LITERARY HISTORIES I - 2024/5

Module code: ELI1035

Module Overview

This module introduces students to different periods in literary history from the medieval period to the late Eighteenth Century through the examination of a variety of texts. Students will study texts in English from the medieval period, the Early Modern period, the Restoration, and the neo-Classical period. Throughout the module students will learn to interpret literature by focusing on aspects of its historical including social, environmental, global and cultural context, and to consider the interplay between historical background and texts. How does historical change and how do specific historical events impact on the production and reception of literature? What distinguishes imaginative literature from other textual historical documents? Students will also be encouraged to reflect on the academic practice of dividing history into key 'moments': the 'politics' of periodization, in other words. At what point does one period end and another begin? Why have literary critics chosen to mark the parameters of certain literary-historical periods as they have? While the focus is on English literature, the module will remain sensitive to the interplay between English literary traditions and those in other countries and the increasingly multicultural dimension of English literary history. Lectures will introduce students to key features of the literary period in question, to theoretical concepts which have proved useful in historicist approaches to literary criticism, and provide readings of set literary texts from a historical perspective. Seminars will enable students to discuss issues raised in the lectures and secondary reading as well as their own interpretations of the set texts in ways that will develop their critical thinking, research, and communication skills. By enabling students to gain the critical skills and knowledge required to study literature historically this module will provide a foundation for their further study of historical literary periods in semester 2 of their first year and for their study of literature in their second and final years.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

MORGAN Amy (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 67

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Literary History and Periodisation

Medieval Literature

Close Reading and Reading Middle English

Early Modern Literature

The Restoration

The Neo-Classical / Augustan Period

Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Assessment and Revision

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CLOSE READING (500 WORDS) 25
Coursework ESSAY (1500 WORDS) 75

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 in addition to the development of employability skills, digital capabilities, global and cultural capabilities, and resourcefulness and resilience.

Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback is designed mainly to assess transferable skills including independent learning, time management, and the ability to structure and communicate complex arguments in written and oral communication.

It also assesses subject knowledge in historical and cultural developments in the chosen literary periods, the set primary texts and their historical contexts, key terminology and literary criticism, and cognitive/analytical skills in researching, interpreting, and evaluating sources, debates, and ideas.

The seminar group presentation is designed to develop and assess student¿s ability to research a topic, synthesis material in a manageable way, and present their findings orally to their peers in a way that will enhance everyone's understanding.

Both the essay and close reading assess subject knowledge in historical and cultural developments in the chosen literary periods, the set primary texts and their historical contexts, key terminology and literary criticism. They also assess cognitive/analytical skills in researching, interpreting, and evaluating sources, debates, and ideas; and transferable skills in independent learning, time management, the ability to structure and communicate complex arguments in writing.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: ·


  • 500-word close reading ·

  • 1500-word essay



Formative assessment and feedback ·


  • Seminar Group Presentation (10 mins) with oral tutor feedback at end of session

  • Seminar discussion with ongoing tutor feedback in seminar



Students receive verbal feedback on their presentation that informs the final summative essay and self-evaluative report.

In addition, all students receive ongoing verbal feedback in seminars that informs the final summative assessments.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: help students acquire a knowledge of key periods in English literature from the medieval period to the
    late Eighteenth Century
  • Help students gain critical skills in analyzing literary texts from a historical perspective
  • Introduce a range of critical and theoretical approaches useful to literary-historical study
  • Help students analyse critically a varied selection of texts by a range of writers making use of specific reading strategies
    and theoretical concepts
  • Help students critically assess concepts of literary tradition, canon and periodization
  • Help students to think and learn independently, and to manage and organise their time efficiently
  • Train students to research and evaluate sources, debates, and ideas, and to communicate their conclusions clearly and
    accurately in writing
  • Enable students to discuss, debate, and exchange complex ideas as part of a group and enable students to develop
    effective presentation and team-working skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Over the course of this module, students will: develop a broad knowledge of key historical and cultural developments in the chosen literary periods that is demonstrated in seminar discussions and both formative KPT KPT
002 Obtain a good knowledge of the set primary texts and their historical and cultural contexts K
003 Gain an awareness of how specific works of literature and developments in literary form are influenced by, and help shape, moments and events in history K
004 Develop their critical thinking skills by reflecting on the complexities of literary periodisation and examining the ways in which the literary canon has been established and upheld CT
005 Enhance their skills in independent learning, time management, organisation CPT
006 Gain the ability structure and communicate complex arguments in both written and oral communication PT

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 ensure that students achieve the module learning outcomes and develop competencies in employability, digital capabilities, global and cultural intelligence, and resourcefulness and resilience. It will enable students to start on their journey as independent researchers and will support them in developing transferable professional skills which will prove essential across numerous career pathways.

