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Eros: the Literature and Philosophy of Love - ENG00162I

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Brian Cummings
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

Love has been the inspiration of poets since earliest times and has also been the often surprising occasion of speculative thinking about the boundaries and purposes of philosophy. From Plato to Freud, the creative and yet dangerous possibilities of love have been the spur for understanding the human sciences. Students on this module will explore a wide range of literary texts (classical, Renaissance, and modern), reading mostly in translation but also learning some concepts in philosophy.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

The aim of this module is to introduce students to some of the richness and variety of the world’s love literature, especially poetry; and to develop a sense of literary language and its theoretical basis.

Module learning outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with a range of love writing

  2. Demonstrate an informed understanding of and engagement with some philosophical and cultural contexts of classical, Renaissance, and modern literature

  3. Examine key debates and critical approaches, including queer and other forms of sexuality

  4. Develop a sound grasp of the theory and practice of love

  5. Develop arguments and ideas which demonstrate a proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.

  6. Demonstrate an understanding of some of the key issues at stake in the act of translation and in the study of literature in translation.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : 2,000-word essay
N/A 70
Essay : Eros Open Exam
N/A 30

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay : 2,000-word essay
N/A 70
Essay : Eros Open Exam
N/A 30

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 designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours

For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading

Sappho, Poems

Plato, Symposium

Catullus and Ovid, odes and other poems

Shakespeare, Sonnets

Freud, Selected writings

Proust, Swann’s Way

W.H. Auden, selected poems

Sharon Olds, Odes

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.