Literary Histories: Genres and Themes in Literature and Culture

Language of instruction



Students are required to have passed an introductory module in literature at Bachelor-level. The level of English language skills required for this course should correspond to the level achieved on successful completion of the Language Skills and Culture introductory module.


This module will examine one particular genre, with an emphasis on how the genre is continually re-shaped in response to broader cultural and historical change (e.g. the sonnet tradition, love poetry through the ages, the detective novel from its origins to the present, versions of the picaresque, tragedy from Shakespeare to Arthur Miller, etc.).

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to: (a) outline the key historical facts relevant to the topic of their course; (b) explain the interrelationship between this historical context and the primary texts discussed in class; (c) formulate sustained literary critical arguments that take into account the cultural and generic conventions of the time; (d) write mid-length literary critical essays; (e) present the findings of their literary critical and historical research in other formats (e.g. short input papers, posters, visual essays, short presentations, leading a class discussion, etc.); (f) engage in open and constructive academic debates with their peers; (g) list a number of useful techniques to read and understand difficult secondary texts.