MAGIC, MYSTICISM, AND MODERNITY - 2018/9

Module code: ELI3050

Module Overview

Although the early twentieth century – the era of cocktails, motorcars, bobbed hair, and jazz – is often described as one of newness and modernity, many writers of the time found inspiration and visionary brilliance by turning to the mysterious occult unknown.  Well-remembered poets and novelists such as Ezra Pound, E. Nesbit, D.H. Lawrence, Robert Graves, Sylvia Plath, and Ted Hughes were tied to esoteric beliefs, but was it all a lot of foolishness? Or was it something worse?  In this module we will explore how the modernist interest in magic and mysticism led to new understandings of the relationship between ‘the self’ and ‘society’ that would seep into sectors as diverse as psychoanalysis, politics, and theatre.  By exploring the mystical beliefs and practices that stirred many writers between the wars this module will allow us to reconsider our understanding of the imagination and unconscious mind in relation to writing and the performing arts.  Along the way we will uncover hidden hopes and anxieties that faced Britain between the wars, and see how some of modernism’s most influential writers understood magic and enchantment as universal forms of cultural expression which have inspired creative exuberance since the dawn of civilization.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

KILNER-JOHNSON AD Dr (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: Q323

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 29

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None. This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Arthur Machen, The White People and Other Stories (1904)

Algernon Blackwood, John Silence (1908)

Aleister Crowley, Moonchild (1917)

Somerset Maugham, The Magician

Mary Butts, Ashe of Rings (1925)

Sylvia Plath, selected poems

Dion Fortune, The Sea Priestess (1938)

Charles Williams, War in Heaven (1930)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.

 

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in working as part of a group and practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in oral communication. It also assesses subject knowledge in the different forms of critical theory used in English literature and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using theory in the close reading of literary texts.

 

The close reading and essay assess subject knowledge in the different forms of critical theory used in American literature and cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in using theory in the close reading of literary texts. They also assess practical/professional skills in expressing ideas and critical analysis in written communication and transferable skills in working independently. 

 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


Essay (3000 words)


 

Formative assessment and feedback


Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback in seminar


 

Students receive both written feedback and verbal feedback in tutorials that informs the final summative assessment, i.e. the essay.

Module aims

  • This module aims to deepen and expand students’ understanding of: A range of modernist Anglo-American texts;
  • Key historical and philosophical expressions of esoteric and mystical thought;
  • The shaping of modern cultural identity alongside the resurgence of popular occultism.
  • This module aims to develop and strengthen students’ skills in: Close reading, analysis, and critical thinking;
  • Oral and written communication;
  • Independent work and group work in seminars;
  • Time management through essay submission and revision planning.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe and analyse the relevant influences of esoteric philosophy and practice on a variety of modernist writers KC
002 Analyse an array of literary texts with an awareness of and engagement with critical materials and cultural artefacts drawn from a variety of global spiritual and mystical traditions KC
003 Understand and evaluate the relationship between modern literary cultural and Western esoteric philosophy KC
004 Use critical and contextual material in relation to close textual analysis and critical thinking CT
005 Communicate orally in class discussions and in written form in essays CT
006 Work both individually and as part of a group PT
007 Plan and implement timetables for essay deadlines and exam revision PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Seminar Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to deliver subject knowledge, to develop cognitive/ analytical skills, and to develop in-depth transferable, practical, and professional skills. Specifically, the weekly lectures deliver subject knowledge through an overview of the twentieth-century American literature, and develop cognitive/analytical skills in analysing literature and its historical and intellectual contexts. The weekly seminars involve student-led discussions that develop skills in communication and in working individually and as part of a group. The seminars also provide students with instruction on planning and implementing timetables for work and on presenting ideas coherently under time constraints.

This relates to the programme learning and teaching strategy, which, at Level 5, is designed to continue the delivery of subject knowledge through lectures and SurreyLearn and to develop in-depth transferable, practical and professional skills, with a greater emphasis on student-led involvement, critical analysis, discussion and rhetorical ability.

The learning and teaching methods include:

2-hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for MAGIC, MYSTICISM, AND MODERNITY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/eli3050

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Sociology BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and German BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Politics BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.