English Literature

Introduction

These courses have been designed to intensify your awareness of the critical tools central to the study of English Literature.

In your pre-honours years, you were given a brief introduction to formal and critical discourses in the first semester, and over the rest of those two years you were provided with an overall sense of the historical development of literary forms and genres. Collectively, the Critical Practice (CP) courses build upon that training. The practical skills and range of knowledge acquired over the year will equip you with a command of the precise critical terminology necessary for honours level study.

CP: Criticism

CP: Criticism introduces a range of debates surrounding the role of the critic and the functions and methods of literary criticism, from antiquity to the present. By the end of the course, you will be able to trace the historical and conceptual development of the field of literary studies and will have an understanding of the shifts and similarities between and among competing critical modes. Studying how other critics analyse texts will enable you to situate your own beliefs and practices and increase your awareness of the way in which different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning.

Prose, Poetry, and Drama

The other three CP courses - Prose, Poetry, and Drama - will expand your sensitivity to specific generic conventions and extend your knowledge of associated critical vocabulary. This, in turn, will hone your skills in the close reading, description, and analysis of a variety of texts. In the drama course in particular you will be encouraged to reflect upon the meanings and effects of texts in performance, exploring a range of different aspects and styles of theatre.

Teaching and assessment

All these courses are taught primarily by weekly lectures, supported by workshops where appropriate. If you have any specific queries about the courses you may consult the Course Organiser; additionally, you may consult full time members of staff in their office hours. While the CP courses do, of course, count for credit toward your degree in their own right, the skills acquired on them are also designed to be transferable. In particular, the critical terminology acquired should be used to inform your analysis of the texts you study in the rest of your honours courses, including your dissertation (where appropriate).

 

Critical Practice Handbook

For full details on the Poetry, Performance, Criticism and Prose courses please see the following Handbook: