Module code: ELI1025

Module Overview

This module is designed to introduce students to the academic study of the novel. Over the course of the module students will learn to read narrative fiction closely and critically, and to consider the relations between prose texts and the political, cultural, and intellectual contexts in which they are written and read. Focusing on novels in English from a range of historical periods and national contexts, the module examines fundamental aspects of the novel such as formal structure, characterisation, narrative, and voice, and important novelistic genres such as realism and the Gothic. It also considers the novel form’s representation of key issues such as subjectivity, gender, race, and politics. By enabling students to acquire the knowledge and critical skills needed to study and analyse novels, this module will provide a foundation for the study of prose fiction at degree level.


Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MATHIESON Charlotte (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 80

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Weeks 1-2: Introducing the novel

Weeks 2-3: Romanticism and the novel

Weeks 4-5: The Victorian novel

Week 6: The modernist novel

Week 7: Modernism to postmodernism

Week 8-10: The postmodern novel

Week 11: Overview

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CLOSE READING (500 WORDS) 30
Coursework ESSAY (1500 WORDS) 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills in communicating ideas orally and in working individually and as part of a group. It also assesses subject knowledge in British writing, in literature’s historical and intellectual contexts, and in theoretical/critical methodologies. Seminars also assess cognitive/ analytical skills in critical thinking and in analysis of literary form.

Both the essay and the close reading assess subject knowledge in English writing, in literature’s historical and intellectual contexts, and in theoretical/critical methodologies. They also assess cognitive/analytical skills in critical thinking and in analysis of literary form, and transferable skills in communicating ideas in writing. The essay and close reading further assess professional/practical skills, namely the ability to plan and implement timetables for revision and assessment deadlines.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         500 word close reading

·         1500 word essay


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions and tutor feedback in seminars. The deadline for the essay is mid-semester; students receive both written and verbal feedback on this first summative assessment, which informs the final summative assessment, i.e. the essay.

Module aims

  • The module aims to deepen and expand students' understanding of: the novel in English;
  • developments in the novel since the 18th-century;
  • the theoretical and critical methodologies that underpin the study of the novel;
  • the distinct development of the novel as a form;
  • key themes in the English novel;
  • individual authors' writing.
  • The 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
1 Demonstrate knowledge of key periods, writers, and themes in English novel from the 18th-century; K
2 Understand key themes and issues in the English novel ; K
3 Understand the primary theoretical and critical methodologies used to analyse these themes and ideas; K
4 Use critical material and theoretical concepts in relation to close textual analysis and critical thinking C
5 Communicate orally in class discussions and in written form in an essay T
6 Work both individually and as part of a group T
7 Plan and implement timetables for assessment deadlines P

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

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 English novel, 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 FHEQ Level 4, is designed to consolidate foundational subject knowledge through lectures and SurreyLearn and to develop  transferable, practical, and professional skills, with an emphasis on student-led involvement, critical analysis, discussion, and rhetorical ability.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 1-hour lecture per week x 11 weeks

  • 1-hour seminar per week x 11 weeks

  • 2-hour revision session in week 12


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

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI1025

Other information

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email: ieo.incoming@surrey.ac.uk

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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

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 2020/1 academic year.