Virginia Woolf - EN708

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 30 (15) DR D Ryan




Not available as wild



This module examines the development of Virginia Woolf's writing across the span of her life. It explores Woolf’s most important modernist texts alongside some of her lesser-known writings, and considers a range of literary genres she wrote in (novels, essays, short stories, auto/biography). As well as paying close attention to the distinct style of modernist literature, there will be consideration of various historical, cultural, philosophical, political and artistic contexts that influenced, and were influenced by, Woolf’s writing. Students will be introduced to the key critical debates on Woolf, featuring discussion of topics as diverse as feminism, visual art, the everyday, war, sexuality, gender, class, empire, science, nature and animality. With Woolf as its central focus, this module therefore seeks to understand the lasting significance of modernist literature.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

30 contact hours over the term, consisting of ten 2-hour weekly seminars plus five two-hour sessions (mix of workshops, reading group meetings, lectures and screenings)

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed on the basis of two essays of 3000 words each (45% for each essay, forming a total of 90%), with the remaining 10% coming from a seminar performance mark (assessed in accordance with the criteria published in the School of English Undergraduate Handbook).

Indicative reading

Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room (1922)
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)
Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928)
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)
Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1931)
Virginia Woolf, Flush (1933)
Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts (1941)
Virginia Woolf, selection of short stories, essays and autobiographical writings

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate wide-ranging knowledge of Virginia Woolf's writing, including her novels, essays, short stories, and auto/biographical texts;
2. Demonstrate an ability to relate Woolf's writing to historical, cultural, philosophical, political and artistic contexts relevant to modernism;
3. Demonstrate sophisticated analytic skills, including close textual analysis
4. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of critical approaches to Woolf's writing;
5. Demonstrate an understanding of Woolf's place in the wider context of modernist literature

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

1. Apply sophisticated close reading techniques to a range of literary texts and genres and to make productive and complex comparisons between them;
2. Display strong presentation skills and an ability to actively participate in group discussions;
3. Show an increased capacity for self-directed research and the ability to discuss, evaluate and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives making use of appropriate scholarly sources;
4. Frame and identify appropriate research questions and to construct original, clear and well-substantiated arguments.

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