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Landmarks in British Poetry - EDU00017H

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Amanda Naylor
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21
    • See module specification for other years: 2019-20

Module summary

This module will raise students awareness of the major historical developments in English poetry over time. Students will develop a critical understanding of contemporary issues associated with analysing and teaching poetry.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

Module Aims:

  • to raise students awareness of the major historical developments in English poetry over time
  • to develop students critical understanding of contemporary issues associated with analysing and teaching poetry
  • to provide students with a critical engagement with literary and linguistic stylistic analysis of poetry
  • to facilitate students research into specialist areas of English poetry

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

be aware of key periods in the development of English poetry
have developed a close knowledge of some of the major works by poets that figure significantly in English school curricula
have acquired an understanding of the complex critical issues emerging from the study of poetry
be able to engage with the main critical viewpoints as applied to poetry and apply these to unseen poetry

Academic and graduate skills

have explored a variety of approaches to the criticism of poetry

be able to analyse in significant depth the linguistic techniques utilised by various major poets over time
be able to identify the complexity of interpreting poetry and have the skills to recognise and communicate this complexity with regard to new poems and poets
have developed the facility to respond creatively to texts
to be able to identify critical issues in the pedagogy of poetry and apply these to their own planning for teaching
To have acquired a strong subject base in preparation for application to train as a secondary English teacher

Module content

All students will participate in a variety of in-class whole group and small group tasks set by
the tutor. Students are encouraged to discuss the choice for their single author study to the
tutor during the term which can form the basis of individual tutorial discussions and
appropriate feedback. The module tutor will help students to relate the discussion to
theoretical perspectives, and will provide in-class small group exercises to supplement and
focus the debates.

An outline of content by week:

2. Introduction to module; Critical perspectives and the mechanics of poetic analysis

3. Early modern poetry of seduction – John Donne and courtliness

4. Air and Angels; Reading George Herbert’s The Temple

5. Rhetorical tropes; Andrew Marvell

6. Keats – The Odes

7. The Victorians; Tennyson and the cult of the medieval

8. The Victorians; Victorian women poets

9. The Changing Voice; Edna St Vincent Millay

10. Assignment workshop

11. Modernism; T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland

12. Contemporary British Poets

13. Unseen Poetry Workshop
14. Individual Assignment Support


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word single Author study
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3000 word single Author study
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback report with follow-up tutor discussion, if necessary. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Culler, J. (1997) Literary Theory; A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dias, P. and Hayhoe, M. (1988) Developing Response to Poetry, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Drabble, M. (ed.) (1932; 6th edn 2000) The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Eagleton, T. (1983: 2nd edn 1996) Literary Theory: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell.
Eliot T.S. (1933) The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism; studies in the relation of criticism to poetry in England. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.
Iser, W.(1988) The Reading process; a phenomenological approach in Lodge, D & Wood, N. (eds) Modern Criticism and Theory, Edinburgh: Pearson, pp189-205.
Pope, R. (1999; 2nd edn 2002) The English Studies Book: an introduction to language, literature and culture. London: Routledge.
Rosenblatt, L. (1970) Literature as Exploration, London: Heinemann.
Rosenblatt,L. (1978) The Reader, the Text and the Poem, Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press.
Wainwright, J. (2004) Poetry; The Basics, Oxford: Routledge.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.