You study traditional areas such as Shakespeare and Dickens alongside contemporary literature and the latest literary theory. Encouraged to question what literature is, you develop analytical and critical skills, which help you to find your own voice and to produce innovative and thoughtful writing.
Kent’s School of English is ambitious, inclusive, engaged and international. Several of our staff are published authors and poets and there are also numerous internationally recognised scholars. We try to ensure that you are taught by different lecturers with varying approaches, so that, throughout your degree, you encounter fresh ideas and new authors.
We keep our class sizes small to ensure you receive as much individual attention as possible. In your first year, seminars are capped at 14 students, and in your second and third years, group sizes are normally 12-16 students.
Our degree programme
At Kent, you choose your own pathway through your degree. There are very few compulsory modules, which puts you in control of your learning from the very beginning, giving you the intellectual freedom to grow as an individual and as a student of literature. You may wish to follow modules that provide an account of literature from Chaucer to the present day. Or you can focus on American literature, medieval and Tudor literature, postcolonial literature or modern poetry.
In your first year, you take a compulsory module on Romanticism and critical theory. You also take modules on narrative and poetry theory and practice, which encourage you to develop your own writing. You then choose optional modules, some of which can be from other subject areas.
In your second year, you select the particular periods of literature you want to study and gain a solid grounding in literary studies. You also take modules that ask you to look closely at techniques and writing strategies in poetry, and elements in fiction such as point-of-view and characterisation. These modules teach you about writing and give you the chance to practise, through writing exercises, workshops and assignments, your own writing.
In your final year, you explore more specialised topics. Our modules are varied, covering Middle English literature through to 21st-century writing, with some focusing on individual authors such as Hardy and Woolf. You also choose modules from a selection specifically aimed at Creative Writing students, which explore areas such as memoir, the boundaries between prose and poetry, and historical fiction.
Your year abroad takes place between your second and final years of study and gives you the opportunity to see your subject from a new perspective and discover a new culture. Previous destinations include:
- the US
- Hong Kong.
It is also possible to spend a year on placement gaining valuable workplace experience and increasing your professional contacts. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply.
Alternatively, you can take our three-year degree, without a year abroad or a year in industry. For details, see English and American Literature and Creative Writing.
There are a variety of literary activities at Kent. Students in the School of English publish a magazine of their creative writing, poetry and prose. There are also a number of student-run societies with a literary theme. In previous years these have included the:
- Creative Writing Society
- T24 Drama Society
- Poetry Society
- Literature Society.
The student newspaper, InQuire, is run by the student union and gives you the opportunity to develop your writing skills and to gain valuable work experience in journalism.
The School of English runs research seminars, workshops and social events, as well as a successful creative writing series of readings, where well-known writers and publishers share their experiences and skills. Previous guests include:
- Iain Sinclair
- Patience Agbabi
- Terry Eagleton.
All our students receive free membership to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in central London, giving you access to the ICA’s facilities and a small number of internships.
English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 14th in The Guardian University Guide 2017 and Creative Writing was ranked 14th in The Complete University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 95% of our English students were satisfied with the quality of teaching.
For graduate prospects, English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 12th in The Guardian University Guide 2017 and English was ranked 14th in The Times Good University Guide 2017.
The course structure below gives a flavour of the modules available to you and provides details of the content of this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
In Stage 1, you study our compulsory module EN333 Romanticism and the creative writing modules EN326 Narrative Theory and Practice and EN327 Poetry Theory and Practice; you must also choose at least one other from the list of Stage 1 modules. You can take all English modules, but you do also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order to explore other subject areas. Please note that your wild modules must equal no more than 30 credits.
In Stage 2 you choose two creative writing modules and two literature modules and in Stage 3 you choose one or two creative writing modules and two or three literature modules (to equal four in total). At least two of the modules you take over Stage 2 and 3 must be in pre-1800 literature. You also have the option in Stage 3 to take a long essay module, which allows you to research and write in an area of particular interest, including creative writing.
A selection of the modules available are listed below.
|Possible modules may include||Credits|
|EN326 - Narrative Theory and Practice||15|
This module will introduce key concepts and ideas in theories of narrative, and will provide students with the critical and creative tools they need to start working with narrative as writers and critics. Students will learn the basics of prose writing, including how to work with voice, tense, register and different types of narrator. They will also focus intensively on narrative structure and will experiment with different types of plot, from the Aristotelian to the impressionistic. This module will ultimately encourage students to consider the ways in which reading leads to writing, and to what extent original, contemporary storytelling must always refer to other texts, stories and structures from the past and present. Students will produce one essay and one piece of narrative fiction.
|EN327 - Poetry Theory and Practice||15|
This module will introduce key concepts and ideas in the history of poetry, and will provide students with the critical and creative tools they need to start writing their own poetry. Taking classic texts in the history of poetry and poetics as starting points, the module will consider how and why poetry is written. Students will learn to identify forms and metrical arrangements and will gain an understanding of poetrys major modes. They will be encouraged to consider the processes by which poetry is made (and the stories told about these processes), and also the relation of poetry to society.
|EN333 - Romanticism and Critical Theory||30|
This year-long course examines some of the most significant writing of the Romantic period (1780-1830) - a period in which the role and forms of literature were being redefined - alongside recent debates in critical theory. You will study a wide range of literary texts from the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth and Keats to the novels of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley, with reference to contemporary literary and political debates and against the backdrop of the periods turbulent history. In parallel, this module explores fundamental critical questions about literature: Why read it? What is an author? What is the role of poetry in society? How is literature shaped by culture? What is Art? Continuities and disjunctions between Romantic writers answers to these questions and those provided by more recent literary theorists will be a central concern of the course.
|EN331 - Readings in the Twentieth Century||30|
This module emphasizes the links between literature, history, and culture. It introduces students to the formative events, debates and struggles of the twentieth century, and how these have been addressed by different modes of creative and critical writing. Topics such as Modernism, the Holocaust, the US culture industry, postcolonial studies and neoliberalism will be considered and discussed in relation to fictional and critical literature, films, photography, graphic novels, music, and other media. Weekly screenings will run alongside lectures and seminar discussions. Literary works across all genres will be read in relation to visual material such as paintings, photography, feature and documentary films and a range of selected critical reading. The majority of writing samples are drawn from English, American and more broadly Anglophone writing, though several instances of writing in other languages will also be included (all taught in translation).
|EN332 - Writing America||30|
This module aims to emphasize connections between literature and culture in the USA, from early considerations of a distinct American literature to the present day. By way of six key themes or preoccupations, the module will introduce students to some of the major debates and antagonisms, and rhetorical and stylistic modes, that have formed and modified American literary and intellectual culture Questions of Belief, Gender, Race, Economy, Space, and Time will be approached through a range of textual forms set against their historical contexts and within the broader nexus of cultural production including the visual performing arts where appropriate. Students will be encouraged to examine the specific local, regional, and national frameworks within which these texts are produced, but also to look at the ways in which they resist and transcend national boundaries, in the development of an American register in world literatures for instance.
|EN302 - Early Drama||30|
This module will introduce students to a range of medieval and early modern dramatic genres, from ninth-century Latin church drama to the commercial theatres of Shakespeare's London. Students will learn about methods for analysing past performances and existing texts, as well as how drama interacted with and responded to pivotal moments in British history, and the culture, politics and religion of the period. As such, the module will function as an introduction to medieval and early modern studies more broadly and a platform from which to undertake early English literature and drama modules, such as Chaucer and Late Medieval Literature, Early Modern Literature, 1500-1700 and Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama, at Stages 2 and 3. Students will read and discuss playtexts in modern translations, both as literary objects and live performance events. Regular optional site visits and screenings will contribute to students understanding of the dramas contexts, how plays might work in performance and to what extent they still speak to twenty-first century audiences.
Lectures and seminars are designed to be varied and interactive, with the opportunity for everyone to participate and to develop key academic skills. The module is assessed by seminar contributions, creative and research-based coursework and a final end-of-year project, which will allow students the freedom to explore a topic of their choice creatively.
|Possible modules may include||Credits|
|EN674 - Contemporary Poetry: Tradition and Innovation||30|
This module will expose students to a wide range of contemporary English language poetries, which use traditional prosodies as their organising principles. Techniques and writing strategies covered will include the wide range of verse forms and will include the sonnet, the quatrain, the couplet as well measures such as the iambic pentameter amongst others. One of these forms for writing poetry (and others as appropriate) will be the starting point for discussion each week. These discussions will be supported with writing exercises week by week.
|EN679 - Writing Fiction: Tradition and Context||30|
This module will explore movements in fiction from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first through a range of primary texts and critical material, and consider how these precedents might feed into students' creative practice. For the first part of the term students will be taken through a chronological overview, focusing on key and influential examples. Extracts from Middlemarch (Eliot) and Madame Bovary (Flaubert) will introduce key 'realist' techniques and also raise the question of international influence. The rise of modernism(s) will be considered through an examination of the manifesto-making culture of the early twentieth century, as well as texts by Proust, Joyce, and Woolf. Postmodernism in its various permutations will be considered in the work of John Barth and others, and in terms of critical theory. This first part of the term will conclude with a discussion of contemporary texts, both those which pursue formal and stylistic innovation (Ali Smith, Rushdie, Thayil), and those who have sought to return to more traditional modes (Zadie Smith). Students will consider how useful these terms are, and the difference between a retrospectively applied label and a willfully adopted or invented one.
In the second part of the term, sessions will focus on students own work, with regular workshops and set exercises asking students to consider where they stand on some of the key issues raised e.g. how to represent the 'real, the purpose of formal experiment, the question of accessibility vs. challenge. Writing workshops will encourage students to share work and ideas, and to try out a variety of approaches and techniques. Students will then be asked to give a short presentation of their work at the end of the term.
|EN685 - Elements of Fiction||30|
This module will concentrate on, as it says, The Elements of Fiction. The elements that will be covered are: point-of-view; characterisation; dialogue; plot; structure and planning; voice and tone; description and imagery; location and place; editing and re-editing; theme. Each week, there will be a different technical theme, exemplified by prior reading. Students will discuss the set texts, as exemplars of writerly craft. These discussions will be supported and illustrated by writing exercises. As the term progresses, the focus will shift more on to the students own work; and writing workshops will be an integral part of the seminars.
|EN686 - Contemporary Poetry: Context and Innovation||30|
This module will expose students to a wide range of contemporary English language poetries, which don't use traditional prosodies as their organising principles. Techniques and writing strategies covered will include 'chance procedures; cut-up; field poetics; Oulipo; concrete poetry; radical feminist poetics; the avant-garde lyric; radical landscape poetries, amongst others. One of these approaches to writing poetry (or others as appropriate) will be the starting point for discussion each week. These discussions will be supported with writing week by week. Each teaching session will incorporate a writing workshop.
|EN689 - Modernism||30|
This module features key modernist texts, for example the work of Ezra Pound, H.D., T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys. It also makes substantial reference to key philosophical theories of modernity and textuality. The literary works are taken mostly from a restricted period 1910-1930. One focus in the module will be the notion of the artist as applied to the writer as an art-practitioner. Other texts which might form part of the curriculum may include a limited selection of works by Mina Loy, Wyndham Lewis,, Elizabeth Bowen, F.T. Marinetti, Samuel Beckett, Georg Lukács, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Derrida and Paul De Man. Other topics include modes of representation, language and experience, colonialism and modernism, textuality and identity, war and democracy, class and politics, cosmopolitanism and bohemianism, sex, morality and city life. This material requires both theoretical and historical orientation, as well as skill in distilling significance from complex literary artefacts with regard to the network of mediations which both bind such works to their apparent context and appear to dislocate them.
|EN681 - Novelty, Enlightenment and Emancipation: 18th Century Literature||30|
Before 1660 there was no English novel, and by the end of the eighteenth century there was Jane Austen. This module asks how such a literary revolution was possible. It investigates the rise of professional authorship in an increasingly open marketplace for books. With commercial expansion came experiment and novelty. Genres unheard of in the Renaissance emerged for the first time: they include the periodical essay, autobiography, the oriental tale, amatory fiction, slave narratives and, most remarkably, the modern novel. Ancient modes such as satire, pastoral and romance underwent surprising transformations. Many eighteenth-century men and women felt that they lived in an age of reason and emancipation although others warned of enlightenments darker aspect. Seminar reading reflects the fact that an increasing number of women, members of the labouring classes, and African slaves wrote for publication; that readers themselves became more socially varied; and that Britain was growing to understand itself as an imperial nation within a shifting global context. It asks students to reflect, as eighteenth-century writers did, upon the literary, cultural and political implications of these developments
|EN672 - Reading Victorian Literature||30|
This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of Victorian literature. It will equip students with critical ideas that will help them become more skilful and confident readers of texts in and beyond this period. Students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts: environmental (for example, considering the effects of urbanisation and the Industrial Revolution); imaginative (examining a variety of genres: for example fable, dream-vision, novel); political (class conflicts, changing gender roles, ideas of nation and empire); and psychological (representations of growing up, courtship, sibling and parent-child relationships, dreams and madness). Students will be made aware of such critical concepts as realism and allegory and will be encouraged to think about various developments of literary form in the period.
|EN675 - Declaring Independence: 19th Century US Literature||30|
When the Long Island-born poet Walt Whitman proclaimed in 1855 that the United States were historys greatest poem he made an important connection between national political culture and literary expression. In some ways this was no exaggeration. As a new experiment in politics and culture, the United States had to be literally written into existence. Beginning with Thomas Jeffersons dramatic Declaration of Independence in 1776, followed by the drafting of the Constitution after the Revolutionary War with Britain, the project of shaping the new United States in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was essentially a literary one.
In this module we will explore how American writers in this period tried in numerous, diverse ways to locate an original literary voice through which to express their newfound independence. At the same time, the module includes the work of writers who had legitimate grievances against the developing character of a new nation that still saw fit to cling to such Old World traditions as racialized slavery, class conflict and gender inequality.
|EN677 - The Contemporary||30|
This module aims to introduce students to a wide range of contemporary literature written in English, where 'contemporary' is taken to refer to twenty-first century work. It will equip students with critical ideas and theoretical concepts that will help them to understand the literature of their own time. Students will consider examples of a range of genres: poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and the essay. They will also be selectively introduced to key ideas in contemporary theory and philosophy. Over the course of the module, students will be encouraged to read texts in a number of contexts. They will consider writers responses to, for instance, questions of migration, environmental change, and financial crisis. They will also consider a range of aesthetic developments and departures, for example: new conceptualism and the claim to unoriginality; archival poetics; the turn to creative non-fiction; the re-emergence of the political essay. The module will not focus on a given national context. Instead it will set contemporary writing against the background of identifiably international issues and concerns. In so doing it will draw attention to non-national publishing strategies and audiences. Overall, the module will aim to show how writers are responding to the present period, how their work illuminates and reflects current cultural concerns. The weekly topics will often alternate between thematic and formal concerns.
|EN721 - American Modernities: US Literature in the 20th Century||30|
This module is a study of twentieth-century American literature and culture organized conceptually around the idea of modernity. Students will explore the interconnections between modernity in the United States and the literary and philosophical ideas that shaped it (and were shaped by it) from the start of the century to its close. At the core of the module will be a necessary focus on two versions of American modernity, broadly represented by New York and Los Angeles respectively. Novels, works of art and critical texts will be read alongside one another to explore how these major regional hubs of aesthetic and cultural output developed competing conceptions of "modernity", American culture and the place of the urban in twentieth-century life, with important effects on contemporary perceptions of the USA. Moving beyond a sense of modernism as simply an aesthetic challenge to nineteenth-century modes of romanticism and realism, to consider the embeddedness of modernist literature within the particularities of its cultural and historical moment, students will be asked to develop a more nuanced approach to critical reading that pays close attention to the role of differing conceptions of modernity in the USA. The rise of mass culture, the L.A. film industry, the importance of Harlem to the history of race, the role of the intellectual, the urban challenges of the automobile, the birth of the modern American magazine, and questions of conservation and creative destruction in cities will all be considered through readings of key novels and critical texts from what Time Magazine editor Henry Luce famously called The American Century.
|EN692 - Early Modern Literature 1500-1700||30|
This module offers a survey of early modern literature from 1500 to 1700. Looking at a wide range of literature including poetry, prose and drama, students will consider the relationship between literary debate and form on the one hand, and political change, social identity and religious transformation on the other. We will consider how important debates surrounding political, social, gender and religious identity inflect and are reflected in the literature of the period, including works by Baldwin, Shakespeare, Donne, Lanyer, Marvell, Milton, Katherine Phillips, Behn and Pepys. Students will explore the boundaries of the literary canon, encountering pamphlets, petitions, sermons and conduct books, for example and consider the ways in which literary and non-literary texts both mirror and influence culture and society.
|EN694 - Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama||30|
The drama of early modern England broke new literary and dramatic ground. This module will focus on key plays across the period. It will explore the development of dramatic writing, the status of playing companies within the London theatres, drama's links to court entertainment and its relationship to the provinces. Dramatic and literary form will be a central preoccupation alongside issues of characterisation, culture, politics, and gender. Shakespeare's work will be put into context in relation to the plays of his contemporary dramatists as well as the various cultural, historical and material circumstances that influenced the composition, performance and publication of drama in early modern England.
|EN695 - Empire, New Nations and Migration||30|
This course will introduce students to the field of postcolonial literature, focusing on the period from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The module will be divided into three consecutive areas: empire and colonisation (three weeks); liberation movements and the processes of decolonisation (either three or four weeks); and migration and diaspora (either three or four weeks). Centred primarily on canonical British colonial texts, the first part of the course may also involve comparison with other less familiar texts and contexts, such as those of Zionist nationalism and settler colonialism, or more popular twentieth-century imperial fantasy and adventure genres. The texts in the second part of the module will be drawn primarily from Africa, the Carribean, the Middle East, and South Asia. The intention is to allow students to bring these disparate regions and texts into a productive dialogue with each other by reflecting on their shared history of decolonisation and their common engagement with colonial and liberation discourses. The course further aims to sketch a narrative of empire and decolonisation that is in part relevant to contemporary postcolonial Britain, to which the final section on migration and diaspora then returns. Some brief extracts from theoretical material on colonial discourse analysis, decolonisation, postcoloniality and migration will be considered alongside a single primary text each week. Students will be introduced to key ideas from the work of (among others) Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, Stuart Hall and Gayatri Spivak. Together with a broad primary textual arc stretching from the British empire to postcolonial Britain, the course will thus give students a cohesive intellectual narrative with which to explore changing conceptions of culture, history, and postcolonial identity across the modern world.
|EN697 - Chaucer and Late Medieval English Literature||30|
This course introduces students to a range of writings from the late medieval and Tudor period. It focuses on a number of central genres in English writing that emerge between the late fourteenth and early sixteenth centuries, including romance, fabliaux, satirical, and religious writing. The course is designed to introduce a genre or theme with reference to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and his other writings, especially his lyrics and shorter poetry, thus allowing this accessible author to initiate the students in issues that will be pertinent in respect of less familiar writers and writings.
The themes and theories covered by the course will vary from year to year in response to the lecture programme and to the emphases made by individual teachers, but they will include such topics as authorship, reading, patronage, translation, gender, sexuality, iconography, piety, personal identity, imagination, historicism, legend, medievalism, representation, audience, and the move from manuscript to print.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
You spend your year abroad at one of our partner universities. Previous destinations include: North America, Asia and Europe. To be eligible for the year abroad, you need to achieve an average of 60% or more at the end of Stage 1 and adhere to any progression requirements in Stage 2.
The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.
|Possible modules may include||Credits|
|HU503 - Humanities Study Abroad Module (Year)||120|
Spending a period as full-time student at an overseas university, students will follow teaching and tuition in their own subject areas as well as choosing from a range of available courses in the Humanities. The curriculum will vary according to the partner institutions. Additionally, students will usually be offered to take language classes and/or courses on the culture of the host country.
|Possible modules may include||Credits|
|EN671 - Writing the Past: Approaches to the Historical Novel||30|
This module will investigate the theory and practice of writing contemporary historical fiction. For the first half of the term students will be exposed to a variety of stimulating contemporary novels and encouraged to make connections between them and assess the ways in which they engage with the historical period(s) in which they are set, and the ways in which history is (re)presented. We will analyse approaches to research; the use and incorporation of other texts and the engagement with historical prose styles; the difference between fictionalised history (Wolf Hall), fiction with an historical setting (Ulverton, The Little Stranger), and fiction which incorporates real historical figures into a fictional world (Coming through Slaughter, How to be Both); the ways in which the past is refigured in the present, the ways in which the past might speak to the present, and the boundaries between fiction and history. Students will be asked to consider the ways in which authors use form and voice to interrogate the possibility of representing history, and the limitations of the attempt to do so. We will consider how postmodernism has impacted on questions of narrative and historiography. Alongside these theoretical and critical questions, students will be encouraged to develop a robust approach to research.
In the second half of the term students will build upon the writing exercises and research of the first half, to work on the introductory chapters to their own novels. Regular writing workshops will encourage students to share ideas and work in progress; and technical skills sessions will encourage them to experiment with punctuation, metaphor, voice and viewpoint, as well as considering how they might incorporate their research into their writing. We will consider different structural approaches and students will be encouraged to find innovative ways to address their chosen historical material.
|EN663 - The Book Project||30|
Ever wanted to write and publish a work of fiction or poetry? The Book Project is your chance to have as close an experience as possible of what it might be like to publish a small book of creative writing in a genre of your choice. The main emphasis will be on producing a body of creative work through workshop and background readings, where we will look at all sorts of topics current in publishing, from vanity publishing to the web. We will then publish your work using professional print-on-demand technology to create your own book with full-colour cover, for the launch of these publications at an end of term launch event.
|EN664 - Wrestling with Angels: Writing the Prose Poem||30|
This module is for poets, prose writers, and those who can't decide! Through an exploration of the boundaries between prose and poetry in theory and in practice, it aims to extend the creative possibilities of your writing. Along the way we will analyse rhythm, voice and character, imagery, symbol and metaphor, the role of the reader -- and how all these work in and out of poetic and prose conventions. Through exercises, workshops and tutorials you will be encouraged to experiment with writing your own cross-boundary work and to produce a portfolio of prose poems for assessment. The first half of the module will consist of an investigation of historical and contemporary models of prose poetry, alongside writing exercises. The second half of term will be devoted to the development of your own work via writing workshops and tutorials.
|EN683 - Passport to Oblivion: Writing Self into History||30|
Memory is the point in which time, place and the Self intersect. Since all three elements are in constant movement, memories are neither permanent nor reliable. Why, then, write down our memories? Is it an effort to turn them into accurate points that should mark the locus of a certain plateau in our consciousness? Is it an attempt to write the (private) Self into (collective) history? By writing memory, and adding personal perspectiveare we creating another layer of distortion, or are we peeling the onion? When we delegate our memory to paper, do we reinforce it or do we abdicate our responsibilities? Is memoir just another name for passport to oblivion?
During the first half of the term students will delve into several major works, which should give them historical perspective and show them some of the possible approaches to writing private history.
They will be introduced to different kinds of autobiographical writing: from works written by the protagonists of major historical events, to recollections of the non-famous people; from texts rich in political connotations and critique of the regime, to celebrity memoirs and the escapism they offer; from traditional forms of memoirs to fragmentary writing, writing in instalments, and graphic narratives. Students will learn about memoirs as political weapons and how they have been used through history. They will also be encouraged to critically evaluate and examine the most recent forms of life writing, such as blogging and micro-blogging, and social media.
In the second half of the term, students will work on a major piece of life writing. They will be expected to produce a manuscript dealing with a specific experience or part of their lives.
|EN691 - A Throw of the Dice: Gambling, Gaming & Fiction||30|
This module will look at fiction that has taken games, gaming and/or gambling as a subject, as well as fiction that has used elements of these pursuits to develop a system of rules to determine its own form. At the heart of all this is a dualism of game and play; or, to put it another way, law and freedom.
For the first half of the term students will be exposed to a variety of novels and short stories, and will be encouraged to assess the ways in which these fictions incorporate the subject matter of gaming and gambling and chance in the context of contemporary society and ideology; and, how authors have employed these elements for, for example, plot points and character development. We will begin in the nineteenth century (Heathcliff wins the deeds to Wuthering Heights in a game of cards; in The Queen of Spades, Pushkin's theme of the arrogance of a player who thinks he can triumph over the game being inevitably punished by madness and death is one that would be later explored by Nabokov) and move through to the present day. We will look at experiments with narrative and form and take in computer-game narrative along the way.
In the second half of the term students will build upon the writing exercises and reading of the first half, to work on producing their own fiction. Regular writing workshops will encourage students to share ideas and work in progress; and technical skills sessions will encourage them to experiment with grammar, structure, voice and theme, working, if not along the lines of, at least in the light of, the different thematic approaches and investigations of the work they have been reading.
|EN632 - Reading and Writing The Innovative Contemporary Novel||30|
This module will investigate the theory and practice of innovation in the contemporary novel. For the first half of the term students will be exposed to a variety of stimulating contemporary novels and encouraged to make connections between them and assess the ways in which they incorporate innovative devices. The module will prompt students to think about the boundaries and limits of fiction and the novel, reading a series of innovative and genre-defying texts including Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter, Speedboat by Renata Adler, and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. The latter novel, due to its complexity and length, will be read over a period of several weeks. Via other texts on the reading lists, students will also consider concepts such as 'metafiction' and postmodernism and interrogate the usefulness of such terms. Other innovative techniques will also be assessed, for example the metafictional use of implausibility (Coe, Ballard) and the existence of real texts within fictional texts (Barker and others).
In the second half of the term the focus will shift as students begin work on the introductory chapters to their own novels. Regular writing workshops will encourage students to share ideas and work in progress; and technical skills sessions will encourage them to experiment with punctuation, metaphor, voice and viewpoint. We will also consider the structural choices made by novelists, and compare various methods of putting a text together (David Mitchell, Lucy Ellmann, Paul Auster). We will conclude by considering possible directions in which innovation may develop, and whether such techniques are still useful or relevant for the practising writer today.
|EN633 - Bodies of Evidence: Reading The Body In Eighteenth Century Literature||30|
This module explores the eighteenth century fascination with bodies and the truths (or lies) bodies were supposed to reveal. Our focus will be on the ways in which the body is read and constructed in eighteenth-century literature and how these readings and constructions reflect various concerns about class, race, gender and sexuality. Efforts to regulate the body (particularly the female, plebeian and racialised body) became the focus of many reformers and philanthropists in the period who sought to recuperate the productive (and reproductive) labour of idle or transgressive bodies to serve the nation's moral and financial economies. Other writers, however, emphasised the body's potential to work against social and cultural norms, focusing on events such as the masquerade, in which women dressed as men and aristocrats as chimney sweeps.
Through the course of this module we will examine a range of literary representations of the body which seek both the control the body and to celebrate its disruptive potential. We will read texts from a variety of genres including medical literature, misogynist satire, sentimental novels, popular fiction, travel writing and pornography. Primary texts will be read alongside recent critical work by Thomas Lacquer, Michel Foucault, Roy Porter, and Peter Stallybrass and Allon White, which illuminate the ideological stakes writers played for when writing about the body. Topics for discussion will include disability and deformity, race, the sentimental body, dress and the body, the body as text and the relationship between the body and the body politic. The primary focus of this option will be literature, but we will also examine visual representations of the body in caricature and satire as well as in the portraiture.
|EN655 - Places and Journeys||30|
This module explores places and journeys shaped by key modern historical processes: migration, travel, immigration, dispossession, colonial conquest, and post-colonial independence. From immigrant arrival and dislocation to national journeys and political fantasy, the course explores connections between journeys, locations, and literary production. The main objective is to think about places and journeys as sites and processes of negotiation and contradiction, convergence and discord, clash and reconciliation. Specific locations include: London, East Africa, and the Caribbean. Writers and texts include: Merle Collins (Angel), Naguib Mahfouz (Cairo Modern), Jean Rhys (Voyage in the Dark), and Sam Selvon (The Lonely Londoners).
|EN657 - The Brontes in Context||30|
While the so-called Brontë myth remains potent in popular culture today, the lives-and-works model associated with it continues to encourage readers to seek partially concealed Brontë sisters in their fictions. Beginning and ending with the problematic of mythmaking its origins in Gaskells 'Life of Charlotte Brontë' and its subsequent perpetuation in film and other rewritings - this module will restore attention to the rich literary contribution made by the sisters through an intensive focus on their novels and selected poetry in the context of Victorian debates about gender and the woman question. Situating the Brontë myth in relation to other forms of mythmaking in the period (for example, ideologies of class, gender and empire), it will consider a small selection of film adaptations and go on to examine the Brontëss experiments with narrative voice and form, their variations upon the novel of education, the tensions between romance and realism in their writing and their engagement with religious and philosophical questions as well with the political, economic and social conditions of women in mid-Victorian culture. We will also consider a range of modern creative and critical engagements with the Brontës' literary works..
|EN658 - American Crime Fiction||30|
This module explores the history and practice of crime fiction in the United States from
Edgar Allan Poe in the 1840s through to the present day. Crime fiction will be understood
broadly to encompass a range of generic categories such as detective, hardboiled and
police procedural novels and stories. Attention will also be paid to developments in cinema
and television which parallel those in fiction, such as film noir and the contemporary cop
series. Strong emphasis will be placed on historically informed reading and students will be
encouraged to relate the close analysis of texts to shifts in narrative form as well as the
establishment and transgression of generic conventions.
The study of American crime fiction reaches directly into the heart of many of the key
concerns of undergraduate English. Questions about the distinctions between high and low
culture, the seductiveness of particular narrative forms, and dialectic relations between
literary and social history will all be addressed. Students will have the opportunity to read
crime fiction alongside elements of Marxist, narrative and genre theory. Eventually they will
be able to consider how crime fiction has evolved in its engagement with questions of
race, gender and sexuality in the United States, from the construction of white masculinity in the hardboiled genre to the policing of black communities in the neoliberal city.
|EN659 - Contemporary Irish Writing||30|
Much Irish writing in the 20th and 21st centuries has been torn between tradition and innovation, between the need to define a national identity in opposition to Britain and the desire to transcend national boundaries and embrace a cosmopolitan modernity. With four nobel laureates in the 20th century (Yeats, Shaw, Beckett, Heaney), modern Irish literature has gained international recognition. In recent years, Irish Literature has undergone surprising changes in theme and content, moving from the insularity of parochialism to the emergence of the 'Global Irish novel". The charting of this development will provide an important framework for the discussion in this module of recurrent issues in Irish writing, such as history, cultural memory, violence and society, queer sexualities and gender relations, national and cultural identities, and the negotiation of what the historian Roy Foster has called the 'varieties of Irishness'. The module will consider a broad variety of Irish writing from 1975 to 2014: sampling significant developments in poetry, drama and prose.
|EN660 - Writing Lives in Early Modern England: Diaries, Letters and Secret Selv||30|
This module introduces students to the variety of sources which are available for exploring early modern life writing. In a period described as 'early modern' partly because of its perceived development away from medieval notions of identity and towards a properly modern subjectivity, this module offers students an opportunity to explore a theoretical concept through its manifestations in literary and material form. Studying better- against less well-known texts (e.g. Hamlet, Anne Cliffords Diary; early modern wills), and literary works alongside more pragmatic writings, the module will consider such questions as the nature of writing; the status of individuality; the forms which identity might take; and the intended audience for such works in this period. Exploring the nature of early modern private lives, it will examine their key influences, such as literacy, gender and spiritual identity.
|EN661 - The Stranger||30|
This course explores the intersections between nation, narration and globalisation in the twentieth and twenty-first century novel. It will focus this exploration through textual representations of 'the stranger', a figure theorised since the beginning of the twentieth century as symptomatic of modernity in European cultures, and more recently by postcolonial critics as the paradigm through which the effects of globalisation are encountered in contemporary multicultural national and transnational spaces. Students will be encouraged to analyse the historical and conceptual relations between novel and nation and the particular ways in which the body of the stranger has been reified through them. At the same time, they will be invited to consider the stranger as a disorientating embodiment of distance and proximity, and to evaluate how this dynamic constructs and deconstructs the form and boundaries of the novel as a genre, and the surrounding familial, national and racial paradigms of belonging. Through discussions of the theoretical work of writers such as Georg Simmel, Freud, Fanon, Edward Said, Judith Butler, Zygmunt Bauman, and Homi Bhabha, students will be asked especially to consider the mutual effects of estrangement across gendered, racial, and colonial divides. The broad aims of the course are to problematise the stranger as a literary means of orientating the individual and the nation; to situate the twentieth and twenty-first century novel as a symptomatic site for strange encounters; and to understand the extent to which it poses strangeness and homeliness as inseparable, necessary and possible acts of narration.
|EN580 - Charles Dickens and Victorian England||30|
This module gives an opportunity for intensive study of one of the major novelists of Victorian England. There are many different views and interpretations of Dickens circulating in our culture. He has been dismissed as a writer of cosy sentimentality, celebrated as a radical critic of his age, and admired for his prodigious output and creative innovation.
