Lifelong Learning (formerly Short Courses)

Lose Yourself in a World of Literature

Short Courses in Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

So many books, so little time, once said Frank Zappa.

Well at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Open Learning we help you make the time!

Between January and March 2020, over 10 weeks, we’re running a series of Short Courses that will allow you to pick up a book (or three!) and lose yourself in the magical world of literature.  

Whether you choose to examine the major works of 19th century literary geniuses or explore the construction of gender identity in texts, let us spark your imagination and inspire your creativity.

An Image from Short Courses Literature Class

Below you’ll find details of what’s still available to book…


Classics of French Literature

Hugo, Zola, Mirbeau. These are just a few of the authors that marked the history of literature and are still read today.

In this course you’ll examine how key figures in French literature helped redefine the concept of narrative, creating characters and situations still relevant to the modern reader.


Gender and Sexuality in Literature

This course examines the centrality of gender and sexuality in the discussion of literature and culture.

In this course you’ll focus on the construction of gender identity, sexuality, and gender norms in literary texts from Shakespeare to Angela Carter and with a focus on LGBTQ+ narratives, you’ll map major developments in gender, sexuality and queer studies.


Exploring Science Fiction

Science fiction is a rich and exciting genre that uses the development and inventions of science and new technology to explore fundamental questions regarding what it means to be human.

This course will guide you through a number of great works of 20th century Science Fiction, using literature as a starting point for wider discussion.  

Authors include H.G.Wells, Ursula le Guin, Issac Asimov and Dorris Lessing.


Shakespeare and Marlowe

Shakespeare was hugely indebted to the transgressive genius of Christopher Marlowe.

On this course you’ll study the great plays by Marlowe – ‘Edward II’, ‘The Jew of Malta’, ‘Tamburlaine’ and ‘Dr Faustus’ - and the responses and imitations produced by Shakespeare – Richard II, The Merchant of Venice, Henry V and Macbeth. 


Dickens and Balzac – Vive la Différence!

Charles Dickens and Honoré de Balzac were the defining literary geniuses of the 19th century and the creators of the modern novel. Yet their radically different styles say a lot about the contrasting cultures of Britain and France that are still evident today.

You’ll examine four of their major works - The Wild Ass’s Skin, Cousin Bettte; A tale of Two Cities and Our Mutual Friend – and explore what made them different and what made them great.


Victorian Gothic

Beneath its surface of bourgeois propriety, the psyche of Victorian Britain was in thrall to forbidden dreams and haunted by gruesome nightmares.

On this course you’ll explore this dark fictional heritage with works by Charlotte Brontë, Wilkie Collins, Bram Stoker, Sherdian Le Fanu and many more!


Click the link below to book or to explore our full range of 2019/20 Short Courses.


2019/20 Short Courses