Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Literary Forms of Representation

Module summary

Module code: COML0001
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Henry Derbyshire


Pre and co requisites



• To introduce the major literary genres in the context of their cultural development.
• To familiarise students with the importance of artistic form and to enable them to engage with these genres in a well informed and critical manner.
• To equip students with the essential terminology needed to describe and to analyse literary texts of different kinds.
• To prepare English Literature students for more intense and critically focused study in their core courses at Levels 5 and 6.
• To acquaint students with methods of interpretation, and to introduce them to key theoretical questions and critical debate.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Recognise and engage with the major literary forms of prose narrative, poetry, drama and film and begin to understand their development over time in response to historical, cultural and technological conditions
2 ‘Close read’ different kinds of texts, understanding the importance of rigorous analysis and close attention to detail
3 Recognise key literary, theatrical and cinematic techniques and devices and relate their use to the generation of literary meaning
4 Engage with complex questions of representation as raised by literary texts
5 Begin to engage in critical and theoretical debates in oral and written work.
6 Start to develop employability skills of organisation, articulate expression, focused writing, argumentation and analysis of texts of all kinds.

Indicative content

Novels by Dickens and Faulkner; poems by Shakespeare, Plath, Nichols; the plays Oedipus Tyrannus and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; the films Rear Window and Wasp. The course concludes with a case study of texts relating to London. These include a collection of London poems from the Romantics to the twenty-first century and a prose work such as The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith.

Teaching and learning activity

The course is predominantly taught through lectures and seminars. Lectures introduce key ideas with the aim of engaging students, while seminars promote participation in group discussion and collaborative close reading. Gallery visits and theatre/cinema trips may be scheduled as appropriate.


Poetry Analysis - 30% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 6.
A detailed textual analysis of a poem chosen from the Norton Anthology of Poetry. 1500 words.

Drama/Film Analysis - 30% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 6.
A detailed analysis of a short sequence from a play or film chosen from those studied. 1500 words.

Exam - 40% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 6.
A two hour exam in which students answer one essay question on the novel and one on the concluding case study.

Formative Assessment - Seminar teaching will encourage students to work together on close analysis of textual detail and participate in searching exploration of the issues raised by texts.

Students are not required to pass all elements of assessment in order to pass the course.