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Student and tutor module reviews

English Literature from Shakespeare to Austen

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: A334
  • Level: 3
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Student reviews

I found this module to be interesting, challenging and frustrating. Unsurprisingly, given the panoramic historical sweep of the subject, there are a lot of set texts to read (12 novels and plays, plus the work of a dozen or so poets), plus 3 very well-written module books, and some additional resources (poetry readings, excerpts from staged plays etc).

Hidden in amongst all of this is the need to do a great deal of reading of literary criticism of the set works. That's a lot of reading one way and another. The TMAs do usually ask you to look at one set text out of a choice of two, so you can avoid a set text if it really does not appeal to you. The module also places an emphasis on independent study, where you are required to analyse extracts of the set works in the form of close reading and also analyse the critical sources for the text work. Given the large amount of material to cover, this is a module that really does need the student to be able to devote to it 15 hours a week or more throughout the year. Both close reading and critical source analysis must then be brought together in your TMA and EMA answers. I found the TMA/EMA questions rather opaque as they were, as I think is common in English Lit, rather high-level clues to the topic or themes that you are intended to examine in your answers and I struggled throughout the course with understanding exactly what arguments and data I should present in my TMA answers. While there is supposed to be student-to-student interaction on the Forums, there was not much of this, which was disappointing - and the course then largely became a tutor-guided solo experience. I also missed the face-to-face tutorials that used to happen before the pandemic so to some extent it was quite a lonely experience. The module primarily focuses on teaching the student to write essays of literary criticism relating to the set texts.
I took the module because I wanted to study the techniques used by a wide range of successful writers so that I could use those techniques in my creative writing, not because I want to become an English Lit academic. I only partially achieved this objective, mostly in the poetry genre.

David Sinclair

Course starting: October 2021

Review posted: July 2022

I took a year out, thinking the break would refresh those little grey cells. Not so, it caused difficulties at all levels. There was so much reading, I could not satisfy the tutor's requirement for the module in the tutor-marked assessment writing, and I consistently felt a need to quit. However, I persevered, and was surprised to be given a 'poor pass'.
Overall, though the module is excellent, the reading fascinating, and support available if asked for.
I hope at some stage to be able to do the Creative Writing module.

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: October 2019

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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