Studying a selection of his fiction, we will consider a wide variety of interpretations, in the light of the most current literary criticism of Dickens's works. We will analyse Dickenss texts in terms of narrative method, genre, characterisation, imagery and book history and in the process we will examine how the novels respond to, or challenge, significant aspects of Victorian culture and society such as class, gender, family, nation, childhood, the city, empire, industrialisation, and modernity.
|EN583 - Postcolonial Writing||30|
The module raises students' awareness of contemporary issues in postcolonial writing, and the debates around them. This includes a selection of important postcolonial texts (which often happen to be major contemporary writing in English) and studies their narrative practice and their reading of contemporary culture. It focuses on issues such as the construction of historical narratives of nation, on identity and gender in the aftermath of globalisation and 'diaspora, and on the problems associated with creating a discourse about these texts.
|EN588 - Innovation and Experiment in New York, 1945-2015||30|
The module is structured around poetry and fiction produced in New York since the Second World War. The emphasis is on New York's experimental and avant-garde traditions, and one organising principle is the inter-connectedness of the arts in New York. The module introduces students to some of the main areas of culture in the city, from the New York school of poetry through Abstract Expressionism, early Punk and on to post-modern fiction. Writers to be studied will include John Cage, Barbara Guest, William Burroughs, John Ashbery, Patti Smith and Paul Auster.
|EN604 - The Unknown: Reading and Writing||30|
The Unknown asks you to think creatively and analytically and to learn by a combination of careful reading and experimental writing. You will be able to read a variety of important literary and critical texts published over the last 200 years mostly in the last 50 years. You will be asked to use the skills of critical analysis and close reading developed elsewhere in your degree in new ways and to take a fresh look at the study of literature. The course draws on the ideas writers have about writing, as well as on psychoanalysis, literary theory, fiction, poetry, drama and film. It asks you to think deeply about how, and why, you read and write.
|EN684 - Clouds, Waves & Crows: Writing the Natural, 1800 to the Present||30|
This module will look at a variety of texts, in a variety of forms, from the early nineteenth century to the present. The poems, essays, novels, films, paintings and autobiographies all engage with and question our relationship to the world around us. They sometimes look at nature, but more often ask what it is, what do we use it for, what is our relationship to it, what does it mean for us, what do we make it mean and to what ends, or what is the role that language plays in creating or representing our role in the world? Moreover, while nature may be seen to be something 'out there' the module seeks to ask how it is connected to our understanding of identity, history, or sexuality.
The module is not arranged around primary creative texts, and their theoretical accompaniments, but has a more ecological approach to the idea of the creative/critical boundary which means that some weeks core texts may be theoretical ones (such as John Grays Straw Dogs). This approach is reflected in the modes of assessment where students are invited to produce either two essays, or one traditionally critical one, and one work of creative non-fiction that may encompass aspects of memoir, poetry, psychogeography or philosophy.
|EN666 - From Book to Blog: Geoffrey Chaucer and his Afterlives||30|
This module will trace the development of Chaucers literary reputation from his own attempts to forge an authorial legacy to his posthumous instantiation as The Father of English Poetry. Some of the works of a generation of fifteenth-century followers who addressed Chaucer as a pioneer in vernacular poetry will be read alongside their adaptations of Chaucerian texts and literary techniques. The module will also explore the Chaucerian apocrypha, and assess what these additions to Chaucers literary corpus tell us about the authors fifteenth-century reception. The module will go on to follow some of the history of Chaucer in print, before assessing more modern appropriations of Chaucer in cinema, television and online media.
|EN667 - Harlem to Hogan's Alley: Black Writing in North America||30|
This module will bring together works of poetry and fiction by a number of black writers in the USA and Canada in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With a particular emphasis on migration, music, and urban space, we will explore the intellectual, political, and aesthetic imperatives that drive these writers to address questions of race, ethnicity, gender, belonging, representation, poverty, privilege, and trauma.
Beginning in Harlem in the 1920s, the moment when the Negro was in vogue, students will examine the ways in which black Americans and Canadians have sought to make their impact on the literary landscape, by turns exposing and employing the power structures of the dominant culture. This comparative look at US and Canadian literatures, however, also challenges students to scrutinize the construction of literary and other categories, and to consider the commonality and distinctive difference between black experience north and south of the 49th parallel.
Lectures/workshops will emphasise discussion of key moments and movements in African American / African Canadian arts; the significance of linguistic distinctiveness; the cultural self-categorisation of black, African American, Africadian and Halfrican identities; and the rise of African American literary theory.
|EN668 - Discovery Space: New Theatres in Early Modern England||30|
This module introduces students to the drama of Shakespeare's time, thinking in particular about the new theatrical buildings and the discoveries they made possible. The module encourages independent study and is consequently built around student interests as they develop their own research questions and essay topic.
This period saw the emergence of the first permanent purpose built playhouses, and the development of the theatre industry. We will consider how the conditions of performance and production such as playhouse architecture, the reportorial system, printing, censorship and Londons changing urban environment affected playwrights, actors and audiences. Reading a range of playwrights, students will get a sense of the main trends which shaped the drama of the time, contextualising their understanding of canonical writers such as Shakespeare. Students will also engage with the current developments in early modern theatre history and the ways in which thinking about authorship, staging, printing and other key concepts from the period has altered over the last fifty years. As part of this work, we will examine the phenomena of modern reconstructed playhouses such as Shakespeares Globe, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and the American Shakespeare Centres Blackfriars, asking what - if anything - modern performance in these spaces can tell us about early modern practices.
