The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.
This module offers an introduction to key issues and skills in English for those making the transition to university-level study and emphasises points of intersection between the diverse disciplines contained within the study of English at Nottingham. Taught in small groups by your Personal Tutor, you are encouraged to explore—critically and reflectively—what it means to be a student of English, and will be supported in developing a toolkit of study, research and communication skills which can be transferred to other modules.
- To introduce key issues of university study in general and the discipline of English in particular to students making the transition from school to university.
- To enable you to develop your understanding of the intersections between different branches of the discipline of English.
- To enable you to reflect on and begin to develop effective skills for study and research, reflective writing, and oral presentation.
- To provide knowledge and understanding of elements of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature, language and drama.
Beginnings of English
This module introduces you to the varied languages, literatures and cultures of medieval England (c.500-1500). You will read a variety of medieval texts which were originally written in Old English, Middle English and Old Norse. We study some texts in translation, but we also introduce you to aspects of Old and Middle English language to enable you to enjoy the nuance and texture of English literary language in its earliest forms.
We will read texts in a variety of genres, from epic and elegy, to saga, romance and fable. We will discuss ideas of Englishness and identity, and learn about the production and transmission of texts in the pre-modern period.
- To introduce you to linguistic vocabulary and terminology.
- To enable you to become proficient in reading Old English and Middle English.
- To give you an understanding of the complexities of English grammar, past and present.
- To give you an understanding of the origins of English, and its development over the medieval period.
- To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature.
Drama, Theatre, Performance
This module explores the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, moving from the theatre of ancient Greece, English medieval drama, the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Restoration stage, to nineteenth-century naturalism. In addition to texts produced by writers from Sophocles to Ibsen, you will also consider a variety of extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences.
You will study selected plays in workshops, seminars and lectures, during which we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources.
You will also have the opportunity to engage in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.
- To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
- To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
- To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
- To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.
Language and Context
This module teaches you about the nature of language, as well as how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes, preparing you for studies across all sections of the School.
During the weekly workshops you will learn about levels of language analysis and description, from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for future modules. Weekly lectures and seminars provide the Context part of the module. In the lectures you will see how the staff here in the School of English put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. The seminars will then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.
- To provide you with methods of language analysis and description for each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse)
- To prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree
- To introduce you to the areas of research and study within the School, with particular focus on psycholinguistics, literary linguistics, and sociolinguistics
This module introduces you to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).
Across the year you will learn about different interpretive approaches and concepts, and will examine literary-historical movements and transitions.
- To introduce you to selected literary texts, to deepen your imaginative engagement and analytic response.
- To provide you with a basis of knowledge, working methods and appropriate terminology for subsequent work at university level.
- To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature from the period 1500 to the present, and the relationship between period and genre.
You are able to take optional modules in year one. Those offered by the School of English may include:
Creative Writing Practice
This module introduces you to the process of writing drama, poetry and fiction by engaging in a variety of forms of reading, writing and performance practice. Activities include creative and analytical responses to published writing, writing exercises in poetry, drama and fiction, and revision of work written over the course of the module. The poetry content includes imagery, line and metre, and poetic form; the fiction content includes character, narrative, and point of view; the drama content includes scene, dialogue and character. The module also includes material on the contexts of writing, including: publication, performance and literary interviews.
- To guide you in the practice of the process of writing, including using notebooks and making revisions.
- To develop your skills in writing and reading to develop an awareness of literary contexts and creative and aesthetic possibilities.
- To provide knowledge and understanding of elements of poetry (rhythm, imagery, and poetic form), fiction (character, narrative and point of view) and drama (scene, dialogue, character).
This module introduces you to the work of selected regional writers, including Nottinghamshire writers (e.g. DH Lawrence), considering how their work engages with regional landscapes, the literary and industrial heritage of their area, and other distinctive cultural elements such as dialect.
The module will allow you to reflect on recent theoretical developments in the field of literary geography, while also equipping you to read and appreciate literary works through a focus on their tangible social and historical contexts.
- To provide you with knowledge of a range of literary works by notable regional writers.
- To provide an introduction to the study of literary geography, place and space in literary works.
Shakespeare's Histories: Critical Approach
Shakespeare is a cultural and literary icon. This module seeks to explore some of the many reasons behind that fact by focussing on one particular genre of drama: the history plays, which was hugely popular in England’s commercial playhouses in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Looking in detail at a sequence of four plays – Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V – the module will consider key themes, including kingship, power and authority, national and regional identities, sexual politics, war, and ideas of community. In addition, we will use these plays as a lens through which to examine Shakespeare’s engagement with the linguistic, performative, and socio-political contexts of his time.
Bringing matters up to the present day, the module will deploy a range of media resources, including film and performance archives, to consider the ways in which these plays continue to resonate and reverberate in the modern era. The relevance of the history plays within new social and political contexts and in new eras of war and conflict will be the focus of analysis, allowing us to think about Shakespeare in performance, on the screen, and in various forms of adaptation.
- To provide you with an understanding of key issues related to the production and reception of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.
- To consider Shakespeare’s position as a cultural and literary icon.
- To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the genre of early modern history plays with specific reference to Shakespeare.
The Viking World
More than any other group, the Vikings shaped the history of Europe. Their stories and myths are still the subject of fiction, poetry, film and art. This interdisciplinary module introduces you to the impact of the Viking Age and of the Viking Expansion. You will become familiar with concepts such as diasporic settlements and identity, as well as being introduced to the various ways of evaluating sources from the Viking Age and beyond (such as historical sources, material culture etc.). You will also learn about the myths and the language, as well as the culture of the Viking Age and beyond. This module is specifically designed as an introduction to Viking Studies. No previous knowledge of history, language or literature or archaeology is necessary.
- To introduce you to the culture of medieval Scandinavia and the Viking-settled areas.
- To introduce you to the study of different source types (text, language and material culture) and to interdisciplinary research, including an awareness of the sources of medieval literature.
- To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of Northern Europe and the North Atlantic around the first millennium.
- To explore concepts of migration and identity in the early Middle Ages.
- To provide you with understanding of the relationships between texts and historical contexts.
Alternatively, you may prefer to start or continue learning a language, or choose other modules from across the Arts faculty and the University, such as in American studies, philosophy, history, art history or classics.
The modules we offer in year three are inspired by the research interests of our staff. You will be able to choose six modules based on the indicative topics below.
Literature 1500 to the present
- The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century
- Contemporary Fiction
- Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics
- Single Author Study
- Dark Futures, Tainted Pasts: Dystopian and Gothic Fictions
- Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
- Island and Empire
- Henry James and Oscar Wilde
English language and applied linguistics
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language
- Language and the Mind
- Advanced Stylistics
- Discourses of Health and Work
- Language and Feminism
Medieval languages and literatures
- The Literature of the Anglo-Saxons
- English Place-Names
- Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England
- The Viking Mind
Drama and performance
- Theatre Making
- Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980
- Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
- Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art
- Modern Irish Literature and Drama
- Writing for Performance
If you chose Creative Writing Practice in year one as an option you may take any of the following modules:
- Advanced writing practice: Fiction
- Advanced Writing Practice: Poetry
- Writing for performance
Individual research project
You will have the option of writing an individual research project in year three. This will give you the chance to work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor on an agreed area of study to produce a detailed and sustained piece of writing. This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance, or there is the option of undertaking a project-based dissertation, which will suit those students interested in applied or 'hands on' aspects of English as a discipline. The topics available build on the School’s engagement with local theatres and literacy projects.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.
English Dissertation: Full year
English Dissertation: Spring Semester only