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English Literature BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time Q300 2019
2020
4 years full time including foundation year Q320 2019
2020
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2019
2020

Why choose this course?

This course covers major genres and periods of literature, with opportunities to specialise in key periods and special topics. You can focus on issues of diversity, identity, political writing, popular fiction, and experimental literature.

Our regular teaching programme is enhanced by outside speakers and field trips which bring subjects to life and make the most of Kingston's close location to central London. Recent visits have included the Globe Theatre, the Science Museum, the Royal Opera House and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

You'll be taught by world-leading academics with highly rated research publications. Course assessment is flexible and innovative, ranging from traditional essays and dissertations to creative projects in areas such as creative writing, film and performance.

Watch this video to find out what our students have to say about studying this course at Kingston University:

Why choose English Literature BA(Hons)?

  • Year-long modules allow you to study subjects in depth.
  • Dissertations and research projects supervised by internationally recognised and published researchers allowing you to develop your own critical voice.
  • Each student has a personal tutor who meets with them weekly in their first year and follows their progress through the degree.
  • Integrated employability skills and study support through our Centre for Academic Support and Enhancement.
  • Join a dynamic and active community which includes the Writers' Centre Kingston and Cultural Histories at Kingston, with weekly events and readings from internationally renowned academics and established writers such as Hanif Kureishi and Paul Bailey.

What you will study

Year 1 introduces you to classic texts of literature through our module Reading London, which explores how London has been represented in poetry, drama and prose. Here we take the learning outside the classroom and make use of our London location to inspire us! You'll also study popular and world literature, considering subjects such as such as gender, sexuality, class, race, and selfhood. Finally, you'll be introduced to the exciting world of literary theory, studying ideas such as Marxism, feminism and psychoanalysis in relation to a range of classic texts. By the end of this year you will be able to write argumentative, analytical essays, and will have gained a broad understanding of literature in different genres and historical periods.

Year 2 develops your critical voice through an independent research project, where you work closely with a supervisor to develop your own extended essay. A core module on literary theory and the Gothic develops the themes introduced in Year 1. Alongside this, you'll choose to specialise in chosen periods of literature, through period based modules that cover Medieval, Early Modern, Romantic, Victorian, Modernist, and 20th- and 21st-century literature.

Year 3 includes a module on radical writers, looking at how literature has driven political thinking, dissent, and transgression. Here, academic staff will introduce cutting-edge perspectives from their own research, giving you access to the newest ideas in literary studies. Alongside this, you'll write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of your choice, supervised by a specialist member of staff. In addition to these core modules you'll choose from a range of option modules, examples of which include Gender and Sexuality, British Black and Asian Writing, Children's Literature, American Countercultures, Special Author, and Imagined Places.

Foundation year - Humanities & Arts

You can also study this course with a Foundation year. Find out more >

Module listing

The English Literature BA programme is an exciting, diverse, intellectually rigorous and stimulating course. It is designed to provide you with the opportunity to study a wide range of English Literature from Beowulf to Brick Lane, combining broad-based coverage with specialist options.

Modules

Year 1

  • This module introduces you to the literature of London, from the rise of Renaissance theatre culture to its fictional futures, and from explorations of its urban heart to its sprawling suburbs. You will investigate how numerous writers have depicted everyday life in the metropolis, as well as social upheaval, crime and injustice. You will consider the emergence of distinct literary cultures in the capital, the ways London's position at the centre of a global empire has shaped its literature, and how writers have in turn represented the experiences of particular groups, for example, social elites, immigrants, women, and children.

    The module will also introduce you to some of the most fundamental categories of literature. The module will be organised into three strands: one on drama, one on poetry, and one on prose (fiction and non-fiction). In each strand you will identify the distinctive characteristics of particular forms and genres of literature, and of modes of writing that developed at particular historical moments. Through close study of a range of literary texts we will consider, for instance, what distinguishes tragedy, comedy and realism in drama, how poets have engaged with the sonnet form or the epic, what defines the memoir, and how to explain the differences in narrative style between realist and modernist fiction.

    Our weekly interactive lectures will be complemented by study trips to locations across London, which may include a visit to the Globe Theatre, the London Museum or a walking lecture following the route taken by Mrs Dalloway in Virginia Woolf's novel of the same name.  

