Literature, Politics and Culture in Postwar Britain (Q3307)

30 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

How do literature and other cultural products (the visual arts, film, and architecture, for instance) respond to the immense transformations of the post-war period? How did writers and artists reflect on the violence of the Second World War and the ongoing threat of nuclear war and totalitarian domination?

Indicative topics include:

  • the establishment of the welfare state (including the postwar university)
  • responses to decolonisation and immigration
  • ideas about motherhood and masculinity, class and Communism
  • youth subcultures and the influence of America. 

We will examine literature’s engagement with politics, philosophy, psychoanalysis and popular culture, and will also explore the complex legacies of modernism.

While this is a historical module, we will reflect on the debates of the post-war period as they influence our contemporary political and cultural discussions.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 40 hours of contact time and about 260 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: