The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Language and Context
This module considers the main forms and functions of English vocabulary, grammar and discourse and explores how they are used in real social and cultural contexts. You will look at how language is used for different purposes and how people use language to reveal and conceal social realities as well other topics surrounding language and context. For this module you will have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar per week.
Beginnings of English
You’ll be introduced to the language, literature and culture of medieval England and study Old and Middle English texts. In this module you will familiarise yourself with the knowledge needed for reading and understanding medieval texts. In addition you will be introduced to the basics of grammar and spelling conventions. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour seminar per week.
This module will introduce some of the core skills necessary for literary studies through focus on specific poetry and prose texts. You will address topics including: close reading, constructing an argument and handling critical material. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars.
Introduction to Drama
For this module you will explore the variety of drama in the western dramatic tradition. You will consider some of the following: theatre of ancient Greece, medieval mystery and morality plays, the drama of Shakespeare and the Restoration, and nineteenth century naturalism. For this module you’ll study selected plays but also explore 20th century interpretations of the texts through use of video extracts. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, workshops and seminars.
Studying the Greek World
This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from BC1600-31; the period from the Bronze Age to the point when Greece becomes part of the Roman Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will also consider other major chapters of Greece’s history from the Mycenean Period and the Dark Ages, to the rise of the polis in the Archaic period. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture as well as consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week over the course of ten weeks.
Studying the Roman World
This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine all many important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world which complements the Autumn semester module ‘Studying the Greek World'. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Interpreting Ancient Literature
Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Themes will address issues such as the relationship between literature and society, the working of genres, modern and ancient receptions, the analysis of rhetoric and literary style. Recent themes have been ‘Performance and Persuasion’ and 'Love and War'; some issues treated may include: orality and performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, ritual and performance. For this module you will have eight one 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
Extended Source Study
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for your third year dissertation. You will be expected to write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of worksheet topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. A number of seminars and consultation sessions will be help you approach and develop your source study. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar over a period of ten weeks.
Latin Texts: 3
This module examines, in the original Latin, a text representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying close attention to matters of language and style. Modules include: Flavian personal poetry (Martial and Statius); Roman comedy (Plautus and Terence); The emperor Claudius (Suetonius and Tacitus). Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of original Latin. The module will not just be about literature: you will also explore the text's relationship with its social, political and cultural context. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour lecture each week.
Latin Texts: 4
This module examines, in the original Latin, a text representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying close attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of original Latin. You will also the development of the genre as well as its relationship with its social, political and cultural context. For this module you will have a one 2-hour lecture and a one 1-hour lecture each week.
Intermediate Latin 2
This module builds on your experience of Q81IL2 Intermediate Latin 1, and gives further support in dealing with unadapted Latin texts, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate the grammar and syntax learnt in Beginners' Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia, Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin and other exercises that you will take further in Advanced Latin.
What can a face tell us? This module explores Greek and Roman portrait sculptures, how and why they were made, where they stood, and what they stood for. Topics covered include: the features necessary to call a depiction of a face a portrait; the relationship of face and body in the shaping of a portrait; the emergence of the portrait in Greek art, portraits of Greek generals and statemen Hellenistic female portraiture, and how to analyse marble portraits by means of 3D technology among others. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture per week and five 1-hour seminars over the semester.
Independent Second-Year Project
In this module you will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical works in an area that interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam writing and seminar-presentation. There are various options in this module including undertaking research which leads to the construction of a database, acquiring a communication method which could be of use in a future career or experimenting using a different medium of communication eg video, website. The topic and form of the project chosen must be both approved by the module convener. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, computing sessions and workshops.
The emperor Constantine (306-337) is regarded as the Roman emperor with the most significant long-term impact. This is partly based on the foundation of his city, Constantinople as well as his decision to give his support to Christians who were a religious minority at the time. This module aims to try to understand the reasons behind these important decisions of Constantine's, and to place his reign in its wider context - the turmoil experienced by the Roman empire during the third century, the recovery of stability under the emperor Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, the emergence of the Christian church as a significant feature of the empire's religious landscape, and the new military challenges which the empire faced in the form of Persia and northern barbarian groups. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture each week and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight.
Love in Augustian Rome
In this module you will undertake a detailed study, in translation, of the Latin elegiac poet Propertius, with reference to other poets of the same genre (Catullus, Gallus, Tibullus, Ovid). The module takes a cross-cultural perspective on writing love poetry: what does it mean to say ‘I love you’ and how do different cultures do it? You will also be looking at real women and imaginary mistresses, masculinity and counter-cultural posturing, allusion and literary credibility, poetry and politics. The text will be read in the translation of Guy Lee (Oxford World’s Classics 1996). For this module you will have a 1-hour seminar every fortnight and a one 1-hour lecture each week over ten week period.
