English Literature BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge

September 2016

code: Q300

Available in Clearing call now 01223 698444

Overview

Study Anglia Ruskin's English Literature degree and you will learn about some of the most exciting books ever written whilst engaging with new ideas and ways of reading. With our career-focused literature course, you’ll graduate with a set of skills in demand from potential employers.

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Full description

Careers

There are lots of career options for students with an Anglia Ruskin English Literature degree. The communication, critical and interpersonal skills you gain will prepare you for careers in teaching, journalism, broadcasting, the music industry, arts administration, gallery work, publishing, and marketing.

You might enjoy your time with us so much that you decide to study on one of our Masters courses, such as English Literature, Creative Writing or Publishing.

Our work-based modules, such as Working in English, Communication, Film and Media in Year 3, will give you vital experience of related professions like publishing, the media industries, teaching or arts administration.
We work closely with the University’s Careers and Employability Service to make sure you receive all the support and advice you need to develop your professional skills. We also host employability events that bring together professionals and practitioners from a variety of disciplines like publishing, modern languages, printing and art design, writing and poetry, media consultancy, teaching, events organisation and festival direction.

You’ll also benefit from our links with industry and professional bodies, including Cambridge University Press, Windhorse Publishing, Sayle Literary Agency, Bloomsbury, Campus (the Cambridge Publishing Society), and Cambridge Literary Festival.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • A History of English Literature from Chaucer to Equiano
    This module will provide you with an outline of the history of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the eighteenth century, including authors such as Chaucer, Marlowe, Milton and Swift. By looking at different literary forms and a variety of authors, you’ll be encouraged to reflect upon what constitutes the ‘canon’. You will also acquire a basic knowledge of terms used in English literary history and learn to think critically about these terms. There will be two assessments for this course: a group presentation and an essay, testing your knowledge of a literary period or text, as well as your ability to read a literary text within a historical and cultural context.
  • Myth, Mystery and Metamorphosis
    This module will introduce you to some of the texts that helped shape English literature and indeed, much of Western culture. It draws on selections from Classical and Biblical texts – indicative examples include Homer’s Odyssey, the plays of Sophocles, Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the books of Genesis and Matthew – to enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of these central influences on English literature. You will also learn about the different ways in which these texts are deployed by later writers – such as adaptation, quotation, allusion, translation and parody – and explore how and why stories mutate over time. You will be encouraged to identify and analyse references to Classical and Biblical texts in other modules you are studying, in particular ‘A History of English Literature from Chaucer to Equiano’, in order to appreciate the importance of understanding the larger literary culture within which works such as Paradise Lost were produced. Your first assessment will be a group presentation exploring the significance of one of the set texts for later English literature. The second will be an in-class test in which you will demonstrate both your close reading skills and your knowledge of the Classical and Biblical texts on the syllabus. Finally, you will write an independently-researched essay that demonstrates your understanding of a key text studied in the later weeks of the module.
  • Introduction to Literary Criticism
    This module will introduce you to studying English Literature at University, and allow you to develop skills such as reading critically and communicating clearly. In the first semester you'll get an overview of the degree structure and examine some key critical terms, problems and approaches for students of English. These include, for example: the literary canon and value; narrative theory; realism and representation; genre; the production of meaning; relationships between literature, history and the world; selected approaches to literature, (including formalist, new historicist, feminist, psychoanalytical and postcolonial criticism) and relationships between literature and identity. You'll explore these topics through a selection of critical texts and short extracts from plays, novels, short stories and poems (extracts provided). You'll attend a one-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar each week, including a library induction session.
  • A History of English Literature from Blake to the Present
    Following on from A History of English Literature from Chaucer to Equiano, this module will give you an outline of the history of English literature from the Romantic period to the present. You will be reading authors like Blake, Tennyson and Wolf as well as less familiar texts, while also acquiring the basic terminology used for English literary history since 1789. There will be two assessments for this course, an essay and an examination, for which you will need to demonstrate your ability to read a literary text within a historical and social context.
  • Introduction to Imaginative Writing
    This module will introduce you to techniques for developing and sustaining creative writing and teach you how to practice these in your own work. Your studies will be split equally between analysing texts to see what makes them effective for different audiences and practical writing exercises. As the module progresses, you will explore the techniques and conventions of writing short fiction, poetry and dramatic writing and will present your work to your fellow students, simultaneously building a portfolio of imaginative writing to be submitted at the end of the semester, along with a critical commentary evaluating the creative processes you’ve pursued and identifying areas for future development.

