by recent literary critics and philosophers such as Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, Sharon Cameron, Jane Bennett, Branka Arsic, or Jacques Rancière.

Special Author(s): Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid and the Postcolonial Caribbean

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module introduces you to the literature of the Caribbean and its diaspora and to some key cultural debates in Caribbean, postcolonial and feminist literary discourses through reading the work of Jean Rhys and Jamaica Kincaid, two of the most prominent women writers from the Caribbean.

The module addresses issues such as:

  • race and literary constructions of the nation
  • authenticity, orality and questions of voice
  • gender, sexuality and resistance
  • home and belonging
  • servants and madams
  • life writing
  • reception and literary reputations
  • questions of literary belonging and cultural identity
  • and writing and authorship after colonialism.

The selection of texts includes: Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, Voyage in the Dark, Tigers Are Better Looking, and Smile Please; and Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, Autobiography of My Mother, My Brother, Mr Potter, and Talk Story.

 

Special Author: Charles Dickens

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module will explore a range of Dickens's work from his early writing to his final uncompleted novel, and will include discussion of his journalism and short stories as well as the well-known novels.

We will look at the development of his career as the most successful and popular novelist of his generation, who used his writing to investigate and actively participate in a wide range of contemporary issues and debates about society and the self between the 1830s and 1870. These include:

  • the nature of modern society – particularly the city
  • the relationships between social classes and between the underworld and dominant forms of power
  • the family as both a social institution and a psychological space
  • the representation of childhood and femininity
  • notions of identity
  • and the relationship between 'normal' and 'abnormal', conscious and unconscious mental states.

We will explore Dickens's use and transformation of particular genres and conventions – fairy tales, ghost stories, gothic fiction, detective fiction and grotesque and documentary realism – discussing how his shifting narrative forms and methods relate to the social and psychological themes of his work.

Special Author: Christopher Marlowe

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Variously demonised and celebrated as an atheist, sodomite, spy, poetic innovator and dramatic phenomenon, ­and violently killed at the age of 29, ­ Christopher Marlowe and his work still have the power to shock and surprise in the 21st century.

This module will offer the opportunity to explore his extraordinary poetry and drama in its entirety, from his remarkable debut on the professional stage with Tamburlaine, to his invention of the English history play with Edward II, to his development of Ovidian narrative verse and the lyric in English (and their erotic preoccupations).

Exploring the career of this poet and playwright alongside the contexts, content and form of the work he produced, this module will offer a chance to consider in detail this 'most enigmatic genius of the English literary Renaissance'.

Special Author: Edgar Allan Poe

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module will examine the works of the 19th century American writer Edgar Allan Poe in terms of cultural and intellectual history. During this module we will read a wide selection of Poe's short fiction, poetry and criticism in order to explore his place within the 19 century literary world and life of the mind and his subsequent role in American and global culture. We will pay detailed attention to a number of critical and interdisciplinary issues, which animate his work including the senses, the gothic, detection, terror and race. Our readings will be punctuated by considerations of how Poe has been appropriated both by the culture at large and by recent literary critics and philosophers such as DH Lawrence, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, John Carlos Rowe and Liahna Armstrong.

Special Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

It is almost impossible to understand English literature without an understanding of Chaucer. His works provide us with a range of subjects, modes of literary representation and styles that not only enable us to understand literary culture in the late Middle Ages but determine the subsequent course of English literature. In Dryden's inaugural work of literary history The Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700) Chaucer is described as the father of English poetry. It is his soul that is 'transfused' into Spenser, Spenser's into Milton and so on and it is with his poetry that the refinement of English language begins.

This module will explore some of the great works of Chaucer in depth looking at a broad spectrum of the tales making up The Canterbury Tales, several of his dream vision poems as well as some of his ballads and lyrics. It will also consider the place of Chaucer in literary history and the formation of the Chaucerian canon, as well as something of the fragility and instability of that canon. A variety of themes and subjects will be explored: marriage, gender and sexual relations; fate and foreknowledge; dreams and their significance; Chaucer's literary theory; ideas of authority and authorship; and religion and the nature of religious experience in the late 14th century. 

