Reading and Writing the Everyday - EN340

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
4 30 (15) MISS A Sackville




Available as Wild



The module begins from the premise that it is possible to 'read' objects and phenomena from everyday life as texts: they communicate meaning to us; they are open to different interpretations; and they represent aspects of the world we inhabit. This module will introduce students to how ways of ‘reading’ the everyday emerged as a scholarly pursuit from the mid-twentieth century, first in France and then beyond. It will also consider how literary texts represent everyday life, through the study of examples in a variety of forms, including poetry and fiction. Through both theory and practice, including regular creative exercises, students will learn how to both ‘read’ and ‘write’ aspects of contemporary everyday life and to analyse representations of everyday life in texts. The module will consider the forms available to the creative writer as a means of engaging with and representing contemporary everyday life, and introduce students to basic Creative Writing techniques, practices and strategies, such as journaling, workshopping, and redrafting.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

This module will be taught by lectures, seminars and field trips.

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

Method of assessment

100% Coursework: Assignment 1 (30%): interim assignment (1,000 words), Assignment 2 (20%): Seminar contribution, including creative exercises, in-class presentations, critical discussion, and workshops, Assignment 3 (50%): Research essay (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

Barthes, Roland, Mythologies (London: Vintage Classics, 2009)
Smith, Ali, Winter (London: Penguin Random House, 2017).

Module Reader will include selected readings from everyday life theorists (such as Michel de Certeau and Raymond Williams) and short literary texts (including William Carlos Williams, Virginia Woolf, Harryette Mullen, Nancy Gaffield and Lydia Davis).

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 understand how the study and description of everyday life emerged as both a scholarly subject and a preoccupation in literary texts, especially from the twentieth century onwards;
2 demonstrate knowledge of key concepts and ideas from the scholarship associated with everyday life theory from the mid-twentieth century to the present;
3 apply their knowledge to the critical and creative interpretation and analysis of contemporary everyday life and representations of everyday life in literary texts;
4 communicate their own 'reading' of everyday life in oral and written forms, including both critical and creative responses.

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

1 identify and apply strategies of reading and writing relevant to the material they encounter;
2 apply close reading techniques to a range of texts and textual types, and to make complex comparisons between them;
3 demonstrate their understanding of theory and fiction through creative responses;
4 effectively communicate orally;
5 begin self-directed research and discuss, evaluate, and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives;
6 construct articulate and well-substantiated arguments;
7 manage their time and workload effectively.

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