Crossing the Boundaries: Literature and Translation in a Global Context

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
30 August 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module explores the practice and theory of translating literary texts in a global context. We will discuss issues related to literary form and genre, analysing translations of epic and lyric poetry, prose fiction, and classical and modern drama. We will examine the changes in the cultural status of translation from the ancient times to the present, analysing ways in which translations have contributed to the dissemination and reception of texts.

The module considers literary translation as an act of crossing national borders and linguistic and cultural boundaries and an activity that allows diverse literary cultures to come into contact. We will explore literary translation in a global context, discussing historical moments in which literary texts and their translations originate, and focusing on the questions of power and ideology, feminism and gender, and cultural hegemony and postcolonialism. We will also focus on the political and philosophical debates that literary translations have provoked.

The module has no foreign language requirement. It is taught and assessed in English, and all texts are read in English translation. The module is open to students interested in literary translation, world literature, comparative literature, and exchanges between diverse literatures and cultures.

Module aims

1. To introduce students to different translation traditions and to examine works that demonstrate the impact of translation(s) on literary and cultural production
2. To explore the changes in the cultural status of literary translation from the ancient times to the present and to engage with key methodological issues related to literary translation
3. To familiarize students with major areas of scholarship in the field of translation studies
4. To equip students with advanced analytical and academic writing skills

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Analyse and reflect on translation practices in literature
2. Discuss the changing conceptions of literary translation in the context of specific historical moments
3. Articulate informed views about key primary sources and scholarship in the field of translation studies in an academically appropriate language
4. Develop academic written and oral skills through essay writing and in-class presentations

Module information

Please check Talis for the reading list and Moodle for additional course materials.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly 2-hour seminar


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

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Research essay OR literary translation portfolio (students choose ONE of these)    60% 
Coursework   Research Presentation Abstract    10% 
Coursework   Research Presentation (to take place in class)    25% 
Practical   Participation    5% 

Additional coursework information

1) Research essay (4,000 words) OR literary translation portfolio (min. 4,000 words) [students choose ONE of these] (70%) 2) Oral Presentation (25%) 3) Participation (5%)

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
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Joanna Rzepa, email:
Dr Joanna Rzepa
LiFTS General Office, email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Dr Will Norman
University of Kent
Reader in American Literature and Culture
Dr Lorna Burns
University of St Andrews
Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

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

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.