Approaches to Gender in English Literature
In this module, we're going to be exploring how gender diversity is both represented and interrogated in contemporary literature. In our discussions we'll be looking at novels, graphic novels and poetry that challenge the male/female gender binary, be it by conceptualising gender as fluid and individual, representing trans or queer identities, or making the reader think of the provisionality of the 'conventional' categories of masculinity and femininity. In this way, we will discuss how gender relationships and identities are imagined within our chosen texts, and the extent to which they reflect, perpetuate and/or challenge cultural assumptions regarding `normality¿. Our readings will be aided by the views of gender theorists such as Judith Butler, Riki Wilchins and Kate Bornstein, thus introducing you to broader debates about gender in culture and society.
Please note: Because of the subject matter of this course, we will be looking at frank representations of sexuality. In addition, The Power features scenes of sexual violence
This is a skills-based module which will equip students with the technical and critical expertise that is necessary for their academic journey in English Literature and Creative Writing. It is designed to support the transition from post-16 study to undergraduate study and to show students *how* to become successful scholars of English. How should we read texts? How do we write essays? Focusing on an exciting anthology of texts selected by the English academics at Swansea, this team-taught module uncovers the power of written language. We will explore how writers inspire and challenge their readers, how to think critically, how to close-read, how to construct powerful arguments and how to produce written work that is rigorous, academic and convincing. This module empowers students to think, write, and persuade.
Exploring the Bloody Chamber: Medieval to Postmodern
This module will analyse narratives of female enclosure and gender conflict in a selection of texts from the fourteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Our specific focus is the story of the serial wife-killer Bluebeard: we will begin by examining variants of this fairy-tale narrative before both tracing it back to its mediaeval antecedents and following its continuing presence as an influence on more contemporary texts. In the process, we will discuss theories of gender, race and class in order to account for the persistent presence of this story in Western culture.
Dissertation - English Literature
The Dissertation is an optional, two-semester, 40-credit module designed to develop high-level academic skills and intellectual independence in the students. A first-semester skills-building programme will include: research skills, summary skills, bibliographic skills, ability to synthesise succinctly, planning and organisational skills, correct presentation of a thesis and bibliography, presentational skills and public speaking. Students conduct research on a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of the English literature staff. The topic will be devised to fall within staff research and teaching specialisms, broadly defined. Students attend group sessions on research skills in Semesters 1 and 2, and have individual meetings with supervisors in Semester 2.
Written in Blood: Reading the Vampire
From Nosferatu to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Barney the Vampyre to the Twilight saga, the vampire is an enduring ¿ one might say persistently `un-dead¿ - presence within culture. This module builds on students¿ encounter with Bram Stoker¿s novel Dracula at Level One, and will take up the study of the literary vampire at a more advanced level. Students will be required to draw on a range of gender, cultural and critical theory in order to examine the changing face of the vampire within literature, and its apparently infinite ability to function as a vehicle for society¿s anxieties concerning sexuality, gender, race and class.
Students should note that this module has a heavy reading load, and requires participation in online as well as seminar discussion.
The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize Module
This module examines the hyper-contemporary literature longlisted on The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize. Each week will be devoted to examining a different aspect of the shortlisting process, as well as exploring the 12 longlisted books--all of which will have been published in the previous year. In this module, students will have access to literary agents, publishers, marketers, and prize judges, all the while reading and critiquing brand new literature. These texts have not been read on a literature degree before, and this course changes year on year. It is an exciting module that differs with each cohort, and is driven by the books students like to read.
Haunted Spaces/Haunting Texts: ghost stories and contemporary women's writing
The ghost story has always been a genre that has fostered a tradition of women's writing. As Nickianne Moody says in her essay 'Visible Margins: 'Women's Writing and the English Ghost Story', 'If one concentrates on women writers, and considers the ghost story as a gendered tradition of writing and reading, recurrent themes and preoccupations become evident'. This module will trace the 'recurrent themes and preoccupations' that link together a selection of 21stC ghost stories published by contemporary women writers. In the course of this investigation, we will move from published literary text to digital artifact, following the ghost from its traditional location within the home to the interstices of virtual spaces. The first section of the module, 'Domestic Psychogeographies', will focus on three novels that depict haunting within the traditionally female domain of the home. In the second, 'Ghosts from Elsewhere', we will discuss two novels that use the trope of haunting as a metaphor for colonialism, and the Western European incursion into non-European spaces and places. The third part of the module, 'The Ghost in the Machine', looks at the intersection of haunting and technology, and at the future of ghost stories told in digital forms. Our readings will be informed by appropriate critical and literary theory throughout: most notably, concepts such as cryptonomy, hauntology, spectrality and the uncanny.
Individual project devised and defined in discussion between supervisor and student.
Research Practice in English / Contemporary Writing / Welsh Writing in English
Supervised project on research methodology in practice. Students build a detailed bibliographical plan for their MA dissertation project.
This module will examine the work of Angela Carter, one of the most inventive and controversial British writers of recent times. Although she was a twentieth-century author who participated fully in postmodernist debates, her texts habitually allude to fictional forms of the past, such as the fairy tale, medieval allegory and the Gothic. More problematically, her apparent admiration for the work and career of the Marquis de Sade- which motivated her to experiment with the Sadeian pornographic narrative in her own writing- seems incompatible with her claim that she was a feminist. In this module, students wil have an opportunity to study a selection of Carter's writing in depth alongside the critical debates it has initiated. Her body of work covers many different modes: accordingly, we will read a selection of novels, short stories and her little known poetry in order to develop an understanding of Carter's use of literary allusion, her feminist and political views, and her portrayal of the self and sexuality.