Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Comparative Literature and English and American Literature - BA (Hons)

UCAS code QQF3

2018

Taking Comparative Literature alongside English and American Literature enables you to gain strong insight into literary cultures across the world, benefitting from expertise in both the School of European Culture and Languages and the School of English.

2018

Overview

In Comparative Literature, you have the opportunity to study texts ranging from Classical Antiquity to the present day in English translation, including works by such famous authors as Homer, Ovid, Dante, Goethe, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Flaubert, Proust and Kafka, as well as British classics such as Joyce and Woolf. 

English at Kent is challenging, flexible, and wide-ranging. It covers both traditional areas (such as Shakespeare or Dickens) and newer fields such as American literature, creative writing, postcolonial literature and recent developments in literary theory. The combination with Comparative Literature allows you to compare themes and figures across various different cultural backgrounds and to compare the works of English and American authors to European ones.

We also offer programmes with the opportunity to spend a year studying abroad in either America or Europe, where you can experience different cultures as well as different approaches to the study of literature first hand.

This degree programme enables you to tackle literature from a global perspective, unrestricted by continent or era.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2016, Comparative Literature at Kent was ranked 3rd for overall satisfaction and quality of teaching.

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This literary-critical module deals with a wide range of selected international tales ranging from antiquity to the present day. The module addresses issues such as the development of oral folktales and fairytales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairytales, as well as tales of the fantastic, 19th century art-tales and the modern short story.

The framework of discussion comprises a general survey of the issues that face the comparatist. In the course of the module students practice different methods of literary analysis, including close reading and comparative analysis by examining story-motifs and story-structures, and by considering symbolic meanings in the light of psychoanalytic concepts. Students also explore questions of transmission and transformation (e.g. how stories and motifs travel from one culture to another and alter in shape and emphasis) and questions of genre (for example the fantastic). A selection of critical texts on narrative devices and patterns, on psychoanalytical, structuralist and feminist approaches to the fairytale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.

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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 period’s 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.

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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 Elizabethan 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 at Years 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 drama's 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 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.

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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).

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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.

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The twentieth-century imagination was marked by a spirit of doubt, especially of the Enlightenment faith in reason's capacity to advance mankind to happiness and freedom. In this module will be discussed some classic fictional explorations of freedom and social, political, religious and racial oppression which have had an international impact. These texts will be read as works of literature in their own right as well as contextualised with the ideas they question and propagate: universal happiness, human liberation, and morality without God, personal and political freedom, the self and its responsibility.

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The 'knowledge of good and evil' is unique to human beings. It informs the individual's conscience and determines the moral systems on which societies are based. The violation of moral codes is expected to induce the experience of guilt, while the lack of any sense of guilt is considered to be psychopathic. As the manifestation of an internal, and sometimes also external, struggle of varying intensity, guilt is an almost universal concern of literary texts; as is the quest for redemption, the alleviation of guilt and despair – through atonement, forgiveness or denial. In this module, we will analyse and discuss literary texts which explore the frequently fuzzy edges of the experiences of guilt and redemption as a human quandary and as perceived against changing conceptions of morality. Texts included in the reading list engage with questions of personal and collective guilt incurred with hubris, cruelty, the violation of animal rights, and genocide, etc.

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Who and what is 'a child', and what is adolescence? This module examines the representation of childhood and adolescence in a cross-section of texts from modern literature within the context of World Literature studies. Students will pay close attention to the rhetoric and techniques of storytelling woven around these themes, as well as to relevant socio-political debates, while also examining how these specific texts function across cultures.

The module encourages students to find innovative approaches to the topic, and at the same time invites them to explore the relationship between literature and childhood and the joy of reading often associated with childhood and adolescence.

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This module will introduce students to a wide range of films produced in different European and Latin American countries between the late 1980s and the present day. The module will focus on prevailing trends and dominant themes in contemporary European and Hispanic cinemas. The aim is to make students aware of the place which cinema has played and continues to play in the cultural life of Europe and Latin America, its importance in establishing national and supra-national identity, and the ways in which international relations are expressed through film production. The module will begin with an overview of European and Latin American cinema, and then will be divided into geographically determined sections (United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Cuba) before being brought together again in the final conclusive lecture. The course is also designed to provide students with basic film terminology, as well as with basic tools for cultural analysis.

