module specification

SJ6003A - Moderns to Contemporaries Part 1 (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Moderns to Contemporaries Part 1
Module level Honours (06)
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 composition + commentary
Coursework 60%   2000 word composition + commentary
Running in 2024/25

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

Module summary

Moderns to Contemporaries part 1 builds on the earlier core historical modules Romantics to Victorians and Victorians to Moderns and examines the period from the 1940s to the 1980s. Through the study of poetry and prose, their critical discussion and creative production, and through reference to other media forms, the module addresses major themes in the cultural, social and political history of the period. The syllabus includes experimental, controversial and canonical works, and takes a chronological approach in order to discuss, variously, war and reconstruction; the legacies of violence that inflect our understanding of gender, religion and race; and post-war cultural politics and social change. The module is taught in weekly sessions comprising a common lecture followed by an English Literature seminar or Creative Writing workshop. The module is supported by online material and tutorial hours and assessed by critical essays and/or creative work.

The aims of this module are to introduce students to modern (c.1940-1980) literary and poetical works written in the UK and in other countries; to provide students with a wide literary, historical and socio-cultural context; to produce well-informed readers capable of thoughtful interpretation; to develop students’ critical and/or creative writing skills to an advanced level.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass (120 credits) of previous level.

Available for Study Abroad? YES


Topics in social, political and cultural history (LO2) will inform the module syllabus in a way that continues and develops the discussion in the earlier core historical modules Romantics to Victorians and Victorians to Moderns. Students study innovative and controversial works of poetry and prose (LO1) which allow a chronological history of the post-war period (LO2) to unfold through discussion of topics such as: the legacy of war and historical violence; countercultural and social revolution; fictional narrative and the recovery of history (LO1/LO2). Seminar and workshop discussions focus on students' critical and creative responses to the literature studied and topics raised (LO4) and require them to produce writing and engage in spoken argument and debate each week (LO3).

Typical texts studied include: Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot; Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems; Frank O’Hara, Lunch Poems; Seamus Heaney, North; Ted Hughes, Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow; Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, Toni Morrison, Beloved. Primary works studied may change from year to year.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The syllabus requires a concerted and organised approach to reading, and there are weekly set texts. These vary from shorter poetic works to collections of poetry and short stories, novellas and shorter and longer novels. Independent reading and study outside of class ensures that study in class is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed from lecture, seminar, workshop and tutorial, 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, detailed and sustained understanding of thematic and formal developments in poetry and prose fiction from 1940 to the 1980s;

Knowledge and Understanding
LO2 evaluate literary production in English in the period in terms of wider historical, cultural and political contexts and in terms of the qualities of the fictional world itself;

Subject Specific Skills
LO3 write sustained critical and/or creative responses to the thematic, formal and/or historical development of prose and poetry in the period 1940 to the 1980s;

Transferable Skills
LO4 develop and produce critically and creatively sophisticated work in response to research task.