Literature

Autumn

Seamus Heaney

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Seamus Heaney achieved a level of fame rarely seen amongst modern poets, culminating in his 1995 Nobel Prize award. Arguably the fame has obscured the poetry, and distorted perceptions of Heaney’s achievement. This course, taking in Heaney’s earliest poems in the mid-1960s to his last just before his death in 2013, will offer a detailed portrait of the work and the man behind the stellar reputation, considering along the way the complex inter-relations of poetry, history and identity.

Stephen Grace  BA MA

  • Day: Monday
  • Start Date: 03 October 2016
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 10
  • Full fee: £72.00

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Nineteenth Century American Literature: Emerging Voices of America

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Ever wanted to ‘tackle’ some of the classics of American literature? Through selected novellas, short stories and poetry we will consider key aspects of nineteenth-century American experience such as slavery, war, violence and westward expansion. The course will include the emerging voices of women, African Americans and Native Americans to introduce the rich and diverse beginnings of American literature. All you need is a love of reading and a willingness to discuss your ideas! A reading list will be available in advance.

Sharon Holm PhD

  • Day: Tuesday 
  • Start Date: 04 October 2016
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 10
  • Full fee: £72.00

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WB Yeats (cancelled)

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Last year saw the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats, the Anglo-Irish poet whose ‘Majestic Shade’ has cast an enormous influence over all subsequent poetry and indeed literature at large. This course will uncover the achievements of one of the major figures of the twentieth century, from Crossways (1889) to Last Poems (1939), asking questions about the relationship of literature to politics, nation, and identity.

Karl O’Hanlon BA MA

  • Day: Wednesday
  • Start Date: 05 October 2016
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 8
  • Full fee: £57.00

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Milton

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'Milton, thou shoudst be living at this hour; / England hath need of thee...' So thought Wordsworth in his ode London, 1802, and John Milton’s writings continue to have relevance for the twenty-first century. We will look mainly at Milton’s English poetry, from the earliest poems to Paradise Lost. We will also draw on some of the prose works. Our classes will examine Milton’s historical context, but also how his work resonates with issues in contemporary civil society.

Karl O’Hanlon BA MA

  • Day: Thursday
  • Start Date: 06 October 2016
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 8
  • Full fee: £57.00

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All You Need is Love

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Love - the gaining and losing of it, the craving and fear of it - is a central theme in poetry. This course explores various manifestations of love as well as its effects on both lover and the object of desire, as expressed in poetry. Is the ability to love a defining characteristic of being human? Is love a corruption or a blessing? Do our ideas of love - romantic, physical, ideological - change over time? No previous experience with either poetry or love required.

Helen Bullock BA MA

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 05 November 2016
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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Spring

Not Just the Booker Prize: Contemporary Fiction in 2016 (FULL - waiting list only avialable at the online store)

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The Booker Prize is the most acclaimed literary award in the UK. But does the winner represent the best fiction title of the year? We will read, discuss and judge for ourselves the winners of six literary prizes and one of the bestselling fiction titles of 2016 in an attempt to answer this question. The only necessary qualification is a willingness to read and discuss the seven novels. Details of the set novels will be made available from October onwards.

Rob O’Connor    BA MA CTLLS

  • Day: Monday
  • Start Date: 23 January 2017
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 8
  • Full fee: £57.00

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Shakespeare and his Legacy

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Examining a different Shakespeare play each week, this course will investigate how each fits into the canon and take a look at some of the bard’s most famous speeches. The second half of the course will consider elements including staging and design, the history of theatre, and later adaptations in relation to the play of choice.

Kate Stephenson BSc MRes MLitt

  • Day: Tuesday
  • Start Date: 24 January 2017
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 8
  • Full fee: £57.00

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WH Auden

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Auden was 'the first poet writing in English who felt at home in the twentieth century', and some of his best known poems emerge from its most notorious moments, such as the crises of the 1930s and the Second World War. This course will examine Auden’s historical imagination, how his poetry resisted (as well as welcomed) the twentieth century, how his historical engagements changed over the course of his career, and weigh the implications of his oft-quoted assertion that 'poetry makes nothing happen'.

Stephen Grace  BA MA

  • Day: Wednesday
  • Start Date: 25 January 2017
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 8
  • Full fee: £57.00

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A Day with Lord Byron

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Romantic, rebel, rake: Byron embodied 'the spirit of the age' in both his poetry and scandalous life. Described as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know', his affairs threaten to overshadow the accomplishment of his poetry. His letters are among the most sparkling and revealing in the English language as they cast an unforgiving eye over poetry, politics, love and Regency life. We will reveal the real Lord Byron and consider his legacy and the creation of 'the Byronic hero'. Not for the faint hearted.

Helen Bullock BA MA

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 11 February 2017
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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Introduction to the Icelandic Sagas (FULL: waiting list available; second cohort 6 May below)

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An extraordinary blend of fact, myth and fiction, peopled with heroes, outlaws, lovers and the occasional troll, the sagas contain some of the richest vernacular writing of the Middle Ages. In this course, we will focus on a single saga - The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue - to explore the context in which the texts were composed, their unique prose style, their importance for Scandinavian and English identity, and their relationships with folklore and contemporary European literature. No prior knowledge is required.

