Writing of Empire and Settlement - EN855

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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7 30 (15) DR M Whittle







The aim of the module is to read selected prose writing in English, which appeared during the period of high imperialism and into the mid-century (approximately 1880s-1940s) and to trace the evolution of particular writings of empire. This will involve a comparative study of writing from different locations of empire. The module will explore representations of relations between the coloniser and the colonised in selected literary texts, and will contextualise the historical and cultural contexts of their production. The texts will be studied as texts in themselves but also as expressions of a particular vision of European self-representation and its conception of the challenge of the colonised.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300


Spring term in 2019/20

Method of assessment

• Assignment (5,000 words) – 100%

Indicative reading

Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually

Any edition of:
Lessing, Doris (1950). The Grass is Singing
Orwell, George (1934). Burmese Days
Schreiner, Olive (1883). The Story of an African Farm
Waugh, Evelyn (1932). Black Mischief
Karen Blixen (1937), Out of Africa
H Rider Haggard (1887), She

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Identify the major concerns of late 19th and early 20th-Century narrative of empire, including issues of race, class, gender and sexuality

2. Understand the historical and cultural contexts of narratives written during the height and decline of European colonialism

3. Understand the significance of how these issues are narrated, thinking about literary forms such as modernism, the gothic, and the postcolonial.

4. Demonstrate an ability to apply close reading techniques to a range of literary texts and to make complex comparisons between them

5. Demonstrate advanced skills necessary for participating in group discussions and giving oral presentations

6. Conduct self-directed research and demonstrate an ability to discuss, evaluate and creatively deploy secondary critical and theoretical perspectives

7. Construct original, articulate and well-substantiated arguments.

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