Undergraduate prospectus

Course Information

Literature and Publishing Since 1820

Module summary

Module code: COML1086
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Andrew King / John Morton


Pre and co requisites



On completing this course successfully your knowledge and understanding of how the literary publishing industries have developed and are developing in specific areas will be enhanced; you will have investigated the ways the cultural industries have created and create today different audiences; you will have critically appraised the possibilities of publishing forms and marketing strategies; your analytic, written and oral communication skills will have improved.

Learning outcomes

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

1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how the literary publishing industries have developed and are developing since 1820, and how their development might affect thinking about literary works.
2 Evaluate the effectiveness of different modes of publishing and communications about them.
3 Evince ability to put theory into practice by producing materials aimed at different audiences.
4 Consider the relationship between economic, social, political and literary histories.
5 Demonstrate enhanced transferable skills in communication, research, and the organisation of material and time.

Indicative content

Deepening students’ understanding of the last two centuries of Anglophone literature in a publishing context, the course will proceed chronologically starting when print first became industrialised and literacy became widespread. Close attention will be paid to changing modes of publication, including current developments in online publication and marketing, and how these affect literary form, content and understanding. A characteristic aspect of this course is that several of the set texts will be studied in various forms, the advantages and disadvantages of which and, crucially, for whom, students will compare.

Specific texts studied could include Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Henry Dunbar, George Eliot’s Adam Bede, Ouida’s ‘A Dog of Flanders’, James Joyce’s Ulysses, the detective stories of Poe, Conan Doyle and others, Elinor Glyn’s Three Weeks, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Raymond Chandler’s The Lady in the Lake, Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, the poems of Tennyson, Barrett Browning, Ezra Pound, and H.D., as well as various forms of periodical writing.

Teaching and learning activity

There will be a lecture followed by a seminar. Lectures will draw out connections between texts in order to show how literature works by reading and re-reading the past. Lectures set the texts and their authors in a historical context, showing how literature is also a reading of a particular culture at a particular moment. The teaching in seminars will focus on students developing their close reading, critical and oral presentation skills in relation to the learning outcomes of the course.


Exam - 30% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 5.
Exam with two questions, at least one of which requires awareness of idea of intended audience.

Blurbs and Justifications - 20% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 5.
3 x 150-word publishing blurbs for specified texts plus 1000 word justification in terms of target audience and key ideas articulated. 1450 words total.

Project - 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Learning outcomes 1 - 5.
A project undertaken either solo or in a group (max 3 members). Students will choose whether to undertake an essay, a research project, a publishing promotional pack, or an educational-focused resource.

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

Formative Assessment - Students will be asked to contribute to seminars and interact in lectures, read all texts in advance, and may also be required to undertake quizzes on texts via Moodle.