Science and Literature (Q3279)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

Today, science and literature are often imagined as opposites, but what if we approached them as overlapping activities?

This module explores how literary texts have engaged with science throughout history, and how the tools of literary analysis can help us to examine science as a realm of narratives, imagery and rhetoric.

We will consider how literary modes and genres such as realism, utopia and even gothic horror developed in dialogue with scientific knowledge and practices.

We will also analyse the language and ideology of key scientific voices such as Francis Bacon and Charles Darwin.

We will ask, how does imaginative literature explore and critique the power dynamics of technocracy and Enlightenment ideals of ‘progress’?

The reading may range from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first and include such authors as Voltaire, George Eliot, H.G. Wells, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Margaret Atwood.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Presentation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: