Major Writers in English Literature

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
24 May 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V31B Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V350 Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA W808 Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA W408 Drama (Including Foundation Year),
BA WQ28 Drama and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA T728 English and United States Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q320 English Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA PW88 Film and Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA W628 Film Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA PQ38 Film Studies and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA QW38 Literature and Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q218 English and Comparative Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA P403 Film and Drama (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module aims to introduce students to a selected number of texts ranging from Shakespeare to the contemporary period. Students who complete the module successfully will gain a broad overview of some of the major movements in literature written in English over the last half millennium. The historical context of the texts will also be considered, as well the individual concerns of each writer. Texts will be as representative as possible and will include drama, poetry and prose fiction.

Some major works will be studied in detail, giving students a chance to deepen their approach to literature by describing, analysing and reflecting on the work in question. This will be done both in class during discussions and close readings, and at length in their written assignments. An important aspect of the module lies in the vocabulary used to discuss and describe literature, and students will be encouraged to become familiar with using key terms accurately and appropriately in their work.

Module aims

The module aims:

1. To encourage students to develop interest and enjoyment in literary studies

2. To develop students' understanding of works in different genres, from different periods

3. To provide students with the opportunity to explore the relationship between literary form and expression

4. To enable students to think about the importance of the historical, literary and philosophical contexts of the text

5. To encourage students to express their responses effectively and with appropriate terminology

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be expected to be able to:

1. Communicate clearly the knowledge, understanding and insight appropriate to literary study, using appropriate terminology and accurate and coherent written or oral expression.

2. Evaluate the significance of cultural, historical and other contextual influences on literary texts being studied.

3. Show detailed understanding of the ways in which writers' choice of form, structure and language shape meanings.

4. Engage fully with the study of literature through the taking of lecture notes, participation in class discussion and the undertaking of independent study.

5. Analyse assignment questions, and research and construct a response using appropriate terminology, and in suitably academic register.

6. Analyse exam questions and formulate an appropriate response using appropriate terminology, and in suitably academic register.

7. Articulate independent opinions and judgements on the texts being studied in order to present information to a wider audience.

8. Reference all reading sources correctly, and to construct an accompanying bibliography.

Module information


Autumn term:
Vocabulary of Drama
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night or The Tempest
Shaw's Pygmalion
Vocabulary of Poetry
Introduction to Romanticism: Burns, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Wordsworth
World War I poetry: Owen, Rosenberg, Sassoon, Thomas
Comparisons with Modern Poetry: Heaney, Hughes, Larkin, Plath

Spring term:
Vocabulary of Prose Fiction
Background to the Novel
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
Modern and contemporary short stories: Angela Carter, Raymond Carver, Roald Dahl, Alasdair Gray, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield
Contemporary poetry: Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Kathleen Jamie, Paul Muldoon, Daljit Nagra, Alice Oswald
Performance Poetry: Patience Agbabi, John Cooper Clarke, Luke Wright, Benjamin Zephaniah

Summer term:
Revision and exam preparation


Formative assessment
In the Autumn Term the students watch a DVD version of one of the set texts, Twelfth Night (this version of the play is also available online). The students are then invited to write a review of the performance and compare it with their own reading of the play. These reviews are sent to the Module Leader by e-mail and feedback is provided.

Summative assessment
Coursework will be comprised of:

Autumn Term:
- A close-reading, open book exercise of one hour (7.5%) in week 9

Spring Term:
- A written assignment of 1,500 words (15%)
- An audio-visual Project Presentation of approximately 15 minutes, with a portfolio component of 1,000 words (22.5%).
- Participation mark (5%)

End of year three-hour examination (50%): three essay questions based on the texts covered over the duration of the module

Reassessment strategy

Failed Exam
Resit the exam which is re-aggregated with existing coursework mark to create a new module aggregate.

Failed Coursework
Resubmit a piece of coursework (1,500 words) which is re-aggregated with existing exam mark to create a new module aggregate. The reassessment task will replace the coursework component and will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.

Failed Exam and Coursework
Resit the exam and resubmit one piece of coursework (1,500 words) to be aggregated to create a new module aggregate.

Learning and teaching methods

The module will run over 22 weeks. Teaching takes place in the form of one one-hour lecture and three hours of seminar classes, offering preparation for and feedback from the formative and summative assessments. Students are expected to prepare thoroughly for and participate fully in seminar discussions. Students will also be expected to participate in a field trip either in the Autumn or Spring term. There will also be an opportunity for guided exam practice before the end of the year exam. This information will be made available on Moodle.

Learning support
Many of the shorter texts students are required to read can be provided by the lecturer, particularly when the text is difficult to get hold of or out of print. DVDs and recordings of relevant texts will also be available to the students to enhance their enjoyment and comprehension of the texts being studied. This is particularly relevant to the study of performance in drama and in performance poetry.


  • Wells, Stanley; Orlin, Lena Cowen. (2003) Shakespeare: an Oxford guide, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Shakespeare, William. (1949) Twelfth night: or, What you will, Cambridge: University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   IA111 - Participation    10% 
Coursework   IA111 - Essay 1,500 words    30% 
Coursework   IA111 - Project and Audio-Visual Presentation    45% 
Written Exam  IA111 - Close-reading exercise    15% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mrs Mandy Bannerman, email: mbanner@essex.ac.uk.
Mandy Bannerman
Becky Humphreys (becky.humphreys@essex.ac.uk or 01206 872217)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 716 hours, 200 (27.9%) hours available to students:
516 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Pathways

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