You must choose three modules in English covering at least two of the following areas:
Literature 1500 to the present
Each of the modules offered will provide a comprehensive introduction to the changes in the genres of prose, poetry and drama across the period studied, placing the works encountered in the context of key aesthetic, social and political/historical contexts.
English Language and Applied Linguistics
Building on the study of English language undertaken in year one, your second year language modules provide the exciting opportunity for you to explore aspects of language use in the mind, in society and in literature.
Medieval languages and literatures
You can choose to pursue one or more of the medieval areas introduced in year one, or you can opt to study a new but related area. In all cases you will develop your understanding of language change and variety, registers, styles, modes and genres, as they appear in medieval texts, and become more expert in reading with reference to wider medieval cultures.
Drama and Performance
Year two modules provide the opportunity to develop approaches from the first year by studying 20th and 21st-century theatre; by exploring key critical approaches to drama in theory and practice, and by focusing on a key period in the development of our nation’s theatre.
For a sample of typical modules from each area please see our single honours BA English listing.
Latin Texts: 5
This module takes your reading of Latin further, with a study of two major texts, which may be related in various ways (genre, author, subject matter). You might study Lucan Civil War 7 and Seneca Thyestes as literature of the Neronian period, or Horace Odes 3 and Satires 2, or Cicero Pro Milone and Pro Caelio. These modules aim to build up your independent reading skills while continuing to reinforce understanding of Latin grammar and syntax, and broadening out to use expertise in the original Latin to study the ancient world, its history, literature and society. For this module you will have one 1-hour seminar and one 2-hour lecture each week.
Jason and the Argonauts
A cross-medium, cross-genre, cross-cultural perspective on one important myth: Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship, Greek civilisation meets Colchian barbarism. The myth that pre-dates Homer and brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon); the gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic. A quest that replaces war with love. For this module the central text will be the Hellenistic Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality (the Lemnian women, Hercules and Hyllas); the nature of heroism (Cyzicus and friendly fire); monsters, marvels and magic. You will have a one hour lecture each week and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight.
Greek Tragedy: The Myth of Orestes on Stage in the 5th Century BC
This course is designed to serve as an introduction to Greek Tragedy in translation through the examination of one myth in detail: that of the house of Orestes. The course will focus on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Sophocles’ Electra, Euripides’ Electra and Orestes. These texts contain a number of themes that are typical of tragedy as a whole: inherited guilt, ritual pollution, revenge, kin-killing and the pursuit of suppliants. Furthermore, the course will aim to set tragedy within its broader context, looking at two major areas. The first is the literary context of tragedy;: how tragedy was informed by other poetic genres and, in particular, the development of the mythic tradition. Secondly, the module will consider the broader political, social and religious context of Greek tragedy. You will have one 1-hour lecture every week and one 1-hour seminar every fortnight for this module.
This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' "Lives of the Caesars" and the anonymous text known as the "Historia Augusta". The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples - ranging from physiognomics and appearance, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on - all in relation to specific emperors such as Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Elagabalus. This module has one 1-hour lecture per week and one 1-hour seminar every two weeks.
Virgil and the Epic Tradition
This module involves a detailed study of Virgil's Latin epic poem, the Aeneid, in English translation, and focuses on its interactions with the epic genre. The Aeneid was always and immediately characterised as a 'great' poem: how does Virgil react against his predecessors to carve out his own literary territory? How is the Aeneid received and re-used by poets and other artists down the ages? Themes will include: career and poetics; Homer and Apollonius; reception in later epic (Roman imperial, Neo-Latin, Milton); politics and identity; games and reality; gender and genre; vision and spectacle. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures every week and one 2-hour seminar every two weeks.
In this module you will have the unique opportunity to engage in an intensive productive study of a topic which you have chosen for yourself and on which you will be working on your own terms with access to advice and subject to criticism on completion of assessment. This module, built on skills acquired and/or developed in your first and second years, notably, in the Extended Source Study and Studying Classical Scholarship, is entirely dependent on your personal research and will involved a few sessions of formal teaching, as well as attendance at the departmental research workshop. Each student is allotted an individual supervisor to guide them through the process, and comment on plans and two 2000-word drafts of the dissertation. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, tutorials, computing sessions and workshops.
The final year is when all the different strands of your teaching and learning experience as an undergraduate culminate in the opportunity to demonstrate and apply all the different kinds of skills you have acquired in researching a topic, extended analysis of specialist themes and areas, and in independent study.
You will have the opportunity to study a range of authors, genres, linguistic approaches, and textual forms and contexts, in both national and international contexts, thinking about English in the broadest possible terms. You will also have the opportunity to specialise in areas for which you have developed genuine aptitude and passion during your undergraduate career.
A typical list of options available can be found on our single honours BA English listing.