What is the course about?
From Shakespeare to Mary Shelley, from Romantic poetry to Ibsen to Virginia Woolf, this course will enhance your appreciation of literary genres and styles from different periods, developing the rigour and skills of reading and writing that belong to higher level study. Includes three Saturdays 10.30-13:30.
This course is taught by Hugh Epstein and Patricia Sweeney.
What will we cover?
Do you enjoy reading and discussing books, but want to gain a wider grasp of the history and development of English literature? Are you perhaps thinking of studying literature at a higher level, and want to gain knowledge and confidence about what that study might entail? This course is for enthusiastic readers who want the enjoyable challenge of meeting some significant poems, plays and novels that contribute to a traditional but also changing sense of what studying literature is about. The course will encourage close reading of texts, acquaintance with the wider social and historical picture, and awareness of different ways of reading, in order to arrive at often differing interpretations. An important aspect of the course is the development of confidence in the writing of critical essays (one in term one and one in term three) and a seminar presentation and discussion in term three.
The course is structured in units which give access to five centuries of (mainly English) literature through the medium of poetry, prose and drama.The four central units are concerned with Drama (reading 'Othello' and 'A Doll's House'), Romanticism (including 'Frankenstein'), the Victorian age (including 'Hard Times') and Modernist literature (including T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce). A poetry anthology is provided by the course tutors. You will be introduced to different theoretical approaches within literary studies, and will be able to explore those that you find stimulating.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
By the end of the course you will have met a wide and contrasting range of poetry, prose and drama
You will have considered how literature responds to historical, social and cultural conditions
You will have seen how different approaches can be used in the reading of literature
You will have practised the skills required of a good student of literature at higher level, including seminar discussion and the writing of two critical essays.
A completion certificate will outline what you have covered on the course.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is open to a wide range of applicants, who will have differing intentions in following this course of study. You will need to be ready to read, discuss and write about literature willingly and with enthusiasm, and should have at least a grade B in GCSE English or equivalent. Those with higher level or professional qualifications in other subjects are welcome. Admission to the course is by online assessment, to ascertain that you will benefit from the course and that you will contribute positively.
You will receive a completion certificate from City Lit which will outline what you have covered on the course.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Small group and whole class discussion, led by the tutor, will be central to this course. In addition to the class sessions, there will be three Saturday tutorials from 10:30-13:00, which will be devoted to skills, particularly of essay writing. These tutorials will allow you to take full advantage of developing your study skills.
The writing of the two essays (one in each term) and preparation for seminar presentation will also take up time outside class. There will be between 2-3 hours of preparation for classes each week.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will be provided with a poetry anthology, and there will be handouts each week. You will need to provide a file for these materials, for reference.
Texts you will need to buy or borrow:
Othello by William Shakespeare (Penguin Classics, 2015)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Oxford World Classics, 2008, ed. M.K. Joseph)
Hard Times by Charles Dickens (Penguin Classics, 2003, ed. Kate Flint)
A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (Methuen Student Edition, 2008)
Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw (Plays Unpleasant: Widowers’ Houses, The Philanderer and Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Penguin Classics, 2000)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (Penguin Classics, 2000)
You will be able to pay for this course in instalments. Please ask enrolments for details.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please look for other literature courses under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details