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This module focuses on the development of the Romantic movement in Britain, France, Germany and Russia. It begins with the work of eighteenth century writers such as Goethe and Rousseau, and then explores their influence upon British, French and German writers of the early Romantic period (Blake, Chateaubriand, Kleist). The middle part of the module mainly concentrates upon British Romantic poetry, grouped around themes such as art, nature, politics and identity. The final part of the module examines how Russian writers, such as Lermontov and Pushkin, responded to the legacy of their Western counterparts. There will also be exploration during the course of the module of sub-genres such as the Gothic (Walpole, Dacre, M. Shelley), the historical novel (Dumas) and the confession (de Quincey). The work of painters, such as Fuseli, Goya and Turner, will be available as a resource via Moodle.

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This module offers students a wide-ranging grounding in classical literature as a basis for the further study of Western literature within a comparative framework. Major works of ancient Greek and Roman literature are studied in order to enable students to appreciate the literary engagement with the following in the classical world: myth (including the stories of the Trojan War, Oedipus, Jason and Medea, and the founding of Rome); the relationship between human beings and the gods, between the sexes, and between the human and the animal; and the journey motif. Themes explored included sexuality, violence, conceptions of justice, metamorphosis, and madness. The module introduces students to some of the major genres of Western literature (tragedy, comedy, the epic), and considers how these were theorized by Aristotle. It also encourages students to reflect on questions of cultural transmission, and on why the myths represented in classical literature should have proved to be such a rich source for the literature of the West.

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This module introduces students to some of the most influential theories of World Literature, which are studied alongside a selection of literary examples. The theories include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's reflections formulated in the first decades of the nineteenth century. Goethe coined the term 'world literature' [Weltliteratur] to describe the international circulation and reception of literary works in Europe. In the course of the module, we reflect on the relationship between national literatures and world literature, and on the ways in which the literary market facilitates and complicates transnational exchanges of ideas. In addition, students are given the opportunity to hone their close reading skills by studying a selection of ancient and modern world creation myths. These include texts from the Near East, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The module offers students the unique opportunity to analyse in detail different ways in which cultural backgrounds can shape literary productions, and how stories, motifs and themes travel across national boundaries. In the course of the module, we discuss key literary terms and concepts, including fictionality, literariness, translation, the canon, and the various modes of reception and circulation that shape our understanding of world literature.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module looks at a group of politically inspired novels and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989, others deal with Latin American political unrest, the Middle East conflict and the Islamic revolution in Iran. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times'. But we will also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction with power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject and in which they participate. The approach is comparative in two senses as the texts range historically and culturally as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish)

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This course introduces students to the fiction (novels, novellas, and short stories) of some of the most influential twentieth- and twenty-first- century Latin American writers. The module ranges from Borges to the extraordinary literary phenomenon or explosion of the 'Boom generation', the post-Boom novel, and the recently acclaimed Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño (all studied in English translation). The course offers students the unique opportunity to study a fascinating corpus of literature celebrated for its creative innovation, fictional games, puzzles, labyrinths, fabulous and supernatural events, multiple storytellers, and magical realist writing. The course also addresses questions of gender, class, and social, cultural, and technological changes, as well as representations of identity, subjectivity, time, space, and landscape.

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This module investigates the representation of love, desire and the body in a selection of texts by women writers from different temporal, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In particular we will look at the way representations of love, desire and the body reflect the respective socio-cultural contexts and the situation of women therein, how these writers deal with themes such as love, desire and eroticism, and what aesthetic strategies they use to tackle them. What models of feminine behaviour are celebrated or criticised? To what extent are relevant representational conventions adhered to or transgressed in these works?

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for example provides a complex representation of a split and conflicted female identity, torn between demands of the body, passions, rages and desires, and the demands of the mind, the spirit and the intellect. This conflict is externalised in the form of the characters Bertha Mason and Helen Burns, alter egos which Jane has to overcome and reconcile. Jane Eyre will offer a useful touchstone for other representations of female figures caught between social conventions and desires, and their attempts to come to terms with them.