Year two, core modules

  • Romantic Conflicts
    On this module, you'll explore Romanticism and Revolution - two concepts that are often usefully linked. You'll study literature by focusing on a sequence of key political events, rather than focusing on the 'self'. This, and focusing on writing that attempts to 'intervene in' the public world, will allow you to draw connections between the three phases of Romanticism, and to examine a variety of canonical and non-canonical authors, and writing in a variety of genres. You'll also examine the emergence of popular literature, the kind of writing that dissolves the difference between the 'high' and the 'low', as produced by figures such as William Hone, and Shelley in his Mask of Anarchy. You'll be assessed through a 2,500 word essay (semester 1) and a ten minute presentation and exam (semester 2).
  • Shakespeare and Performance
    This module will introduce you to a generically varied range of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. They highlight some of the most contested issues of the day, issues which continue to inspire debate today: kingship, power, sexuality, gender, justice, morality and religion. Later audiences, readers and critics have of course contributed to these original dialogues and debates, adding new voices and perspectives in both creative and critical responses to the plays. You'll explore these issues in lectures and seminars, drawing on primary texts, secondary criticism, and later creative responses to the plays, including film. You'll also discuss wider issues of the study of English and how it relates to employability.
  • The Victorian Experience: Texts and Contexts
    On this year-long module, you'll engage with Victorian texts and their various contexts in both breadth and depth. You'll examine texts in relation to key historical developments and the issues to which these developments gave rise and currency. In the first semester, your main literary focus will be on poetry (such as Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning), interspersed with a consideration of relevant contextual topics and debates (such as industrialisation and gender issues). In the first half of the second semester, your work will be devoted to mid-Victorian fiction. You'll compare novels by, for example, Dickens and Gaskell, which offer different models of realism and different versions of a search for identity, with reference to the contextual issues introduced in the first semester. For the rest of the module time, you'll explore literary and contextual developments in the late Victorian period, assessing generic innovations (the 'new' drama of Wilde and Shaw, short stories by Kipling, Vernon Lee and Olive Schreiner) in relation to contextual novelties, such as the new woman, the new imperialism, socialism and aestheticism.

Year two, optional modules

  • Writing Short Fiction
    On this module, you'll learn the techniques of effective short fiction writing, beginning with the literary short story and moving on to explore short fiction for younger readers and some areas of genre fiction. You'll be introduced to the scope and the conventions of short fiction in English through an analysis of a diverse range of classic and contemporary examples, examining the creative process from the collection of ideas at notebook stage to the production and editing of a finished narrative. Authors studied on the module may include Anton Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield and Edgar Allen Poe. Your writing exercises will focus on practical writing techniques for effective work, with key elements such as characterisation, setting, structure, movement in time and space, observation, point of view, opening and closing, voice, dialogue, cliché, description and dialogue. For assessment, you'll submit the best work you produce during the module, along with a critical commentary that'll include a contribution to your Personal Development Planning file.
  • Dialogue and Debate 2: More to Milton
    This module will introduce you to a range of key poetic and prose texts produced by canonical and non-canonical early modern authors. One of the characteristics of the literature of this period is its dialogic nature. Many of these texts give the reader two or more perspectives on an issue, asking questions that often remain unanswered. In addition to these internal debates, the texts are often also in dialogue with each other. Translations, adaptations, parodies, flytings, prequels and sequels will give you insights into the ways texts can speak to one another. You'll explore these issues in lectures and seminars, investigating the relationship between the set texts and their literary, cultural and historical contexts.
  • The History of the Book
    In this module you'll explore the cultural and technological contexts of the publishing of literary works, and the history of the publishing industry in Britain. You'll examine its styles, types and trajectories, and consider that history in light of the market for books, pamphlets and periodicals, and the issues (such as new technology, new infrastructure, copyright and censorship) that have affected them. Your assessment will consist of an independently-researched portfolio, including a critical assessment of an issue identified in the seminars, accompanied by supporting evidence presented as a blog, a series of slides, an electronic scrap book, or in an alternative electronic format of your own choice.
  • News and Feature Writing
    This intensive reading and writing module will introduce you to the techniques of print journalism, focusing on news reports and feature articles. The skills required for effective news and feature writing are a key component of writing craft in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. It's a discipline that improves the imaginative work and communicative power of those who practice it. You'll explore the significance of journalistic writing in contemporary life using examples from a range of British tabloid, broadsheet and local publications. You'll practise sourcing news reports, developing feature articles and sub-editing for style and content. In seminar workshops, you'll combine analysis of journalistic techniques with practical writing exercises, covering topics that include: researching and pitching a story; interviewing; puns and rhythm; and economical use of language. Early on, you'll produce a set of briefs that must be approved by the seminar leader, then produce copy for these briefs and, in editorial teams, giving and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Postcolonialism
    On this module you'll explore the meanings that were once attached to the British Empire and how some 19th and early 20th century writers expressed their often contradictory and ambivalent attitudes to the imperial project and the responsibilities of running an empire. These writers may include Rudyard Kipling, E.M. Forster, Flora Annie Steele, and George Orwell. You'll then read and analyse selected texts by writers from nations which have won their independence from Britain (for example Derek Walcott and Ama Ata Aidoo), comparing them with texts written from European perspectives. You'll also be introduced to the ideas of post-colonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and Homi Babha, and discuss influential critical concepts such as orientalism, the subaltern and mimicry. At the end of the module you'll examine the significance of multicultural ideas and examples of writing produced by both first- and second-generation immigrants to Britain, possibly including some film or television material. Your assessment will take the form of a 3000-word essay.
  • Myth and Medievalism
    On this module you'll examine a range of medieval English literature, focusing on the late 14th century, and exploring the links between literature and a changing society. You'll examine, through careful close reading, the complex relationship between text and context, considering greater realism in the representation of the Judaeo-Christian myth in the context of threats to the feudal system. You'll study mystery plays, romances and religious literature alongside selected Tales by Chaucer, and the re-appropriations of myth in a case study that suggests the wider links between myth and ideology. You'll study extracts from each text in the original Middle English, though good recent translations by modern poets will also be available, allowing you to pursue the question of the inevitable re-inflection of myth in changing cultural contexts.
  • Special Topic 1 (Writing World War 1)
    The designated topic for this module, which changes from year to year, is Writing World War 1. There are no formal lectures and the module is taught in seminars, in which you'll be encouraged to take part in group discussions. You'll be assessed by a 3,000 word essay, allowing you to demonstrate your understanding of everything has been covered on the module, including your knowledge of set texts.