In addition to a weekly seminar there will be four lectures given across the module on 'Authority', 'Agency', 'Dream' and 'Text and Canon', which will introduce some of the key contexts for understanding Chaucer's works. As part of this module we will visit Canterbury (the destination of Chaucer's pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales), where you will be given a guided tour. You will learn how a medieval city was organised; the nature of everyday life in the Middle Ages; the significance of religion, religious buildings and institutions, all of which will aid your understanding of Chaucer's place in the English Middle Ages.

You will develop competence in reading and analysing Middle English. Support will be offered in acquiring and developing the basic skills needed to do this through a reading group that will meet for five workshops across the module.

Special Author: George Eliot

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Special Author: Henry James

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Henry James is an author who exists on many borderlines: an American who lived and worked in Europe for much of his adult life, an author who is claimed both as a Victorian and a Modern; a famously reticent and opaque writer whose main topics are sex and money, and who has recently been claimed as an important queer author.

In this module you will read a cross section of James's novels, short stories and essays including The American (1877), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), The Ambassadors (1903), 'Daisy Miller' (1878), What Maisie Knew (1897) and other works. We will discuss James as an American author and as a documenter of American-European relations, as a stylist, as a psychological writer and as a proto-Modernist. We will think about James in relation to his historical context (as subtle documenter of the American scene and as ex-patriate), and also look at his work in relation to his fascinating family (the philosopher and psychologist William James was Henry's older brother). We will think hard about the difficulty of James's late style. We will consider recent critical work on James in feminist and queer studies, and his influence on 20th and 21st century literary culture through films of his work such as The Wings of a Dove (1997) or The Golden Bowl (2000).

Special Author: J.M. Coetzee

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module will explore the fiction and essays of the Nobel-Prize winning South African writer J.M. Coetzee. It will consider a range of his work, from the early Dusklands to the most recent The Childhood of Jesus in relation to the particular socio-historical and cultural contexts in which it has been produced and consumed. You will explore his writing by attending to the specific conditions of and discourses associated with Apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa. In addition, we will discuss Coetzee's subsequent emigration to Australia and how this may have affected his literary output. These speculations will resonate with longstanding debates concerning the 'ethics' of his writing and our reading of it.

Whilst the module will foreground Coetzee's fiction you will also engage with his non-fictional work including essays, which cover everything from the role of sport in contemporary South Africa to the particularities of literary censorship under Apartheid. Given the density and complexity of Coetzee's writing this module will have a substantial theoretical component, drawing on some of the most pioneering work being conducted in contemporary South African literary studies as well as postcolonial theory more broadly. This will enable us to address the problematic question of whether it is appropriate to define Coetzee as a postcolonial writer.

Special Author: James Joyce

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Joyce is a pre-eminent figure in modernist writing, and in twentieth-century Irish culture. This module considers his entire prose oeuvre, addressing its formal and generic originality and its thematic engagements with language, nation and history, and encouraging you to reflect on the connections between these aspects.

We begin by considering the place and time of Joyce's youth in Ireland as depicted in Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. A particular focus will be on how these texts represent and inscribe authorship, which is marked by and registers its formative context, but which also imagines the possibility of escape. The central weeks of the module are devoted to a close reading of Ulysses, in which students will be encouraged to develop and articulate an informed personal response to textual detail, encompassing both formal and thematic dimensions. In these weeks we will refer to leading critical perspectives on Joyce, especially those of postcolonial and feminist critics, and consider how his work anticipates subsequent theoretical ideas about language and subjectivity.

The closing weeks of the module will include a seminar devoted to readings from Finnegans Wake, and an opportunity for you to share your work in progress towards the assessed essay.