Office hours will support students in their independent work towards a long essay, whilst weekly two hour seminars will emphasise key moments in the period which will inform the individual interests of all students. Alongside the weekly seminar, the third hour of teaching will be used for workshops, screenings, directed reading/research group meetings and field tips.
|EN669 - Marriage, Desire and Divorce in Early Modern Literature||30|
This module focuses on the theory and practice of marriage and divorce in early modern England and its treatment in the literature of the period. Examining a wide range of texts (drama, poetry, prose works and domestic handbooks alongside documentary sources such as wills, legal records and letters), it will explore the ways in which representations of marriage and its breakdown both reflected and informed the roles of men and women in early modern society. The relationships between discourses about gender, politics and the historical evidence about men and women's married lives in the period will be explored both through reading in the extensive secondary literature of gender, women's history and masculinity as well as through the study of primary sources such as wills, court records, advice books, popular literature (ballads and pamphlets, for example), literary texts (poems, plays and tracts), diaries and personal memoirs and material objects such as wedding rings and scolds bridles, for example. From Shakespeare and Fletcher's dramas of happy and unhappy marriage and Spenser's poetry of marital bliss, to argument surrounding men and women's roles in marriage in the poetry and pamphlets of Milton and his contemporaries, we will also go in search of the personal accounts of women and men's experiences of marriage and its breakdown and the material artefacts which are testament to them.
|EN701 - The Global Eighteenth Century||30|
This module encourages exploration of British interactions with the world beyond Europe during the eighteenth century. The so-called Orient and the New World became sites of exchange but also domination. New hybrid cultural forms emerged from these exchanges and appropriations. We will investigate a variety of texts that depict non-European people and places, as well as texts written by foreign and colonial peoples, to arrive at a critical understanding of cross-cultural and transnational influences at home and abroad. We will address and debate such topics as 'Cosmopolitanism in the Eighteenth Century', Foreign Influence on British Identity, Sympathy and Sensibility, The Material Culture of Empire, Exoticism, Poetics of Slavery, The Black Atlantic, and Transatlantic Culture. Students taking this module will gain a firm grounding in the postcolonial study of eighteenth-century literature and the ethical and political implications of these texts and the ways in which we choose to approach them.
|EN708 - Virginia Woolf||30|
This module examines the development of Virginia Woolf's writing across the span of her life. It explores Woolfs 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, Woolfs 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.
|EN709 - Animals, Humans, Writing||30|
What is the relationship between 'animal' and 'human', and how is this explored through writing? This module seeks to examine creaturely relations by focusing on literature from the early 19th century up to the present, alongside key theoretical and contextual material that engages with questions concerning animality and humanity. We will focus on how writers imagine distinct animal worlds as well as how they understand the role of animals in human cultures. A range of novels, short stories and poems will raise questions about how we look at, think with, and try to give voice to animals, and topics covered will include 'Becoming Animal', 'Listening to Animals', 'Animal Experiments' and 'Tasting Animals'. Students taking this module will gain a firm grounding in the diverse critical field known as 'animal studies', whilst also considering the broader cultural, philosophical and ethical implications of how we think about the relationship between humans and animals.
|EN713 - The New Woman: 1880-1920||30|
The New Woman, a controversial figure who became prominent in British literature in the late nineteenth century, challenged traditional views of femininity and represented a more radical understanding of women's nature and role in society. She was associated with a range of unconventional behaviour from smoking and bicycle-riding to sexuality outside marriage and political activism. This module will examine some of the key literary texts identified with the New Woman phenomenon including women's journalism in the period. The module's reading will be organised around central thematic concerns such as: sexuality and motherhood; suffrage and politics; career and creativity. We will consider to what extent the New Woman was a media construction or whether the term reflected the lives of progressive women in the period. This module will also examine how the New Woman became a global phenomenon, beginning with the plays of Henrik Ibsen, before spreading to literature produced around the world by writers from Britain (eg Amy Levy, Evelyn Sharp) America (Charlotte Perkins Gilman), Australia (George Egerton), and New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield). The module will also consider the legacy of the New Woman into the early modernist period, through studying Virginia Woolfs novel that depicts the suffrage movement, Night and Day.
|EN714 - Utopia: Philosophy and Literature||30|
The module examines some key texts in the theory and literary presentation of utopia. In the first part of the module we will examine classic early utopian texts (Plato, More) and will set these in the context of the modern theory of historical progress (Hegel) the failure of that progress to materialise (Agamben) and the nature of hope for the future (Bloch). In the second part of the module, we will examine modern classics which look at the failure of the communist utopia (Zamyatin, Huxley, Orwell) and at later texts which revived the genre of utopia (LeGuin, Atwood).
|EN717 - The Graphic Novel||30|
This module focuses on the exploration of the graphic novel as a visual and literary medium. The module will interpret the term graphic novel broadly, and incorporate discussions of comic books, political cartoons, as well as film and television adaptations as a part of its curriculum. The module will begin with an examination of the more mature aesthetic that became increasingly popular for graphic novels during the late 1980s, and examine how these developments have continued to evolve to the present day. Strong emphasis will be placed on readings informed by sociological and political discourses. Students will be encouraged to relate their close analysis of texts to topics such as the distinctions between art and popular culture, and the connections between literary and social history, as well as contemporary concerns such as identity politics, neo-liberal capitalism, protest, and anarchy. As such, the module will demonstrate how the study of graphic novels directly relates to several key concerns in the study of undergraduate English.
|EN722 - Global Capitalism and the Novel||30|
This module examines the relationship between global capitalism and the novel since the 1980s. By arguing for the centrality of capital and class in the understanding of contemporary post-colonial literature, it reveals how a vibrant global realism has emerged that speaks to the new urban realities of massive rural migration to the city, exploding slum life, and more polarized class inequalities in the global South. It will explore how neoliberal globalization both makes possible and is critiqued by new realist narratives of abjection and resistance from across the global South, especially from India, Nigeria, South Africa, Martinique, Chile, and Egypt.
|EN723 - The Gothic: Origins and Exhumations, 1800 to the Present||30|
This module explores the Gothic from its eighteenth-century origins to its present-day incarnations, examining in particular the conventions that have allowed this diverse and evolving genre to remain at once relevant and recognisable. The course focuses on the elements of terror, hauntings and transgressions and how these conventions are deployed and reworked by writers in key literary and historical moments in the genre's development, such as at the end of the end of the eighteenth century, the fin de siècle, post-war America and the millennium. It asks students to consider the Gothic within the social, political and cultural contexts that inform the novels various concerns about gender, sexuality, race, class and the law. There will be a strong emphasis on examining and exploring the theoretical discourses underpinning the shifts and developments in the major critical debates and trends. Students will be encouraged to relate textual and critical analysis to topics such as aesthetics, popular culture and literature, religion, social and political history as well as contemporary concerns such as marginalization, queer identity, the body and immigration. The module will demonstrate the ongoing significance of the Gothic as an experimental and evolving form that functions as a vehicle for political and social critiques and, as such, relates to concerns central to the study of undergraduate English and American literature.