Students will be asked to engage with the siginificance of images and representations of women proliferated through literature. These representations provide or question role models, perpetuate or problematise stereotypical versions of feminine goals and aspirations. Furthermore, emphasis will be placed on close readings of the various works, and students will be asked to pay close attention to cultural differences and variations, and to examine how the conceptions and representations of love and desire changed in the course of time.

The selected fictions allow a comparative examination of a wide range of different perceptions by women writers of the body, of gender, identity, love, desire and sexuality and the way these reflect the respective wider ideological framework. Close readings of these texts are complemented by selected references to a body of feminist literary theory.

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The module examines the development of nineteenth-century European fiction against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution and its social and cultural effects. It argues that the emergence of realism, naturalism and decadence as literary movements constituted not only responses to social change but were also artistic revolutions in themselves. A representative selection of writers, including Balzac, Eliot, Zola and Huysmans, will be studied. The module will also make reference to poetry (Baudelaire, Swinburne) where necessary and to the visual arts of the period. Themes will include: modes of literary production, class and economic conditions, gender, sexuality and desire, science and technology, religion and aesthetics, and the social positions of men and women.

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This module is designed to give a theoretically-grounded understanding of Comparative Literature and its methods. Students will have an overview of the brief history, fundamental debates, theories and different areas of focus of the discipline of Comparative Literature, as well as learning about the important schools of literary theory that are relevant to Comparative Literature.

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This module introduces students to a range of nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century literary and cinematic representations of vampires from different cultural backgrounds. It explores the reasons for the abiding allure of the figure of the vampire both in popular culture and in literary fiction. The module examines the ways in which vampires function as polyvalent symbols of specifically modern preoccupations, for the emergence and popularity of vampire tales is intricately bound up with the advent and wider cultural ramifications of modernity. What do vampires represent in each of the works discussed, and what hidden desires and anxieties do they allow authors and filmmakers to express? The vampire is an allegorically highly potent figure which is suspended between life and death and between animal and human existence. Vampires frequently serve as foils to discuss more contentious matters, in particular questions relating to sexuality, gender roles, class, immortality and the desire for everlasting youth, being an outsider, and addiction. Texts and films to be studied include John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819), Théophile Gautier’s Clarimonde (1836), J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), F. W. Murnau’s and Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu adaptations (1922 and 1979), Angela Carter’s The Lady of the House of Love (1979), Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire (1994) and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (2005)

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The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'. This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize the Prix Goncourt (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, 'made it' into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies. (It links up logically with the C-level module CP321 Literature and Nationhood)

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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.

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When the Long Island-born poet Walt Whitman proclaimed in 1855 that the “United States” were history’s “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 Jefferson’s 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.

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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.

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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 enlightenment’s 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year abroad

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 can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

The award of literary prizes is a highly potent tool of cultural policy that frequently determines the wider national and international impact of a literary work. As such it is of crucial relevance to the study of comparative literature in a number of ways: the award of literary prizes reflects the beginnings of the successful or, as the case may be, the (ultimately) abortive formation of literary canons; moreover, it affords insights into processes of cultural production and marketing and reveals in which ways political and economic agendas are tied up with these processes; it also offers a perspective on transnational and transcultural aspects of the production and reception of literature and indicates shifting notions of the social function of literature and the writer; literature is thus understood as a cultural product in ever changing contexts which is frequently subject to external forces of which literary prizes become indicators or even 'enforcers'. This module will investigate with the methods of literary and cultural studies the development of a number of major literary awards which have achieved global significance, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Prize the Prix Goncourt (This list may be modified according to precedent to accommodate the topical relevance of individual award winners in the future.) Seminars will develop a historical perspective by scrutinising and analysing award winners of the past and their most recent counterparts in their different production and marketing contexts as well as in changing reception contexts: seminars will include the close reading of individual works as well as their critical reception, and the analysis of marketing strategies in various media (e.g. reports in culture magazines, reviews, displays in book shops, translations, etc.); final winners will be interpreted in the context of the respective long and short lists from which they emerged; historical developments will be taken into account, for instance by investigating 'forgotten' prize winners in comparison with those who, largely through the agency of academic intervention, 'made it' into the canon; the module thus also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of literary studies. (It links up logically with the C-level module CP321 Literature and Nationhood)

