Virginia Woolf - EN708

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 30 (15) DR D Ryan checkmark-circle


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 the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 270
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

100% Coursework:

Two essays (3,000 words each) (45% each)
Seminar performance (10%)

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)

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.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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