|EN724 - Holy Lives, Horrid Deaths: Medieval Saints and their Cults||30|
The module provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the important medieval genre of hagiography, and to place it within changing contexts of scholarly reception. While the main focus will be upon written saints' lives, students will also be encouraged to consider visual and material evidence (wall paintings, stained glass, manuscript illustrations, the cult of relics). Materials from across Europe (where written, in translation) may be studied for comparative purposes. The module will be structured around a series of themes, which might include: local (Kentish) saints; gender; miracle-working; and patronage. These may vary from year to year.
|EN676 - Cross-Cultural Coming-of-Age Narratives||30|
If the Bildungsroman has been criticised for being outmoded and conservative, how do contemporary writers interrogate and expand its scope and importance? Are coming-of-age narratives merely private stories or can they be read in ways which highlight their social functions, and what kind of theoretical, aesthetic and cultural perspectives can we apply to scrutinise these functions? This module will bring together a range of texts and films from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that can be read within and against the literary tradition of the Bildungsroman or the coming-of-age narrative. Drawing on material from the US, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe, we will spend time analysing the representation of the coming-of-age experience in terms of content and form and assess the ideological functions of the Bildungsroman in a cross-cultural context. Particular attention will be given to questions of racial and ethnic identity, migration, colonialism, memory, trauma, belonging and sexuality. We will also explore the connection of the Bildungsroman with genres such as autobiography, family memoir, young adult fiction, graphic novel, and film. Writers studied in this module include Richard Wright, Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Cisneros, Sherman Alexie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Marjane Satrapi, and we will watch films including My Beautiful Laundrette and Bend it Like Beckham.
Teaching and assessment
Modules are taught by weekly seminars. Compulsory modules include a weekly lecture, with individual supervision offered for the Long Essay. Assessment at Stage 1 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.
The programme aims to:
- introduce you to a range of predominantly British and American literatures, and study them both as literature and as sources of technical expertise, inspiration and best practice in their own writing
- enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary traditions and place your own endeavour within that tradition
- develop your understanding, critical appreciation and practical powers of application of the expressive resources of language
- offer sustained opportunities for you to discover and develop your potential for creative writing in more than one generic area
- offer generous scope for the study of literature and creative writing within an interdisciplinary context
- develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form
- develop your ability to assimilate and organise a mass of diverse information
- offer you the experience of a variety of teaching styles and approaches to the study of literature and contemporary writing
- develop your independent critical thinking, judgement, originality and self-reliance
- provide a basis for the study of English, creative writing or related disciplines at a higher level
- provide a basis for future creative writing in a number of different genres
- provide a basis in knowledge and skills for those intending to teach English literature and/or creative writing
- provide the opportunity to experience another culture’s approaches to English and American literature and creative writing
- if studying in continental Europe, to develop the ability to communicate in another language, in part through the provision of language modules at the host University.
Knowledge and understanding
You develop knowledge and understanding of:
- a wide range of authors and texts from different periods of literary history, in both British and American literature
- the principal literary genres, fiction, poetry, drama and of other kinds of writing and communication; insight into the varying demands imposed by their written production
- the challenges involved in producing original imaginative writing as they relate to several different genres
- literatures in English from countries outside Britain and America
- traditions in literary criticism and their relationship with creative writing
- terminology used in literary criticism
- the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read
- critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
- literary criticism as a practice subject to considerable variation of approach.
You develop the following intellectual skills:
- application of the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
- evaluation of critical interpretations
- ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of critical theory and general methodology; ability to synthesise material from a number of sources in a coherent creative whole
- ability to make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge or of a body of creative material
- exercise of problem-solving skills, especially in the context of creative writing
- the ability to organise and present research findings
- the ability to frame oral criticism of creative work sensitively and constructively and to digest it to good effect.
You develop the following subject-specific skills:
- enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary texts and written creative work in progress
- ability to structure and edit original creative work
- informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature and contemporary writing
- ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to the study of literature and technical alternatives and their implications in the context of creative writing
- sensitivity to generic conventions in the study of literature and to their implications for the practising writer
- very well-developed linguistic resourcefulness including attention to tone and register and a grasp of standard critical terminology
- articulate responsiveness to literary and other persuasive language
- appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, in particular in bibliographic and annotational practices
- appropriate professional practice in the presentation of creative work, in particular in formatting and normal submission procedure
- understanding of how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
- appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.
You develop the following transferable skills:
- developed powers of communication and the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
- highly developed writing skills and enhanced fluency in creative, discursive and general communicative contexts
- enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas designed to stimulate critical debate
- enhanced confidence in the writing and presentation of original projects
- developed critical acumen and critical diagnostic skills
- the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information or creative material of diverse kinds
- competence in the planning and execution of essays and project-work and in the conception, planning, execution and editing of individual creative work
- enhanced capacity for independent thought, intellectual focus, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
- enhanced original creativity, imagination, judgement and powers of self-criticism
- enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual or creative work, including more finely tuned listening and questioning skills
- the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives
- the ability to respond to a variety of creative positions while sustaining confidence in your own
- research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
- IT skills: word-processing, email communication, the ability to access electronic data.
Our graduates have gone on to work in areas including:
- publishing and writing
- project management.
Our graduates include:
- Kazuo Ishiguro
- David Mitchell
- Sarah Waters.
Help finding a job
The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:
- apply for jobs
- write a good CV
- perform well in interviews.
Alongside specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:
- think critically
- communicate your ideas and opinions
- work independently and as part of a team.
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
For graduate prospects, English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 12th in The Guardian University Guide 2017 and English was ranked 14th in The Times Good University Guide 2017.
According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £18,000.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
|Qualification||Typical offer/minimum requirement|
ABB including English Literature or English Language and Literature grade B
|Access to HE Diploma||
The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis.
If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)||
The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.
34 points overall or 17 points at HL, including HL English A1/A2/B at 5/6/6 OR English Literature A/English Language and Literature A (or Literature A/Language and Literature A of another country) at HL 5 or SL 6
The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
Meet our staff in your country
For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
English Language Requirements
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
The 2018/19 entry tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
Your fee status
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
General additional costs
Fees for Year in Industry
For 2017/18 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,350. Fees for 2018/19 entry have not yet been set.
Fees for Year Abroad
UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay £1,350 for that year. Fees for 2018/19 entry have not yet been set.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.