Guilt and Redemption in Modern Literature - CPLT3060

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Joanne Pettitt checkmark-circle


The 'knowledge of good and evil' is unique to human beings. It informs the individual’s conscience and determines the moral systems on which societies are based. The violation of moral codes is expected to induce the experience of guilt, while the lack of any sense of guilt is considered psychopathic. As the manifestation of an internal, and sometimes also external, struggle of varying intensity, guilt is an almost universal concern of literary texts; as is the quest for redemption, the alleviation of guilt and despair – through atonement, forgiveness or denial. In this module, we will analyse and discuss literary texts, which explore the frequently fuzzy edges of the experiences of guilt and redemption as a human quandary and as perceived against changing conceptions of morality. Texts included in the reading list engage with questions of personal and collective guilt incurred with hubris, cruelty, the violation of animal rights, and genocide, etc.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay 1 (1,000 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a good knowledge of a range of influential writings from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries dealing with major ideological preoccupations and, more specifically, issues of guilt and redemption;
2 Confront and examine major realities of modern life and shaping ideas and ideologies in the works of writers whose stature, significance and impact is international;
3 Exhibit a broad understanding of the ways in which creative literature can convey ideological, moral and ethical purpose;
4 Discuss and evaluate the capacity of fictional literature, in comparison with discursive literature, to contribute to political and moral thought;
5 Benefit from close and careful reading of the literary text;
6 Demonstrate an evaluative comparison of literary texts with similar themes.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Initiate and respond to issues raised, basing responses on substantiating reference to the text;
2 Undertake independent research in the library and on the net;
3 Marshal knowledge and present it in clear and logical form.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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