On completion of this course, students will be able to:
- describe some of the premises of literary perspectives focusing on form as well as of ideological perspectives on literature
- analyse literary works from the perspective of narrative, drama and poetry criticism
- discuss aspects specific to a literary text such as theme and form, but also relevant aspects outside the text, such as the role of literature in describing the human experience
- argue for their own interpretations of literary works in a correct, clear and coherent manner both orally and in writing
- discuss the complexity of social issues regarding nationhood, social and cultural identity, and the significance of literature in shedding light on these matters
- in written work apply appropriate English grammar and writing rules.
The course consists of two parts:
Module 1: Form and Function
The module offers an introduction to approaches to literature, which centre on literary form, and examines the privileged position literature holds, as a type of language and a form of art, in helping us understand human activity. Focusing on modern and contemporary English-speaking works of prose, drama and poetry, the Module treats such formal features as narrative pace and perspective, poetic structure, dramatic techniques and literary devices. In the Module we will be asking such questions as what makes a literary work literary? What distinguishes fiction from non-fiction and in what ways is this distinction relevant? What is the significance of literary conventions? How can the usefulness of the “literary imagination” be understood, for the individual and for society?
Module 2: Literature, Identity and Culture
The module offers an introduction to ideological approaches to literature and focuses on the social power of literary works. Here literature is studied as a particularly important art form, the significance of which derives from its ability to record, reveal and question cultural assumptions, social structures and political outlooks. Modern and contemporary works of poetry, drama and prose mainly from the United Kingdom and Ireland, North America and the Pacific Region are treated. In the Module we will be exploring the role – and ability – of literature in examining such questions as what are the projected self-images of the USA and the UK? How have these shaped individual and collective identities within the nation borders? How have their respective conceptions of national and cultural identities been received in others parts of the world, especially within the countries’ imperialist spheres of influence?
The course is examined through continuous assessment of active seminar participation and written assignments for Modules 1 and 2, as well as through a final written exam for each Module.
Forms of Study
The course is taught in the form of lectures and seminars. Seminars will include oral and written exercises. Written exercises are discussed in seminars and individual workshops. Vocabulary is practiced through self-study. All teaching is conducted in English.
Reporting of grades:
Module 1: Form and Function: 7,5 hec
Module 2: Literature, identity and Culture: 7,5 hec
To receive VG on the whole course VG on both modules is necessary.
- General entrance requirements (including English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school) or equivalent knowledge. No knowledge of Swedish is required.