Contextualising Literature: From Genesis to Generation X

Module code: EN3152

Module co-ordinator: to be confirmed

In this module you will consider the question of context in literary studies. We will define what a context is and assess its importance in literature: when did context become so dominant in literary studies and why? We will also address the fundamental questions of what kinds of context there are and how much weight should be attached to each. Focusing on the material contexts of literature, you will study the rich literary book culture from the Middle Ages to the internet.

From a theoretical approach on the definition of literature in context, you will engage and build on texts that may already be familiar to you. We will focus on the reading of literature from a material perspective, giving you a sound knowledge of how to read texts as material objects. We will explore issues of commodification, objectification and consumption in relation to books and authors across the English literary period with a particular focus on those listed below.

You will consider a selection of manuscript and digital documents and explore how they relate to ideas about the plurality of texts, the acceptance of textual variance, the absence of canonicity, and different perceptions of 'authority'.

Topics covered

  • The Bible
  • Chaucer
  • Malory
  • Wyatt
  • Jonson
  • Woolf 




  • Essay, 5,000 words (100%)