Year three, core modules

  • Modernism and the City
    This module focuses on literary Modernism from the turn of the 20th century to the 1930s. You'll explore the ways in which the distinctive features of Modernist writing - subjectivity, the psychological, innovations in form, style and genre - are produced by urban experience. You'll study a range of texts that 'write' the city in order to explore the centrality of urban culture to modernity and the avant garde. You'll also discuss the cultural exchanges occurring in London, Paris and New York with reference to ideas of exile and expatriation. You'll consider the internationalism of the Modernist period, as well as its interdisciplinarity. These texts will show you different reactions to the early 20th century city, in relation to ethnicity, gender and class, and will include examples of both canonical and non-canonical writing.
  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year three, optional modules

  • Special Topic 2 (Theorising Children's Literature)
    The designated topic for this module, which changes from year to year, is Theorising Children’s Literature. There are no formal lectures and the module is taught in seminars, in which you'll be encouraged to take part in group discussions. You'll be assessed by a 3,000 word essay, allowing you to demonstrate your understanding of everything has been covered on the module, including your knowledge of set texts.
  • Writing Poetry
    Through critical examination of modern and contemporary poems, you'll learn to explore important developments in technique and appreciate the benefits of close reading to open up possibilities for language use. You’ll develop sophisticated approaches to the relationship between form and content. You'll engage in advanced workshop treatment of your poems, moving beyond explanation of sources and meanings to explore process, form and audience. The seminar topics may include modelling, seeds and sources, working with journals, presentation of poetry on and off the page, working with sound and visual material, and redrafting. Your assessment will be a selection of poems accompanied by reflective writing that explores key issues of process.
  • Working in English and Media
    This module, with a focus on work experience, will help prepare you for targeted entry into the world of multimedia, film, television, cinema, radio, video, teaching, publishing, arts administration and related creative and cultural industries. You'll identify, negotiate and carry out a work placement, or produce a commissioned product, in a chosen area, with guidance from the relevant Course Leader and Module Leader, who will provide ongoing consultation, supervision and support in association with the University's Careers Service. You'll develop a portfolio and write a critical essay, both of which you'll submit at the end of the semester. Your portfolio should include: your CV; copies of a range of academic work (including a DVD showreel, where appropriate); evidence of extra-curricular activities; evidence of work experience. Presentation is crucial to your portfolio, and you should make use of all available multi-media when refining your work. This module will form part of your ongoing programme of Personal Development Planning.
  • Adaptations and Afterlives: the Art of Rewriting Stories
    This module will introduce you to the strategies of adaptation and to the afterlives of canonical literary texts. Through a series of case studies, you will analyse and debate Walter Benjamin's claim that 'storytelling is always the art of repeating stories' and Linda Hutcheon's description of adaptation as repetition 'but repetition without replication.' You’ll also explore adaptation across time of both specific canonical texts and literary archetypes such as the fairy tale, the diverse ways in which biblical and classical texts have been adapted, the appropriation of literary texts into the mediums of stage, radio and screen, and the appropriation of historical events and persons into fiction.
  • Scriptwriting
    This module will introduce you to the scope and conventions of scriptwriting across three forms – film, television, and radio – through analysis of a diverse range of classic and contemporary examples. You'll examine the creative process and engage in this process by maintaining a reading journal and writer's notebook. The feature screenplays you'll study may include screenplays by Charlie Kaufman, Sophia Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, and Aaron Sorkin, while television series may include Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Returned. Audio material may include selected Afternoon Plays and radio comedy series. Your writing exercises will focus on practical writing techniques such as writing an effective treatment or outline, and exploring the different techniques needed for different broadcast mediums. For assessment, you'll submit the best work you produce at the end of the year, along with a critical commentary that'll include a contribution to your Personal Development Planning file.