This module will introduce students to a wide range of literary periods and historical context that will be built upon in later modules. It provides a foundation that will enable them to develop confidence in researching and understanding a wide array of literary texts and their relevant contexts.

The weekly lectures will deliver subject knowledge related to the historicization of literature from the medieval period to the Eighteenth Century. They will develop cognitive and analytical skills in analysing, interpreting, and evaluating sources, debates, and ideas within a historical context.

The weekly seminars will facilitate student-led discussions that develop skills in communication and in working individually and as part of a group. Additionally, students will be required to participate in the weekly group presentations. The seminars require students to engage in guided learning, active learning activities, and provides students with instructions on planning and implementing timetables, on conducting research in an organised and critical fashion, and on presenting ideas coherently under time constraint. They will further develop their critical thinking and research skills by being asked to substantiate their viewpoints and engage in critical close reading of their sources. Moreover, discussions in seminars will enable students to build their confidence in expressing their thoughts, ideas and reflections relating to the material discussed and their own individual background and experience to a diverse group of their peers.

In several weeks across the semester students will have the opportunity across the lectures and seminars to reflect on the transferable skills that they are acquiring (analytical, written and oral communication, research, language) and will be clearly shown how they can apply these skills to their assessments for the module and across the course more broadly This will be complimented by essay drop-in sessions in week 12 where students will be able to individually discuss their ideas for the final piece of assessment with a member of the teaching team.

This will enable them to develop their research planning skills, time management skills, and analytical skills. It will also enable them to strengthen the argument of their final essay and focus their ideas. The virtual learning environment, SurreyLearn, will be fully utilised to capture content, guide learning, introduce additional materials, and help student to navigate their independent study.

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ELI1035

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: Over the course of the module, students¿ will develop their critical thinking and analytical skills in ways which will benefit their future career goals. They will be required to engage intellectually with a range of complex theories and ideas and will be guided on how to construct an effective argument. Additionally, they will be supported to discover the most efficient ways to communicate their ideas in their writing and also in oral communication through the seminar group presentation and their seminar discussions. The seminar group presentation will help students to gain confidence in public speaking and allow them to strengthen their teamworking and research skills in transferable ways that will provide them with good experience for future career paths.

Digital Capabilities: The university¿s virtual learning platform, SurreyLearn, requires students to engage with digital learning material and resources. In addition to attending lectures and seminars, students on this module are actively encouraged to engage with captured content, along with other multi-media resources, such as online archives, scholarly websites, documentaries, and podcasts both as part of their independent study and in groups during teaching tasks and discussions. Learning how to locate, access, analyse, and use online resources and digital tools will allow students to develop their digital literacy as well as their research skills in ways that will benefit them across their degree. As part of their learning on the module, students will need to engage with multiple digital resources such as academic blogs, The Conversation, digitised manuscripts, and poetry databases in order to fully participate in discussions and debates during lectures and seminars. Additionally, students are required to design and deliver a group presentation as part of their formative feedback which much include a visual element. Students are encouraged to use slides for this piece of assessment which are then uploaded to SurreyLearn for the benefit of their peers. They therefore actively participate in including their own online resources.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: The variety of historical texts studied on the module will require students to consider the specific political, social, and cultural ways that we engage with literature and how this is affected by our individual experiences and background. Through an examination of historical context and how this is related to our own understandings of the world and ourselves, students will learn to communicate their ideas thoughtfully with their peers, considering the diverse student community and will be guided by the teaching team to consider alternative viewpoints to theirs. By gaining a more inclusive understanding of the past, students will be more equipped to consider issues of representation in future modules across their degree programme.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Lectures and seminars are scaffolded by pre-class requirements in the form of a to-do-list including the completion of set reading and pre-seminar questions to help guide students¿ learning. The aim of this is to encourage self-directed study and to promote independence and individual resourcefulness. Peer and tutor feedback in seminar discussions and in response to the seminar group presentation, develops students¿ confidence in communicating analytical and critical ideas. Group work will also provide opportunities for students to develop their thinking both independently and in conjunction with others. The lectures and seminars in weeks 1, 5, and 11 are dedicated to study skills, essay writing, and the successful completion of assessments, all of which offer further tools for independent learning and self-organisation. The seminar group presentation will help develop student's confidence in public speaking and the opportunity to receive feedback from their peers and seminar tutors will allow them to reflect on what was effective and areas that they need to work further on.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory 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 2024/5 academic year.