Major Writers in English Literature

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
25 May 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA T728 English and United States Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA QV2H Literature and Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA QV3B Literature and Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA V115 History and Drama (including Foundation Year),
LLB M1Q4 Law with Literature (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 aims of this module are:

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

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

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

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

  • 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 the literary texts being studied.

  3. Show a 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, research and construct a response using appropriate terminology, and in the suitable academic register.

  6. Analyse take-home exam questions and formulate an appropriate response using appropriate terminology, and in the suitable 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 construct an accompanying bibliography.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, students will have practised the following transferable skills:

  1. Discussions in small groups and the chance to exchange opinions on a range of issues as they may be suggested in each text studied. It is hoped this will build confidence as students are encouraged to participate fully.

  2. Time management: keeping up with weekly tasks and meeting assignment deadlines.

  3. IT skills relating to undertaking the tasks set, i.e. the reading requirements, watching of performances online, researching authors, production of assignments and so on.

  4. Elements of reflective practice are present in engaging with feedback and in the reflective essay component of the Spring Term final assignment. It is hoped that this will contribute to the building of the students’ own ‘growth mindset’.

Module information


  • Vocabulary of Drama.

  • Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

  • George Bernard 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.

  • Vocabulary of Prose Fiction.

  • Background to the Novel.

  • Andrea Levy Small Island.

  • Modern and contemporary short stories: Angela Carter, Raymond Carver, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith.

  • Contemporary poetry: Simon Armitage, Carol Ann Duffy, Kathleen Jamie, Daljit Nagra, Alice Oswald.

  • Performance Poetry: Patience Agbabi, John Cooper Clarke, Luke Wright, Benjamin Zephaniah, Lemn Sissay, Kae Tempest, George the Poet, Dave. that this will contribute to the building of the students’ own ‘growth mindset’.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour lecture per week.
  • One 2-hour seminar per week.
  • One 1-hour tutorial per week.

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offer students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competencies to study at the undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience. All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.

Some class time may be dedicated to watching texts in performance via Drama Online and BOB Learning On Screen, available through our Library website.

Students are expected to prepare thoroughly for and participate fully in seminar discussions. All class materials will be made available to students on Moodle, including assessment details, links to set reading, slides from the lecture and weekly task sheets with discussion questions. 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

The majority of the primary texts we study are widely available online, or through a link with the Essex University Library, TALIS Aspire. Access to 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. We will use resources such as Drama Online and BOB Learning On Screen. Students are offered one-to-one tutorials to support their preparation for assignments and to discuss feedback.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

  • In the Autumn Term, students will be asked to compile a Module Diary via Moodle. They will be asked to make weekly entries which reflect their engagement with the reading material and discussions in class, guided by set questions. Formative feedback will be given in weeks 5 and 8. Students will have a chance to edit previous entries before final submission for assessment in week 11.

Summative assessment

  • An online Module Diary (800-1,000 words). This will consist of a collection of weekly entries in a Journal in which students can reflect on their individual responses to the texts being studied.
  • An online audio-visual Project Presentation of approximately 15 minutes, with a portfolio component of 1,000 words. This will be pre-recorded by the student and submitted online via FASER.
  • A 3-hour in-person, open book (restricted) exam - 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 the existing coursework mark to create a new module mark.
  • Failed coursework - Resubmit a piece of coursework (1,500 words) which is re-aggregated with the existing exam mark to create a new module mark. 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 mark.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
60% 40%


Coursework Exam
60% 40%
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

Ms Linda Hurley
University of Southampton
Senior Teaching Fellow
Available via Moodle
Of 222 hours, 220 (99.1%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Pathways

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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