Special Author: Mary Wollstonecraft

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module offers you the opportunity for in-depth study of the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, the influential writer and thinker who is widely regarded as the founder of modern feminism, as well as an important radical woman novelist. It will examine her novels Mary and The Wrongs of Woman and her travel writings, in addition to her famous polemical tracts, A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft's writing participated in the heated literary and political debates of her time and exerts from the writings of her contemporaries, including Mary Robinson's Letter to the Women of England, Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and Mary Hays' Appeal to the Men of Great Britain will also feature on the module to illuminate such contexts.

Topics addressed in seminars will include the debates over female conduct, sentiment and sensibility, political revolution, sex and love, marriage, female friendship, commerce and the Gothic. Particular attention will be paid to the debates over the novel in the 1790s and Wollstonecraft's fiction will be considered alongside works by other radical female novelists in this context. Wollstonecraft's unconventional life made her notorious in her own time. The fact that she was not married to the father of her daughter, Fanny, was exposed when she later married the radical philosopher William Godwin. The module concludes by considering the question of female reputation by addressing Wollstonecraft's afterlife in the various representations of her after her death, including the infamous memoirs written by Godwin, and in the Mrs Freke character in Maria Edgeworth's novel Belinda.

Special Author: Salman Rushdie

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Rushdie is a complex and challenging writer whose work not only intersects with, but actively influences and informs, a range of cultural and literary debates. Indeed, because his novels, stories and essays have consistently challenged the boundaries of culture, they have tended to generate polarised and often partisan critical responses. On this module, you will venture into the highly contested field of Rushdie criticism by evaluating his key literary texts using a variety of reading strategies and theoretical methodologies. For example, you will explore postmodernist debates on the construction of history and identity as well as postcolonial concerns with race, hybridity and political power. You will address core issues such as intertextuality, cinematic montage and narrative authority. And you will engage with wider cultural concerns relating to representation, performativity and documentation. These diverse critical perspectives will provide you with a sound knowledge of the social, cultural and political influences informing Rushdie’s work, and give you the analytical tools to develop your own lines of enquiry.

Special Author: Samuel Beckett

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Beckett's work lies in a bleak but utopian space between art and popular culture, at the heart of debates about modernist and postmodernist writing. The module reads Beckett's fictions and plays, and his work for theatre, radio, television and film in detail, and as a critique of approaches from Marx to the Marx Brothers.

Special Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you examine the literary works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, exploring how his poetry was influenced by politics and religion.

You study his:

  • proto-Marxist philosophy and how this influenced his Pantisocracy letters and poems
  • lectures on the slave trade delivered at Bristol
  • meditative poetry
  • gothic and opium-inspired writing
  • literary criticism and notebooks
  • final work of political philosophy - On the Constitution of Church and State. 

Special Author: Thomas Hardy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module explores the range of Hardy's work – novels, short fiction, poetry, plays and essays – in the light of late 19th-century culture and the emergence of modernism. You will explore topics such as Hardy's position as a writer and his shifting position in relation to forms of readership and literary production; his development of narrative and concepts of history and memory; his use of visual culture; the representation of social and economic change and the emergence of heritage; his representation of class, sexual difference and social mobility; his use of evolutionary theory and concepts of degeneration; and his position as a poet in the early 20th century.

Special Author: Virginia Woolf

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module concentrates on the work of one of the best-known and most widely-read women writers of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf. Most students will already have encountered Woolf's work in your Year 2 modules; it is also very likely that you will come to the module with some knowledge of Woolf's life and that of her friends and family. This module will deepen your knowledge and understanding of Woolf's work, both in its historical context and in terms of the kind of conceptual and theoretical questions that her work raises. The module is designed to challenge what you think you already know about Woolf, and the kinds of preconceptions that readers often bring to Woolf and her work, and whether those are positive or negative. You think you may know who Virginia Woolf was, or what she wrote, but what about Virginia Stephen? What would happen if you stopped reading Woolf as a modernist and a woman writer? What other conceptual or historical frames could illuminate her work in new ways? What does Woolf have to do with the development of cinema, or the history of photography and the visual arts?

