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Radical Writers

  • Module code: EL6023
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 6
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: Successful Completion of level 5 EL or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Salman Rushdie, Mary Wollstonecraft, Geoffrey Chaucer, Audre Lorde, Charlotte Bronte, Chinua Achebe, Mary Shelley, John Milton, Lawrence Sterne, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison...the list is endless. At every point in literary history there are writers who break the mould and challenge the status quo. Whether it is through writing epics that endure through centuries, addressing the injustices of the time or challenging the very notion of what a novel, poem or a play can do, writers can be radical in a number of exciting ways. This module looks at works by radical writers in depth, studying one famous text in detail by a range of writers from different time periods and taught by lecturers who are experts in these writers. We will look at the context of each text as well as the way the text is written, determining why these radical writers have been so successful and looking at the effects their texts have had on the world around them. We will look at the idea of the literary 'canon', made up of writers who have been radical in some way, and consider the way that this idea can be challenged, reinvigorated or refreshed.

Aims

  • To develop an engagement with literary texts from a range of historical periods, in terms of both context and language used
  • To develop a range of interpretations of 'radical' writers, in political and textual terms
  • To develop students' skills in analysing a range of aspects around historical and textual context

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • To demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a 'radical' text by a range of authors from different historical periods
  • To demonstrate knowledge of a range of both literary devices and contextual examples deemed 'radical'
  • To produce a coherent, detailed, sustained and critically engaged account of a selection of radical texts
  • To demonstrate an awareness of the concept of literary canonicity and suggest ways this concept can be challenged

Curriculum content

The students will read in depth at a number of texts by radical writers. Students will examine the social and cultural contexts of these authors, as well as the formal properties of the texts, to consider the wider impacts of literature. We will also consider the concept of canonicity and ways in which it may be challenged.

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will be taught in a series of three-hour interactive lecture-workshops. These weekly sessions are flexible so as to allow detailed exploration of the set literary texts, relevant historical and social contexts, and of literary categories, forms and genres. The sessions may include presentations by the module leader, short student presentations and peer-led discussions.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Interactive lecture-workshops 66
Guided independent study 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Assessment for this module comprises two summative elements:

  1. a 2,000-word essay that will critically examine one or more radical writers studied on the course
  1. a choice of two additional elements: either a.) an annotated alternative 'canon' of texts of students' choice, with supplementary notes to justify these choices, or b.) your own creative 'radical' text (ideas) to be discussed with lecturer before submission

The essay will enable students to engage in sophisticated, extensive close readings of literary texts and develop an understanding of the placing of these with texts within literary history and theory. The alternative canon or radical text allows students to show knowledge of the wider conceptual framing of the module, and to show their applied understanding.

There will be several opportunities for formative assessment and feedback, including a close reading exercise set for each strand as well as in-class discussion of literary texts.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
To demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a 'radical' text by a range of authors from different historical periods Assessed formatively by class discussion and close reading exercises. Assessed summatively by coursework.
To demonstrate knowledge of a range of both literary devices and contextual examples deemed 'radical' Assessed formatively by class discussion and close reading exercises. Assessed summatively by coursework.
To produce a coherent, detailed, sustained and critically engaged account of a selection of radical texts Assessed formatively by class discussion and close reading exercises. Assessed summatively by coursework.
To demonstrate an awareness of the concept of literary canonicity and suggest ways this concept can be challenged Assessed formatively by class discussion and close reading exercises. Assessed summatively by coursework.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework 2000-word essay 60%
Coursework Annotated Canon or Creative Piece 40%
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart (19580

Baldwin, James Giovanni's Room (1956)

Bronte, Charlotte Villette (1853)

Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales (1478)

Lorde, Audre Collected Poems (2002)

Milton, John Paradise Lost (1674)

Morrison, Toni Beloved (1981)

Rushdie, Salman Midnight's Children (1981)

Shelley, Mary Frankenstein (1818)

Sterne, Lawrence The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759)

Stein, Gertrude Tender Buttons (1914)

Wollstonecraft, Mary A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

Bibliography recommended reading

Altieri, Charles (1990) Canons and Consequences: Reflections on the Ethical Force of Imaginative Ideals (1990)

Bragg, Melvyn 12 Books That Changed the World (2006)

Collins, Patricia Hill Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (2000)

Sedgwick, Eve Kosoksky Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (1985)

Upstone, Sara Rethinking Race and Identity in Contemporary British Fiction (2017)

Wilson, Janet, Cristina Sandru and Sarah Lawson Welsh Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for the New Millennium (2009)

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