Study abroad in Edinburgh

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Semester 1

Edinburgh in Fiction/Fiction in Edinburgh (ENLI10310)

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English Literature





Normal Year Taken


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mVisiting students must have completed 4 English Literature courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses, and we do not consider civilisation & other interdisciplinary courses, freshman seminars, writing/composition courses or film/cinema/media courses; visiting students who have taken multiple courses in literature in other languages, should have passed at least one course in English Literature as well. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission, and priority will be given to students studying on exchange within English Literature. **This is an *Option* course. Please note that students can only enrol in one Core and/or one Option 3rd year English Literature course per semester, with no exception. Students enrolled in this course therefore cannot enrol in any further Option courses during this semester** Please note that 3rd year English Literature courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

This course will examine the city in history as represented in fiction in the particular case of Edinburgh, from the historical fiction of Scott, Hogg and Stevenson to the genre fiction of the last two decades. It will examine the construction of the city in these texts as a site of legal, religious, economic and cultural discourse. The extent to which civic identity both contributes to and competes with national identity will be a central theme, as will the internal division of the city along lines of religion, gender, and, especially, class.

Course Description

This course will explore the unique status of Edinburgh in the literary imagination, considering fictional versions of the city from the late eighteenth century to the present. We will investigate how the qualities of Edinburgh are adapted to suit the conventions of different literary genres, from the historical fiction of Scott, Hogg, and Stevenson to Muriel Spark, Irvine Welsh, and Ian Rankin. We will examine how Edinburgh functions in these texts as a cultural, religious, economic, and legal centre, while also reflecting on its vexed relationship to the larger political entities of Scotland and the United Kingdom. In this way, our course will trace how ideas of the urban are discursively constructed, situating Edinburgh in relation to a broader tradition of writing about 'the city' in literature. Mapping the varied topography of Edinburgh in these texts and following its architectural, social, and political transformations, we will assess how these authors approach recurring themes relating to class, gender, sexuality, race, and faith.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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