These are some of the questions that the module will address and encourage you to pursue through independent study. At the end of the module, you will: have read most of Woolf's novels and sampled some of her writing in other genres; have familiarised yourself with the history of the reception of that work; have learnt to challenge your own preconceptions about her work and its historical and conceptual contexts; and have learnt how to devise, structure, pursue and realise an independent research project, following detailed advice from your module tutor.

Special Author: Vladimir Nabokov

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

It is the major aim of this module to give you a deep understanding of the entire range of Nabokov's creative output and to place Lolita fairly and squarely within the context of Nabokov's remarkable achievements across a whole range of experimental writing. Vladimir Nabokov's popular celebrity rests upon what is generally regarded as his greatest as well as his most controversial, not to say scurrilous, novel Lolita. This peculiar work deserves its literary celebrity but Nabokov's oeuvre remains in danger of being obscured and deformed by an over emphasis upon a single novel. The vast and continuing fallout of Lolita in popular culture including films, graphic novels, pornography and even niche teen-marketing in the areas of fashion (those sunglasses!) and music continue to make a full understanding of Nabokov's literary genius difficult and problematic.

Nabokov not only wrote many other great novels, he was also a formal experimentalist who produced screenplays, drama and a substantial body of shorter fictions including novellas and short stories. He was a committed poet, a translator and literary scholar of genius. We shall be examining the full range of his poetic output, which will involve consideration not only of the material formally published as poetry but Nabokov's remarkable abilities to conflate and to parody poetic forms in the fiction. Pale Fire for example is a novel in the form of an extended commentary upon a long initial poem and of course the ritualised punishment of Quilty at the end of Lolita is focused on and extended parody of Eliot's The Hollow Men which Humbert makes Quilty read aloud. We shall also be considering Nabokov's quirky but superb translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. The module will also encourage you to think about the manner in which Nabokov's work has been translated into forms of popular culture including film, drama, advertising and visual art. We shall also be thinking about the exploitation of Nabokov's work as pornography in the popular market place.

Special Author: William Blake

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

As one of the most idiosyncratic writers and artists in British history William Blake has had an outstanding influence on global creative cultures today. In this module you will read many of Blake's illuminated books learning about your experimental material form and how they emerged from the literary and visual cultures of late 18th century London. You will have the chance to examine Blake's original illuminations in the British Museum. We will consider the creative contributions made by Catherine Blake (married to William) and the challenges to researchers of interpreting this collaboration. In the second half of the module we discuss the reception of Blake exploring his influence on later writers and artists from popular culture to experimental literature. This is likely to include poetry by Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg and Iain Sinclair, fiction by Philip Pullman, Alastair Gray and Angela Carter, a film directed by Jim Jarmusch and a graphic novel by Alan Moore. There will be a writing workshop in which you are invited to explore creative reception in practice (a creative-critical option will allow those who wish to develop this in the mid-term assessment).

Spectacular Imaginings: Renaissance Drama and the Stage 1580-1640

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module explores English Renaissance drama and its staging between the advent of the commercial theatres in London (circa 1580) and their closure during the early 1640s as a consequence of the English Civil War. This new module has been developed with, and will be co-taught by, scholars and theatre practitioners at London's Globe Theatre. The Globe's programme at both its new indoor Jacobean theatre (the Sam Wannamaker theatre) as well as its main outdoor theatre will form an important part of this module with you attending performances at both venues.

The module will focus on a selection of plays from this period exploring them in their original social, cultural and aesthetic contexts. It will also reflect upon why plays from this era are so frequently and successfully re-produced for the modern stage and screen. What roles did theatre play in London during the Renaissance and why was England virtually unique in Europe (Spain is the only counterpart) in creating a large-scale commercial theatre that generated a vast corpus of new plays? The module examines many of the most significant themes with which this theatre engages, among them unruly sexualities (incest, adultery and rape); violence and eloquence; London and city commerce; domestic tragedy; marriage and divorce; the place of the court; the foreign and the exotic; and the supernatural. It considers the roles of genre, acting styles, theatre companies, star actors, boy players, audiences and the varying physical spaces of the theatres in mediating these themes.

