ENGL 100/6.0 - An Introduction to the Study of Literature
Dr. Peter Lowe and Dr. Shannon Smith
This course supplies a foundation for further courses in English, and draws upon a range of texts and genres to explore English literature from the Renaissance to the present day. Novels, plays, and poems will be studied, with a focus on developing ‘close reading’ skills that will enhance your enjoyment of a text and give you the tools to analyse and critique the works you read in future, whether for academic study or your own pleasure. By reading carefully, thinking at length about the formal properties and content of the texts, and learning how to draft and edit written work students will acquire skills that are held in high regard not just in academic circles but in the workplace as well.
Alongside some of the most famous names in the English canon – Shakespeare, the Romantic poets, Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and T. S. Eliot – we will look at some lesser-known authors to see how the richness of the English literary tradition has developed over the centuries. Making use of our location in the southern part of England, topics such as the nature of ‘Englishness’, Imperialism and colonialism, the threat of invasion from overseas, and the relationship between the modern city and the natural landscape will be explored. The course is not a strictly chronological survey of English literature, but texts have been selected both to compliment each other and to address particular aspects of their respective genres and historical periods.
Field trips will give a sense of the environment in which their works were produced. A visit to the British Library in London will enable us to see the manuscripts of many of the major works of English literature at first hand, and subsequent trips will enable us to trace the locations where some of the major events in these great works ‘took place’ – walking, sometimes literally, in the footsteps of the authors themselves.