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Key Concepts: An Introduction to Genre, Theory & Writing - ENG00024C

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Ezra Horbury
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

Key Concepts is a year-long module which introduces you to key elements of literary study at university. It includes two strands: an introduction to critical and literary theory, and a practical introduction to rhetoric and writing.

The Critical Theory strand is taught by lecture only, running throughout the Autumn and Spring Terms and for an additional four weeks in the Summer Term, when you will have revision workshops. You will explore the most important and foundational ways of analysing literary texts, including genres, forms and film-theory. You will be introduced to the importance of literary and critical theory, a set of key critical and theoretical concepts, positions and tools. Topics covered will include: Marxism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Postcolonialism and Queer Theory. This year-long series of lectures is organised so as to provide you with an entry into exciting, complicated and nuanced areas of literary analysis and theorisation, which will be of use throughout your degree programme. The lectures will draw upon specific pieces and sections from the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism so students should get to know this very large and very useful resource.

The writing strand of the Key Concepts module provides students with strategies for writing and revising essays of literary criticism through fortnightly two-hour workshops. The ability to wield rhetoric effectively and to argue carefully and with panache is central to successful study at university. These workshops provide instruction on finding and developing an argument, essay structure, grammar and style, and incorporating secondary sources. They allow time for students to read and respond to the work of others, to have their work peer-reviewed, and to receive one-on-one instruction from the workshop tutors. These workshops address topics raised in Key Concepts lectures and demonstrate to students how to apply lecture topics to their writing and to see the connections between critical thinking, reading, and writing.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the undergraduate study of literature and literary and critical theory and to provide students with key points of information about how to study literature, how to conduct research. Students will be introduced to a range of foundational literary and critical terms and concepts and encouraged to move towards increasingly complex ways of thinking about literary texts and theoretical and critical approaches to the study of literary texts. Alongside this, students will develop their critical writing, reading, and thinking skills and see the interconnections between these three processes; learn strategies for constructing and supporting an argument; and develop research and writing skills in working with literary criticism and critical theory.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a foundational understanding of and engagement with a range key literary terms, concepts and theoretical approaches.

  2. Demonstrate a foundational understanding of and engagement with a range of literary genres, including fiction, poetry, drama, and film.

  3. Develop arguments and ideas which demonstrate university-level critical thinking, research, and writing skills.

  4. Produce critical writing which demonstrates a multi-stage process of planning and revision, and a clear understanding of grammar and rhetorical skills.

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
N/A 0
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Key Concepts: An Introduction to Genre, Theory & Writing Exam
4 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative: Writing tasks due in week 5 and 7 in autumn and 3,5, and 7, in spring term.

In order to pass the portfolio element of the module a portfolio must be submitted which includes a 1,500-word essay; 2,000-word essay; critical précis; annotated draft essay; self-reflection form. This part of the module is failed if any of these items are missing, or if portfolio is submitted late.

Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
N/A 0
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Key Concepts: An Introduction to Genre, Theory & Writing Exam
4 hours 100

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is provided in a pedagogical spirit, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours, details of which can be found on the Student Home Page.

  • For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see section 12 of the department's Guide to Assessment, available on the Student Home Page

Indicative reading

The Key Text for this module is the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.