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15

This is a module about the intersection of colonial power relations, anti-colonialism, postcolonialism, feminism, and identity politics in literature from 1940 to 2010 which interrogates the influence of imperialism on a sense of self. It considers the writing of a number of women and men from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka in a range of genres from the Francophone and Anglophone traditions (short story, essay, novel, autobiography). In light of the complex relationship between coloniser and colonised, we consider the political activism of many of these writers, as well as the ways in which their politics are articulated in their writing, whether fiction or non-fiction. We also examine to what extent this literature is representative of other postcolonial concerns such as nationhood and national consciousness, hybridity and assimilation, and exile and alienation within the larger context of cultural theory. Particularly significant is our interrogation of the violence inscribed in both the colonial system and the colonised's fight for independence as seen from the psychoanalytical perspectives of Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), The Wretched of the Earth (1961). Studying the primary and secondary texts in English, we bring awareness to the reading scene of the translation process as an important development in the transnational study of comparative literature in our global world. In so Doing, we acknowledge the significance of indigenous languages and dialects as signifers of subjecthood in conflict with the coloniser's language. By exploring a variety of anti-colonial resistance and liberation discourses in relation to the development of current postcolonial thinking, the module also offers an insight into the history of the discipline of Colonial and Postcolonial studies.

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Since its inception in Ancient Greece and its first theorization by Aristotle in the Poetics, tragedy has been considered the highest literary genre, treating some of the most profound philosophical questions such as the limits of personal and social freedom, the relationship of the individual to society, and the nature of justice. This module will examine how the conventions of the genre were adapted to meet the challenges of representing new social conditions and understandings of reality from the late nineteenth century onwards. It will begin by exploring the innovations of naturalistic drama (Ibsen, Strindberg) before moving onto the 'high' Modernism of writers such as Beckett and Brecht, before concluding with the work of contemporary dramatists such as Churchill and Mamet. The module will also examine the work of modern and contemporary theorists of tragedy including Adorno, Nietzsche, Steiner, Szondi and Williams.

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Don Juan and Casanova are archetypes of the male seducer who, in the Western European tradition, stand for different interpretations of excessive passion. Don Juan hunts for virgins, nuns, and other women who are difficult to get (in that they belong to other men). Meticulously, he keeps record of his conquests. Casanova, in turn, was attracted to the easy accessibility of moments of intense pleasure, which, although within potential reach to all, only few knew how to enjoy. While Casanova slept with everyone but took interest in nobody, Don Juan's quest is also motivated by the hidden desire to find a woman that would be his equal. In this module we shall chart the metamorphoses of these two almost mythical figures since their emergence in seventeenth-century Spain and eighteenth-century Italy to explore the relationship between literature, music, film, and the erotic within different cultural and historical contexts. In our close analyses of plays, novellas, poems, philosophical texts, opera, and film, we will focus on notions of modern individualism in relation to narcissism and solitude. In addition, we shall also engage with theoretical concepts related to speech act theory (J.L. Austin’s How to do Things with Words), Judith Butler’s thoughts on gender as performance, Sigmund Freud’s observations on sexuality, and Jacques Lacan’s description of ego-constitution.

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How have twentieth-century writers across the world negotiated and appropriated Shakespeare’s omnipresent cultural influence? How have they revised, reinvented, and reimagined his legacy in Europe, Asia, and the Americas (North, Central, and South)? This module focuses on a selection of Shakespeare’s most influential plays (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest) in order to examine how their thematic, historical, and cultural concerns have been transplanted to a wide range of global locations including the Caribbean, Germany, Japan, a farm in the USA, and the Argentine Pampas. The module also engages with theoretical notions related to the act of appropriating Shakespeare, including the theory of intertextuality, the Benjaminian concept of the ‘afterlife’ of a text, and Genette’s study of the ‘palimpsest’ as a text derived from a pre-existent text. In addition, the module will reflect on issues of race, gender, and cultural identity embedded in the adaptations of the bard in the various world contexts in which his work has been complexly modernized and redeployed.

