Module code: ELIM035

Module Overview

This is a Level M elective module for the MA in Creative Writing and MA in English Literature programmes and the Creative Writing MFA programme. In prose, poetry, drama, film and other narrative texts, we often read about and see broken bodies, bodies in distress, bodies identified as beautiful or powerful, bodies (and the characters who live in and through those bodies) defined by their difference from or conformity to an ever-changing norm. Critic Paul Goring suggests that the body provides an inescapable textual surface and that cultural representations ‘gain power by their association with the body precisely because the flesh can bestow authority through the persuasive rhetoric of ‘nature.’’ In this module, we will investigate how the text of the body functions in, and can be used as a tool for, the craft of narrative. We will ask questions such as: How do we construct the bodies of our characters, and how do
their bodies participate in, or perhaps propel, the narratives we create? Do we rely on cultural assumptions and expectations of a ‘natural’ body? How can sensuality work to strengthen narrative? How do the body and spectacle relate to each other in narrative? What narrative techniques convey or capitalize on the physicality of characters? In the case of crafting a script, how do we communicate and rely on a visual and physical presentation of narrative through the bodies of actors? Also, we will discuss how and to what degree we as writers are physically,
sensually connected to our stories and how that connection factors into our creative and critical processes. Attendance is compulsory. 

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

LUHNING Holly (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 126

Seminar Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 2

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The following areas are indicative of topics to be covered:

  • Theories of Visibility

  • Body Horror

  • Disability Theory (Social, Literary, Cultural)

  • Feminist Theories of The Body

  • The Monstrous

  • The Body, Place, and Cultural Identity

  • Disease and Contagion

  • Aging

  • Mental Illness and Physical Confinement

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • the development in their knowledge and understanding of literary and creative texts and textual practices

  • their understanding of the social, cultural, historical and geographical contexts for the production of literary and creative texts and of the way those texts intervene in related discourses

  • their understanding of verbal creativity and the formal and aesthetic dimensions of literary and creative texts

  • their creative ability in writing on themes or in techniques related to writing the body

  • a range of subject specific and transferable skills gained in critical and creative thinking, in the production of critical and creative texts, and of practical support in the development of employability and/or creative practice skills

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Creative Piece (3000 words) plus critical essay and commentary (1500 words) (100%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback and formative ‘feed forward’ is provided through seminar discussions, and tutor feedback in seminars, on short pieces (250-500 words of prose, or equivalent in another form) presented as part of the workshopping element of the classes. Each student can expect to present 2-3 such pieces over the course of the semester according to a schedule worked out between the tutor and the student cohort.
Written and/or oral tutor feedback will also be provided on one piece of creative writing (maximum of 1000 words or equivalent for poetry) during the course of the module (the student is free to submit this at any point of the semester). 
As such, writing, presentation and critical analysis skills will be developed and honed which will feed forward to the summative assessment at the end of the module.
There is the option of a range of other feedback mechanisms agreed between tutor and students in week 1 of the module, such as seminar contribution and writing exercises.

Module aims

  • Develop in students an knowledge of a range of theories of the body, such as theories of visibility, feminist theories, disability theory
  • Help students gain a wide understanding and knowledge of contemporary novelists, poets, and filmmakers who use the body as a key narrative tool.
  • Help students attain the ability to apply critical awareness to one's own creative writing
  •  Encourage students to work as a group in the production of collaborative work in the workshop context
  • Encourage students to submit work for publication
  • Encourage students to critically develop their thinking about their own practice as writers, and to present this in cogent terms
  • Develop students’ technical writing skills in multiple forms, such as prose, poetry, drama, screenwriting and other, including intermedial, forms

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a detailed and thorough knowledge of debates about theories of the body K
002 Understand how literary writers, scientists, critics, and historians have theorised the connections between art and the body K
003 Identify the key critical approaches  K
004 Demonstrate advanced skills in narrative techniques and writing exercises C
005 Understand how writers and artists have used the body as a key narrative component in their work C
006 Place their work in a cultural and literary context of writing about the body K
007 Use historical approaches about theories of the body and art that is produced about or by bodies to inform their views on current debates about the body as a both a cultural trope and physical form; T
008 Undertake independent research and present their ideas in discussion and in written form P
009 Develop an understanding of appropriate writerly techniques that engage the creative thematic and technical possibilities of writing the body in their own work KPT

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:

• Hone and develop students’ writing skills in prose fiction and/or poetry by more fully developing their sense of their own practice as writers in relation to art that centres on the body, and to help students produce innovative, imaginative and exciting publication standard creative work

• Assist students in locating their work in historical and cultural contexts by developing understanding of the context of theories of the body and art produced about or through the body

• Equip students with the research and writing skills they will need to produce both critically informed prose or poetry and creative criticism by developing a stronger sense of the materials and techniques available to them as writers, and begun to locate their work within the context of writing about the body

• Facilitate in students productive reflection on both the creative process itself and the finished work that has resulted from it by helping them gain significant confidence and ability in critically analysis and thinking, and an ability to use specific compositional skills that will have practical application to their practices as writers

The learning and teaching methods include:

2 hour seminar 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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELIM035

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.