You will have access to the unique Globe archives when researching your dissertation project. Four of the plays will be determined by the Globe's season (including at least one by Shakespeare). The tragedies, comedies, histories and tragi-comedies studied will include works by Marlowe, Webster, Ford, Middleton, Dekker, Beaumont and Fletcher, Cary, Marston and Shakespeare.

Sussex Modernism

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This interdisciplinary module explores the different kinds of modernist experimentation that took place in Sussex during the 20th Century.

As well as examining literary works, you are encouraged to use archives, museums, galleries and the built environment as research resources. The course considers the legacies of modernism – the extent to which it continues in literary/artistic culture, and how it is presented by the culture industry today.

An examination of critical theory (ideas of place and space, for instance) accompanies an analysis of the category ‘Sussex Modernism’. Comparisons are also made with modernist work related to other regions and localities.

Technologies of Capture: Photography and Nineteenth Century Literature

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The photographic image is ubiquitous, its presence has morphed into many 21st century cultural manifestations. Most obviously, in digital form, the photograph has become a staple of social networking sites and other visual modes of communication. Yet at its invention in 1839, the status and future of photography was far from clear-cut. Known as 'the black art from France' owing to its miraculous transcription of the visual world photography was frequently aligned with magic. Indeed, owing to its causal connection to its referent, a photograph had the status of an imprint as well as an image. People also delighted in seeing themselves the right way round as the photograph corrected the lateral inversion of the familiar mirror image. At the other end of the spectrum, however, photography's 'birth' was considered by some enough to bring about the 'death' of painting. In the nineteenth century, the presence of the camera radically affected major social, aesthetic and philosophical categories. 

While photographs revolutionised representation, their relationship to existing visual and verbal forms was rich and complex and raised many questions. What did it mean to speak about literary 'realism' in the context of Fox-Talbot's new negative/positive process? How did post-mortem photographs affect literary portrayals of death and the spirit world? What was the impact upon Victorian institutions such as the asylum of the new genre of the photographic 'mug-shot'? What form of translation occurred when a two-dimensional photograph recorded the three-dimensional form of sculpture? This module explores the emergence and development of the photographic medium in relationship to a range of literary texts. Beginning with the 'pre-history' of photography as manifest in a range of optical toys, gadgets and visual spectacles it traces the emergence of various photographic forms as they intersect with literary ones. You have the opportunity to engage, in the context of 19th century fiction, poetry and non-fictional prose, fascinating material and conceptual changes that occur in the wake of the advent and popularisation of photography. 

Topics for discussion include: the Picturesque; photographing sculpture (the case of the Parthenon Marbles); Pre-Raphaelitism; post-mortem photographs; spirit photography; photography and science; collecting and cartes de visite; the camera in colonial encounters; photography and disciplinary institutions; detective fiction; and photographing children. 


No prior experience of photography or other visual media is required simply a readiness to engage visual technologies and images in addition to literary texts.

The Literatures of Africa

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will sample the literary and intellectual work of a range of African authors: some writers endorse the concept of 'African identity' in their work and explore hard-hitting topics such as slavery, (post)colonial history and political corruption; other authors question the idea of 'Africa' itself and challenge unified identities; other writers bypass continental models and focus on more mundane but equally significant topics such as family life, gender identity, urbanisation and migration.

Current debates about African identity, postcolonialism, homosexuality, the 'Black Atlantic' and African cultural history will be studied alongside the primary texts, and emphasis will be placed upon the different political and cultural contexts of the material. We will look at the ways in which the selected authors construct a locale in their texts to explore geographical and cultural difference, as well as questions of sexual, economic and political power.

Topics to be considered include the following: 

  • nationalism and cultural identity
  • writing the body, sexual identities and gender subversion
  • African oral cultures and art forms 
  • cultural flows within African-defined spaces
  • the literary representations of migration, displacement and diaspora
  • the literature of post-Apartheid South Africa.

