Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This literary-critical module deals with a wide range of selected international tales ranging from antiquity to the present day. The module addresses issues such as the development of oral folktales and fairy tales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairy tales, as well as tales of the fantastic, nineteenth-century literary fairy tales, and the modern short story.

The framework of discussion comprises a general survey of the issues that face the comparatist. In the course of the module students practise different methods of literary analysis, including close reading and comparative analysis by examining story-motifs and story-structures, and by considering symbolic meanings in the light of psychoanalytic concepts. Students also explore questions of transmission and transformation (e.g. how stories and motifs travel from one culture to another and alter in shape and emphasis) and questions of genre (for example the fantastic). A selection of critical texts on narrative devices and patterns, on psychoanalytical, structuralist and feminist approaches to the fairy tale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40
Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 15%
Essay 2 (1,500 words) – 15%
Essay 3 (1,500 words) – 20%
Examination (2 hours) – 50%

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 familiarity with tales from classical antiquity to the present day;
2 Assess the distinctive literary features of folktales, novellas, fairy tales, and short stories to develop an insight into the way writers through the ages have used tales from previous cultures and adapt them to suit their own literary purposes;
3 Evaluate the stylistic, structural, and thematic features of a wide range of short fiction;
4 Take note of the problems posed by the study of texts in translation, alerting them to issues of cultural difference and translation-as-interpretation;
5 Demonstrate ability to write essays in literary criticism.

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

1 Demonstrate refined written communication skills, including the structuring of an original argument;
2 Demonstrate the ability to read texts closely and critically, and to apply a range of critical terms to literary texts;
3 Demonstrate the ability to undertake the critical analysis of literature;
4 Demonstrate the ability to undertake independent research in the library and other collections of books and journal articles.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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