A guide to English Literature modules at Warwick – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

A guide to English Literature modules at Warwick

Here’s a little run-down of how the English Literature degree at Warwick is structured and what you can expect from the course:

Students studying English Literature at Warwick will take four modules a year. This equates to 120 CATS a year, which are essentially points needed to graduate. Each module is worth 30 CATS in your first year.

In your second and third years you take what are called ‘honours level’ modules. Most of these modules are year-long, so are worth 30 CATS. Others run for only a term and are worth 15 CATS. Basically, you take enough modules to add up to 120 CATS a year. 

The majority of English Literature students will take the same four modules in their first year, unless you are on a joint degree, in which case you will take some modules from your other department instead. You can also switch the Modern World Literatures module out for a language module.

These four first year modules are designed to give you an introduction to the study of literature, introducing you to a wide variety of texts from different time periods, genres, forms and countries. It’s important to note that you don’t just read texts from England or Anglophone countries, but from all over the world, including texts that have been translated into English. Here are the four first year modules:

Epic into Novel – This module traces the formation of literature as we know it, beginning with epic poetry such as The Iliad and The Aeneid, through to the development of the novel.

Modes of Reading – This is a theory-based module that explores a variety of different theoretical fields of study. Theory is really useful as a lens through which to view texts or a tool to interpret them, so it provides a good framework for the rest of your degree years and helps you to develop critical thinking skills.

Medieval to Renaissance Literature – In this module you explore some of the earliest texts in English history, through to the times of the Tudor court. This includes texts such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, through to Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Modern World Literatures – In this module you explore the key theme of ‘modernity’, exploring the development of the concept through texts from 1789 to the present day. Many of these texts hail from across the world, and are a great way to explore little pockets of history through literature.  

When you get to your second and third years, you have a wide variety of modules to choose from. There are lots on offer, and you’ll have an idea of what interests you after your first year modules so you can choose your honours modules accordingly.

Here are the modules I chose to do this year and last year:

George Eliot and Sociology – In this module we studied George Eliot’s novels, including Middlemarch, Adam Bede and Daniel Deronda. We read them in conjunction with different sociological texts. Being able to focus study on one author was really valuable, especially as George Eliot was born and raised around the Coventry and nearby Nuneaton area.

English Literature and Feminisms: 1790-1899 – This module explores the early developments of Feminism and it was so fascinating to learn how it differs from what we know today.

Literature, Environment, Ecology – I chose this module because I was introduced to Eco-criticism in Modes of Reading in my first year and wanted to study it further. This module explores ideas of the Anthropocene and the human relationship with nature.

The European Novel – This novel explores texts from all around Europe and themes of the novel as a genre, reading a different novel nearly every week. Be warned the reading for this module was hefty, but also very varied and interesting.

Asia and the Victorians – This module is really fascinating, as when I think of the Victorian, my mind jumps first to England, but in reality there were lots of other things going on around the world and the relationship between Britain and Asia is more complex than it may first appear. This term we’ve focused mainly on India, and next term will be looking at other parts of Asia.

Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time – This module is among my favourites that I have taken at Warwick, perhaps even my ultimate favourite. We study a Shakespeare play a week, accompanied by 2 hours of lectures and a seminar. There is always so much to read into and analyse in Shakespeare texts, but in this module we focus primarily on the texts as theatrical pieces, exploring the different components of the Elizabethan stage and how a play is realised.

Commodity Fictions – This module mixes Eco-criticism with Post-colonial studies, looking at what are called ‘commodity frontiers’, which are essentially places where commodities are produced, such as plantations, mines, etc., and how these are represented in fiction. It’s really interesting, especially if you’re interested in world literature in a way that is particularly relevant in the capitalist society we live in today.

The Classical Tradition in English Translation: The Renaissance – This was a 15 CAT module I studied this term. It pleasantly surprised me as I have never really studied classics before or had much interest in them, but this module changed that. We studied a variety of classical texts, and it was particularly useful to take in conjunction with the Shakespeare module, as many classical texts were referred to in texts throughout the Elizabethan period and later. I would recommend this module if you have never studied the classics before, and even if you have. It was very accessible and I really enjoyed the teaching style.

Game Theory: Interactive and Video Game Narratives – I haven’t started this module yet but I’m signed up to take it next term and I’m really excited. One of my friends took this module and it made her decide to do a masters degree in Games Design. It’s a module in the Creative Writing department, so it’ll be fun to mix my love of video games with the storytelling components.

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