Module code: ELI1036

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the main periods in literary history from Romanticism to Postmodernism by examining a variety of texts from these periods. Students will study texts in English from the Romantic and Victorian periods and from modernism and postmodernism. Throughout the module students will learn to interpret literature by focusing on aspects of its historical (including social, cultural, environmental, and global) 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 What distinguishes imaginative literature from other textual historical documents?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 explore the increasingly multicultural dimension of English literary history in the modern period. 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 and develop their own interpretations of the set texts. This module enables students to build upon and expand the critical skills and knowledge acquired in semester 1 modules by enhancing students' capabilities in these areas and encouraging a deeper study of literature historically, this module will also provide a foundation for the study of literature across a range of time periods in levels 5 and 6. In particular, the module connects to other period specific modules throughout the degree especially at level 5.

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): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 67

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

The Politics of Periodisation: Romanticism to Postmodernism:

  • Romantic Poetry

  • Victorian Prose Fiction

  • Modernism

  • Postmodernism & 'Historiographic Metafiction'

  • Contemporary Responses to History

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (2500 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment


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 in communicating complex ideas orally and in working individually and as part of a group. It also assesses subject knowledge in historical and cultural developments in the chosen literary periods, 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 deadline. Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: * 2500 word essay (deadline in summer assessment period)

Formative assessment and feedback

Essay plan (250 words) and literature review (250 words) (deadline after the Easter break). Note that the essay plan and literature review provide material and feed-forward feedback for the final essay.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: help students acquire a knowledge of key periods in English literature from Romanticism to
  • Help students gain critical skills in analyzing literary texts from a historical perspective in relation to the writer's role in
    mediating historical events
  • Introduce a range of critical and theoretical approaches useful to literary-historical study
  • Analyse critically a varied selection of texts by a range of writers making use of specific reading strategies and theoretical
  • Critically assess concepts of literary tradition, canon and periodisation
  • 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

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 On completion 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 formative assessment 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
006 Gain the ability structure and communicate complex arguments in both written and oral communication PT
005 Enhance their skills in independent learning, time management, organisation CPT
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

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 key 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 a number of 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 seminars will encourage student-led learning through discussion, debate, and group and pairs work that develop skills in communication and in working individually or as part of a group. Seminars will encourage students to engage in guided learning and active learning activities. They will provide 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. 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.

The learning and teaching methods include lecture content, seminars, captured content, guided learning and independent learning, as well as revision/essay writing 1-1 appointments 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: ELI1036

Other information

The School of Literature and Languages 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: This module builds upon the employability skills fostered in earlier modules to further develop students¿ competences in critical thinking and analysis. Students will 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 group work.

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.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: Through the study of various historical texts on this module, students will consider the specific political, social, and cultural ways that we engage with literature and how this is affected by our individual experiences and background. Seminars, in particular, will encourage students to situate themselves within a diverse student community, offering them opportunities for considering alternative viewpoints and to communicate their ideas about literature and its historical and cultural resonances thoughtfully and respectfully.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Lectures and seminars are scaffolded by pre-class requirements such as 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 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 several weeks 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.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature and Spanish BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) 2 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 2025/6 academic year.