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This module will provide the opportunity for third year undergraduates to gain valuable transferable skills by giving them some first-hand teaching experience in a primary or secondary school classroom. Each student will spend half a day each week for one term in a local school under the supervision of a specific teacher, who will act as a mentor, and decide the tasks and responsibilities of the student. The weekly university sessions and school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions the students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, their role will be as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

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This module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We shall be looking at how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping such as Laclos’ 'Dangerous Liasions' and Henry James’ 'The Turn of the Screw', both of which have been adapted for the screen more than once. We shall also analyse lesser known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s short work ‘Dream Story’, filmed as 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Adaptations directed by widely recognised filmmakers such as De Sica, Max Ophuls, Kubrick and Pier Paolo Pasolini will also be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.

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This module explores the notions of exile, travel, migration, and displacement by focusing on an international corpus of nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts that concern the transnational movement of European and non-European writers across the globe. Migratory trajectories will be studied in relation to the specific historical and cultural contexts out of which the texts originated and that concern complex issues of race, identity, gender, and imperial history. Writers examined include Gustave Flaubert, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Marguerite Duras, Henri Michaux, Roberto Bolaño, Jack Kerouac, Gao Xingjian, and Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. The course aims to provide students with an international and comparative methodology for studying the phenomenon of travel, migration, and exile. Students will also be equipped with a critical framework that will allow them to interrogate and problematise Eurocentric and exoticizing perspectives of Asian, African, and Latin American countries, particularly what the critics Mary Louise Pratt and Edward Said have theorised as ‘imperial eyes’ and ‘Orientalism’ respectively.

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The module will begin with the study of some of the major avant-garde movements (including Expressionism, Futurism, Imagism, Vorticism, Dada, and Surrealism) that sprang up in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Students will read a range of short manifestos and literary works by Tristan Tzara, Filippo Marinetti, T. E. Hulme, Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, André Breton, and others. Once both the diversity and the international nature of modernism have been considered, students will go on to look in depth at a series of major modernist writers from different national backgrounds, and to identify what these writers share, what distinguishes them from one another, and, in some cases, what sets them in violent opposition. The aim here will be to give students a sense of the plurality of modernisms and the conflicts that were internal to the movement. Although the focus will be on some of the most significant individual works of modernist literature (for instance, Proust’s Swann’s Way, Kafka’s The Trial, Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Eliot’s The Waste Land), shorter texts, both literary and critical/theoretical, will also constitute the recommended reading in preparation for seminars. Seminal essays by major commentators on the modernist movement such as Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács, and Theodor Adorno will constitute part of the primary reading. The aim throughout will be to strike a balance between close reading and the consideration of the more general theoretical and political issues at stake in the modernist ‘revolution of the word’. Students will also be encouraged to explore the ways in which modernism finds expression in the visual arts, particularly in Expressionism, Cubism, and Abstraction.

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The module will begin by studying some of the major early postmodern writers such as Charles Olson and Alain Robbe-Grillet. This will be followed by a comparative analysis of second-generation postmodern literature in both Europe and the United States, including writers such as Italo Calvino and Thomas Pynchon. The module will also reference postmodern texts in other media such as film (the ‘Free Cinema’ movement) and the visual arts (most notably, Pop Art). Almost from its inception, postmodernism has been subject to theorization and to a highly charged debate over its status as either a radical and liberating movement or as a mere symptom of ‘late capitalism’ and a media-saturated culture in which ‘the medium is the message’. Students will study some of the key theoretical documents on the postmodern, including extracts from the work of Jean Baudrillard, Fredric Jameson and Jean-François Lyotard.

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In the immediate aftermath of the cataclysmic events of the Shoah, the philosopher and sociologist Theodor W. Adorno interrogated the meaning of 'culture' after the failure of culture. In contemporary discourse, the Shoah has long since been turned into a marketable icon of suffering. Indeed, the encroachment on the victims' memory of what has contentiously been called the 'Holocaust industry’ or, with a gruesome pun, ‘Shoah business’, is frequently perceived as threatening to pervert remembrance of this singular event in history. Ever since Adorno’s often quoted and frequently misunderstood ‘dictum’ that it is barbaric to write poetry ‘after Auschwitz’ (1949), a discussion about the value and the significance of the representation of the Shoah in cultural production has been engaged in. Many of the concerns focused on in this debate remain controversial, among them the questions of the memory of the Shoah and its medial representations, and of the potentially therapeutic value of confronting the emotional trauma of genocide in cultural production.

