module specification

SJ4015 - Fiction: Critical Practice and Literary Culture (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Fiction: Critical Practice and Literary Culture
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   1000-word close reading
Coursework 40%   2000-word essay
Coursework 40%   2000-word critical or creative piece
Running in 2018/19

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module provides an introductory orientation to the study of the novel and other forms of prose fiction and will thus be essential preparatory learning for Literature modules at higher levels. Students will consider the origins, evolution and purpose of prose fiction forms through reading the work of a wide range of historical and contemporary writers. The module also introduces key theoretical ideas as well as aspects of book publishing and selling today. The module is taught primarily by weekly three-hour weekly classes typically comprising a lecture and discussion seminar. It is assessed by pieces of written coursework that offer students the opportunity to develop skills in different kinds of critical writing.

The module aims to equip students with an historical and theorised understanding of the rise of the novel; to engage students in debates about the cultural function of prose fiction writing today; to develop students’ skills in close reading and in contextual and structural analysis; and to encourage students to explore their own position and voice as practitioners within the field of literary criticism.

Prior learning requirements



Students will be introduced to a wide range of examples of prose fiction to illustrate the development of the novel and short story forms, from their roots in medieval romances and eighteenth-century realism to modernist innovations and twenty-first century responses to globalisation and digital media. (LO1)

Students will learn techniques, terminology and theoretical approaches for analysing prose fiction, particularly in relation to postcoloniality. (LO3, LO2)

The module will introduce students to the contemporary publishing and bookselling scene as a context for understanding the making and promotion of prose fiction today. (LO2)

Alongside reading published primary texts, students will also develop their own critical writing practice within academic and more popular idioms. They will also have an option to learn through writing their own short fiction. (LO4)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding
LO1 show understanding of the development of prose fiction within the history of English Literature;

Cognitive intellectual abilities
LO2 reflect critically on the role of fictional narrative in the contemporary world;

Subject-specific skills
LO3 analyse prose fiction through applying key terms and critical concepts;

Transferable skills
LO4 express themselves within a variety of prose forms.

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment over the course of the module will take the form of three pieces of written coursework, totalling 5000 words, addressing the various topics of the syllabus and allowing students opportunities to write in both academic and other registers. Detailed requirements for each coursework will be provided during the module.


Core textbooks:
Cobley, P., (2014) Narrative, 2nd ed., Routledge
Hawthorn, J., (2017) Studying the Novel, 7th ed., Bloomsbury Academic
Hunter, A., (2007) The Cambridge Introduction to the Short Story in English, Cambridge University Press
MacKay, M., (2010) The Cambridge Introduction to the Novel, Cambridge University Press

Other textbooks:
Abbott, H. Porter, (2008), The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press
Cockcroft, R. and Cockcroft, S., (2014) Persuading People: An Introduction to Rhetoric, 3rd ed., Palgrave Macmillan
Hale, D. J., (2006) The Novel: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory, Blackwell
Howe, E., (2010) Close Reading: An Introduction to Literature, LongmanLane, R., (2006) The Postcolonial Novel, Polity

Parrinder, P., (2006) Nation and Novel: The English Novel from Its Origins to the Present Day, Oxford University Press
Philips, D., (2014), Women’s Fiction: From 1945 to Today, 2nd ed., Bloomsbury Academic
Shiach, M., (ed.), (2007) The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel, Cambridge University Press
Squires, C., (2007) Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain, Palgrave Macmillan
Tew, P., (2007) The Contemporary British Novel, Continuum

Essays in Criticism
Novel: A Forum on Fiction

Project Gutenberg
The Bookseller

Electronic Databases:
Academic Search Complete

Box of Broadcasts
Credo Reference Academic