  • Contemporary Fiction
    On this module, you'll study a range of fiction from 1990 onwards, examining formal and thematic issues and the relationships between them. You'll consider narrative experimentation (the recycling of old stories and forms, the representation of history) and the interrelated topics of voice, place and community. As there is inevitably an absence of established critical texts on the contemporary works studied, you'll also consider alternative methods of reading, alternative sources of critical opinion (academic journals, the internet, broadsheet and broadcast journalism), and the ways in which new novels demand and shape new criticism. You'll be assessed through a 3,000 word essay at the end of the semester.
  • Modern Science Fiction
    In this module, you'll study the development of modern science fiction, concentrating on major texts from the postwar period. You'll acquire a detailed knowledge of the history of science fiction and a critical understanding of the problems of defining it in relation to other forms of literature, as well as gaining an understanding of the distinctive pleasures that science fiction offers its readers. The emphasis will be on science fiction as a distinctive literature of ideas. You'll primarily consider science fiction as a literary form rather than with its manifestations in other media, but the demands of adapting science fiction to other media will also be considered. You'll read an anthology of short stories, a history and a collection of critical essays supplemented by recommended novels (used to exemplify different phases of science fiction from the 1930s to the present day, including 'The Golden Age', the British 'New Wave', cyberpunk and World SF). You'll be assessed through one essay of 3,000 words, showing your good knowledge and understanding of at least three texts.
  • Literature and exile
    This module will introduce you to a range of C20th and C21st literary representations of exile. To be in exile is to be banished from one’s home, to be displaced and/or estranged from one’s country, family, community, and even one’s self. Exile takes many forms: it can be literal or metaphorical; it can be enforced or self-imposed. Through close readings of novels, graphic novels, poetry, autobiography and short stories, many of which were written by authors in exile, you will explore various forms of exile writing and consider various conditions and contexts of exile, including politics, race, sexuality, genderand disability. At the start of the module, you will be introduced to a range of theories of exile; you will explore these theories each week in relation to the selected literary texts and related themes of memory, home, identity, community, nostalgia, self, and language. The module schedule will also include a guest lecture and/or half day field trip (museum, refugee organisation, local charities and groups), allowing you to engage with ‘real world’ experiences of exile. You will be assessed by means of a final 3000-word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of the set texts and grasp of the key theories and ideas that have informed the course.

Optional modules available in years two and three

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Assessment

You’ll demonstrate your learning through a combination of exams, essays, portfolios, presentations, reviews, reports and a Major Project. 

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of English and Media is a community of more than 800 students, exploring subjects that further their understanding of culture and communication in the global age, from film studies to applied linguistics. We focus on skills and knowledge valued by employers, and provide our students with valuable industry insight through our links with creative partners.

Our students take part in many activities to help prepare them for the future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by internationally acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences. They even have the chance to get writing advice from our Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study abroad

You can apply to spend one semester in years 2 or 3 studying abroad at Universidad de Huelva, Spain and Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA.

Activities and events

Take part in our many extra-curricular activities, like the annual three-day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, our poetry and writing evenings, Literary Society events, and our research symposia and conferences.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)

£9,000

International students, 2016/17 (per year)

£11,000

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£11,700

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For more information about tuition fees, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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