Canonical novels from Africa, such as Ngugi wa Thiongo's The River Between and Bessie Head's A Question of Power will be studied alongside poems and novels by new African writers and black British writers. Taken together, the authors on this module will reveal the multiple, dynamic languages and styles of modern African writers.

The Order of Things: The Museum and its Objects

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module uses the expertise of a specialist from one of the national museums, who will be present as part of an academic exchange. Currently, the exchange is with the Victoria and Albert Museum, but it may include specialists from other museums in future years.

The focus of this module is on a particular body of material drawn from the collection of the museum, dating from a specific time and place. This is employed as a basis for you to study issues in museology and museum history, as well as in art history and the history of culture.

You will undertake some general reading in the history of museums and debates in museology. Further reading is provided by the specialist in the field addressed.

The Uncanny

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The uncanny is difficult to define: it is mysterious, eerie, at once strange and familiar. It offers especially productive possibilities for exploring issues of identity and liminality, boundaries and interdisciplinarity. This module will engage with the uncanny across a wide range of texts and contexts, extending from literature (novels, short stories, drama and poetry) to film. Discussion will focus on a number of linked topics, including repetition, doubles, strange coincidences, animism, live burial, telepathy, death and laughter. 

The module aims to develop your engagement with the notion of the uncanny across a broad range of literary and other texts; to develop your skills of reading and critical analysis, especially insofar as the uncanny by its nature engenders intellectual uncertainty and calls for an unusual critical patience; to enhance your capacity for critical reflection on their experience of the familiar and the strange, the ordinary and the extraordinary.

The World Encompassed: Art and Empire

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module consists of an in-depth consideration of the visual arts in relation to imperialism. It will thus pick up on Edward Said's important intervention in proposing a critical relation between 'culture and imperialism'. This module will look at the ways in which the visual arts were influenced and informed by the material processes and ideologies of empire – from imperial/colonial war to architectural settlement. It will consider not just how artists reacted, referred to and exploited empire in their work (by, for example, taking the opportunity to cultivate new markets in newly colonised territories), but how empire was represented to domestic audiences and informed visual and aesthetic dismodule.

Utopias and Dystopias

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module explores the production of utopian and dystopian fictions from the 16th century (Thomas More's publication in 1516 of Utopia) to the present day. It examines the production of utopian images and thought in a number of specific cultural and historical contexts. These include:

  • the 16th-century context in which More originally developed the concept of utopia
  • the production in the 18th century of utopian and dystopian responses to the enlightenment (particularly those of Swift and Voltaire)
  • the 19th-century utopian tradition in the US (Hawthorne, Thoreau)
  • the explosion of utopian thinking at the end of the 19th century (with writers such as Bellamy, Wells and Morris)
  • the relationship between modernism and utopia (particularly in relation to Woolf and Kafka)
  • the growth of dystopian responses to modernity in the 1930s and '40s (Orwell, Huxley)
  • the importance of utopian thinking in relation to feminism, from Sarah Scott to Wollstonecraft to Shelley to Atwood
  • and the shifting role of utopian and dystopian thinking in marshalling the political possibilities of literature from the '60s to the present day (from Beckett to Cormac McCarthy).

Throughout this wide-ranging module, we will focus closely on a number of central questions:

  • How far is it possible for literary works to imagine a better or a perfect world?
  • How far is it possible for such imaginings to effect actual social change?
  • Are utopian fantasies politically regressive, an opiate to distract us from material social inequality?
  • What is the role of dystopian thinking?
  • Does dystopian fiction contradict utopian thought forms, or can dystopian writing produce utopian possibilities?
  • What is the relationship between utopian thinking and hope?
  • Is there a theological dimension to utopian thought?
  • What is the relation between science and utopia?

In addressing these questions, the module will offer a means of thinking broadly but rigorously about the role of literature in transforming social conditions, and making the world a better place.

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