module specification

SJ5017A - Publishing and the Book part 1 (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Publishing and the Book part 1
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   1000 word written assignment
Coursework 60%   1500 word written assignment
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

Publishing and the Book Part 1 examines London’s literary and publishing culture through a series of historical case studies of famous and significant writers, and charts the development of the publishing industry in London from the 17th century to the post-WWII period. Through the discussion of authors and their works, students will study and research transformations in literary and print culture, in conditions of authorship and copyright, developments in literacy, readership, criticism, marketing and the production of literary material and the book.

The module aims to give students a historical understanding of London’s publishing industry and the opportunity to respond critically and creatively in writing to this, and further to give students an understanding of the historical processes of taking a manuscript from author to publisher, bookseller and reader.

The module is taught through a combination of lecture/seminar, and is assessed by critical essay, or critical and creative portfolio.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass (120 credits) of previous level. This module cannot be taken in conjunction with SJ6019A.


The module involves a series of historical case studies which examine significant moments in the history of literary publishing in London (LO1/LO2). Authors and topics discussed may include John Gay and the early 18th c. satire boom (LO1/LO2), Samuel Johnson and mid-18th c. periodical and print culture (LO1/LO2), William Blake and radical publishing in the late 18th c. (LO1/LO2), Charles Dickens and mid-19th c. serial publication (LO1/LO2), Virginia and Leonard Woolf and the small press and magazine culture of early 20th c. modernism and experimental writing (LO1/LO2), and post-WWII publishing ventures for feminist, lesbian and gay, and BAME literature (LO1/LO2). Students may respond in critical and/or creative form to the first part of the module syllabus (LO3).

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 this module students will be able to:

Cognitive intellectual abilities
LO1 articulate coherent understanding of London’s literary and publishing culture from the 17th to 20th century;

Knowledge and understanding
LO2 evaluate literary production in terms of wider commercial, material, critical and cultural contexts, and in terms of the qualities of the fictional world itself;

Subject specific skills
LO3 produce critical and/or creative responses to the historical and contemporary contexts of literary publishing in London;

Transferable skills
LO4 synthesise complex historical evidence for development in written form.

Assessment strategy

• 001 (40%) – 1000 word critical or creative response to London’s publishing or literary history based on first part of the syllabus
• 002 (60%) – 1500 word critical or creative response to London’s publishing or literary history based on second part of the syllabus

Assignments 001 and 002 allow students to respond to the material, historical, commercial and cultural contexts (LO1/LO2) of London publishing by writing about historically significant persons, works, places, developments and events (LO3) in critical or creative form (LO4)


Core textbooks
Cunningham, I., (2005) A Reader’s Guide to Writers’ London, Andre Deutsch Ltd
McKitterick, D., (ed.), (2010) The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume 6, 1830-1914, Cambridge University Press
Suarez, M. F. et al., (eds), (2010) The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume 5, 1695-1830, Cambridge University Press

Other textbooks
Groes, S., (2011) The Making of London: London in Contemporary Literature, Palgrave Macmillan
Manley, L., (2011) The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of London, Cambridge University Press
Porter, R., (1996) London: A Social History, Penguin, 1996

The London Journal (Leeds: Maney) – e-journal
Literary London: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Representation of London (Northampton) – e-journal

Electronic Databases
Project Muse
Academic Search Complete
Cambridge Core