Katrina Attwood BA MA MSc PGCE PhD

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 11 March 2017
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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Summer

The Brontës

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Mysterious Emily, rebellious Charlotte, gentle Anne: the life of the Brontë sisters in isolated Haworth is almost as famous as their literary works. This course will take their 200th year anniversaries as an occasion to look at the Brontë myth and reread their novels, which scandalised Victorian reviewers. It will also explore the juvenilia of Charlotte and Branwell Brontë, and examine how their first biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, shaped their posthumous reputation for generations to come in her Life of Charlotte Brontë.

Anne Reus BA MA

  • Day: Tuesday
  • Start Date: 18 April 2017
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 8
  • Full fee: £57.00

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Magic Realism

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As one of the most significant twentieth-century literary movements, magic realism - the occurrence of the fantastical within otherwise objective narratives - influenced writers as diverse as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie and Angela Carter. By close-reading of a selection of magic realist novels, we will examine in detail this most elusive and intriguing of literary genres, from its emergence in South America, its complex politics, and its ambivalent relationship to science-fiction and fantasy. Reading lists will be circulated before the course.

Stephen Grace  BA MA

  • Day: Wednesday
  • Start Date: 19 April 2017
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 10
  • Full fee: £72.00

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Shakespeare and Tragedy

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This course will look in detail at four Shakespearean tragedies (Julius CaesarHamletKing Lear and Antony and Cleopatra) using these to consider the variety, depth and inventiveness of Shakespeare’s ideas of ‘the tragic’, and to ask how Shakespearean tragedy might relate to ‘comedy’ and ‘history’ elsewhere in his oeuvre.  As well as close reading of the texts, we will also consider issues of staging and performance, using DVD recordings.

Peter Finch-Sieg PhD

  • Day: Thursday
  • Start Date: 20 April 2017
  • Time: 1-3pm
  • No. of weeks: 10
  • Full fee: £72.00

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Contemporary American Fiction

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The past 25 years have produced a bounty of American fiction. Over 10 weeks, this course will introduce students to some of the US’s most important voices, from 1990s classics such as Toni Morrison’s Paradise to more recent works, including Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Jonathan Franzen’s divisive 2010 novel Freedom. We will discuss how these novels grapple with concepts of race and gender, and how they narrate and negotiate America’s troubled history.

Stephanie Lambert MA

  • Day: Thursday
  • Start Date: 20 April 2017
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • No. of weeks: 10
  • Full fee: £72.00

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Introduction to the Icelandic Sagas (SECOND COHORT)

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An extraordinary blend of fact, myth and fiction, peopled with heroes, outlaws, lovers and the occasional troll, the sagas contain some of the richest vernacular writing of the Middle Ages. In this course, we will focus on a single saga - The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue - to explore the context in which the texts were composed, their unique prose style, their importance for Scandinavian and English identity, and their relationships with folklore and contemporary European literature. No prior knowledge is required.

Katrina Attwood BA MA MSc PGCE PhD

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 6 May 2017
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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An Introduction to Witchcraft

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Witches have always been part of the cultural landscape. How have different cultures perceived them, empowered them, and punished them? How are they incorporated into myths, religions and belief systems, and what effect did that have on the practitioners of witchcraft and their influence on communities? Powerful, romantic, revered, despised, punished, feared and endangered, witches have been all these things. This course will discuss the nature of witchcraft, past responses, and to what extent it still exists… and cast a spell or two.

Helen Bullock BA MA

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 13 May 2017
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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A Day with Philip Larkin (Second cohort)

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Larkin has been described as the greatest, if gloomy, post-war poet, as well as a novelist, librarian and jazz critic. Deprivation for him was, he said, what daffodils were for Wordsworth. This course attempts to refocus Larkin, as a humane observer of human emotion. His poetry is full of pinpoint accuracy in detailing emotional crisis, tenderness and startling and poignant observations. His truths are troubling ones, beautifully revealed. This course will consider Larkin's poetry, the complicated man, and discover why the poetry touches readers so deeply.

Helen Bullock BA MA

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 17 June 2017
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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Day with Philip Larkin (FULL - second cohort now available 17 June 2017)

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Larkin has been described as the greatest, if gloomy, post-war poet, as well as a novelist, librarian and jazz critic. Deprivation for him was, he said, what daffodils were for Wordsworth. This course attempts to refocus Larkin, as a humane observer of human emotion. His poetry is full of pinpoint accuracy in detailing emotional crisis, tenderness and startling and poignant observations. His truths are troubling ones, beautifully revealed. This course will consider Larkin's poetry, the complicated man, and discover why the poetry touches readers so deeply.

Helen Bullock BA MA

  • Day: Saturday
  • Start Date: 24 June 2017
  • Time: 9.30am-4.30pm
  • No. of weeks: 1
  • Full fee: £35.00

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