In this module, students will enter into these debates by enquiring into the ability of narrative, in literature, film and other forms of memorialisation, to represent the ‘unrepresentable’, by exploring the use of these narratives as ‘history’, and by investigating the so-called ‘Americanisation’ of the Shoah. In addition, they will enquire into the historical and cultural contexts of the Shoah.

In the first term particular emphasis will therefore be placed on the cultural and historical context of the ‘Jewish question’, including nationalism, race theory and anti-Semitism. Source material to be discussed in seminars will include excerpts from theoretical, (pseudo-)scientific writings, literary and legal texts and films which document the paradigm change from religious anti-Judaism to a primarily racially motivated anti-Semitism. This will be followed by discussions of the literature of testimony by survivors of the Shoah, of poetic responses to the Shoah and of ‘fabricated’ memory. The first term will be concluded by a discussion of early media coverage of the liberation of the concentration camp of Buchenwald and by Allied efforts of representing the Shoah as a means of effecting their policy of re-education in post-war Germany.

The second term will be focused on more recent forms of representation and memorialisation of the Shoah, concentrating especially on formal and medial variety and innovation as well as shifts of perspective.

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This module looks at a group of politically inspired literary texts, comics and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989. Others deal with the Middle East conflict, and the Islamic revolution in Iran and Mao's Cultural Revolution in China, or power relations in other contexts. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times'. But we also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction and power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject, in which they participate, and on which they reflect metafictionally. The approach is comparative in various ways as the texts range historically and culturally, as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Polish, Russian and Chinese)

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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.

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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 novel’s 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Woolf’s novel that depicts the suffrage movement, Night and Day.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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 Dickens’s 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 aristocrat’s 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.

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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).

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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 Gaskell’s '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 Brontës’s 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..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 London's 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 Shakespeare’s Globe, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and the American Shakespeare Centre’s Blackfriars, asking what - if anything - modern performance in these spaces can tell us about early modern practices.

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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 scold’s 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.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

Comparative Literature

For most modules, you have one two-hour seminar per week. The Final-Year Dissertation is based entirely on your private research but is supervised by a tutor and includes workshops and the chance to participate in an undergraduate conference. Assessment varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework, usually in the ratio 50:50 or 40:60.

Comparative Literature students can also choose to take a module that is linked to our SWIPE (Student Work in Progress Exposition) conference. SWIPE is an annual one-day conference organised by Comparative Literature students: it is a platform for our third-year students who give 15-minute presentations on their final-year dissertation projects. SWIPE is a fantastic experience for students, as they learn everything about planning, organising and running a conference, as well as about the art of preparing and giving professional conference presentations.

We also offer a module designed specifically for students who are planning to embark on a career in teaching: Comparative Literature and English & Linguistics in the Classroom.

English and American Literature

Modules are taught by weekly seminars. Core modules include a weekly lecture, plus individual supervision is 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.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Careers

Comparative Literature

Studying Comparative Literature and English and American Literature, you learn to think critically, develop the skills of close reading and effective communication, and gain confidence and experience in expressing your ideas. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the job market.

English and American Literature

Our graduates have found jobs in diverse areas including journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching, as well as in banking, marketing analysis and project management. A significant percentage of our students pursue further study for postgraduate qualifications.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB at A Level including English Literature or English Language and Literature at 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.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 at HL including HL English A1/A2/B at 5/6/6 OR HL English Literature A/English Language and Literature A (or Literature A/Language and Literature A of another country) at HL 5 or SL 6

 

 

 

International students

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 advice 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.

Fees

The 2018/19 regulated UK/EU tuition fees have not yet been set. The University intends to set fees at the maximum permitted level for new and returning UK/EU students. Please see further information below.

As a guide only the 2017/18 full-time UK/EU tuition fees for this programme are £9,250 unless otherwise stated: 

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time TBC £15200
Part-time TBC £7600

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.

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. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

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.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.