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  • What does it mean to think critically about literature? What is literary theory, and why do we use it? Taking classic texts such as The Tempest, Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde this module looks at how we can produce dynamic readings of literature through the use of perspectives from the worlds of philosophy and psychoanalysis. In interactive lectures and small-group discussions, we will explore themes such as gender, sexuality, race, class, history and the uncanny. We will look at how language shapes literature, and how approaches to reading are both socially and historically formed.

    As part of this module, you will meet each week with your personal tutor, in a small group that as well as the core module content will also introduce advanced skills in writing and rhetoric suitable for study at undergraduate level. By the end of this module you will be able to write a theoretically informed and argumentative essay, and present your ideas in presentation form to an audience.

     
  • Why are our reading practices so dominated by British writers? What happens if you turn the world map upside down? This module introduces literatures written in places other than Great Britain and considers the links between literature and the formation of cultural, national and racial identities. We will also think about how literature can act as a mode of resistance to imperialist ideologies. In doing so, we will broaden our understanding of what constitutes 'English' literature.

    The module begins with a series of lectures discussing relevant conceptual frameworks; you will be asked to consider how texts function within discursive and ideological contexts, largely through a postcolonial framework. Following this introduction, you will study consecutively three areas of geographical focus in detail, such as nineteenth-century American literature, Irish literature, Latin American writing, Caribbean literature, contemporary American fiction, African writing.

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  • This module is designed to familiarise you with a range of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills, while also providing the opportunity to practise writing and editing in a number of literary and non-literary forms. In "Writing that Works" you are introduced to key techniques for writing effectively and you develop your ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in writing by studying a number of different forms of published texts, both literary and non literary. These abilities are first developed by reading and examining good and bad examples of writing in a variety of forms written for different audiences – from short stories and poems, to newspaper articles, commercial writing, blogs, ads, speeches, emails, informational pamphlets, and business letters.  In addition to the examples offered by tutors, you will be encouraged to source independently further instances of good and bad writing to share with the class in seminars. The next step is for you to practise and obtain tutor and peer feedback on your own writing in these forms and styles.  Transferable skills are embedded in the module through the editing and redrafting practice in which you will synthesise the reading, analysis and feedback you have received in order to produce a portfolio of writing that works. The module will make use of the expertise of a number of our Writers in Residence, Distinguished Writers and Creative Writing staff who will present and discuss examples of their own writing that has, and hasn't, worked. 

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Year 2

  • This module, a core module for full-field and half-field English Literature students, is all about developing your own interests and research expertise. Every year, members of staff will offer a range of texts and you will select you own special subject from amongst these, working independently but with close supervision to produce your own set of resources and an extended original essay. In recent years, available texts have included The Lord of the Rings, Never Let Me Go, Great Expectations, and Hamlet. Encouraging independent learning and research, the module develops a range of transferable critical and communication skills that are central to the degree and useful in occupations and professional tasks beyond the university, while also allowing you to develop you own critical voice.

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  • What does literature do? How does it shape individual and cultural identities? In what ways does it produce affects, construct otherness and celebrate difference? Studying a range of influential approaches to literature, this module will examine key ideas concerning the creation and interpretation of texts, from the role of language, history and cultural difference to the effects of sexuality, the unconscious, empire and technology. By applying these insights to one important genre of fiction - to works like Frankenstein, Dracula, The Beetle, Rebecca and World War Z - the module will extend practical analytical skills while introducing exciting new ways of thinking about texts.

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Year 3

  • The dissertation is a core module for all full-field literature students. Under guidance from an allocated specialist member of staff, and supported by interactive workshops, you will produce a sustained piece of research, either in the form of a traditional 10,000 word dissertation or alternatively in the form of creative project and accompanying 3000 word rationale. The module culminates in a student conference, which you will work with your peers to organise, and which your contribution to will also be assessed. An initial dissertation proposal must be submitted in September before the module begins. At the end of the module you will have produced a critically engaged and fully developed piece of independent research.

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  • 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.

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You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of term dates for this course can be found here

Contact our admissions team

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020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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