Post-War to Postmodern: Literature 1945-Present Day

Module code: EN3040
Module co-ordinator: Dr Emma Parker

In this module you will study the legacies of Modernism and a selection of new literatures in English. We will investigate how the writing of the period - drama, poetry and fiction - reflected and responded to changes in post-war and contemporary culture, including the decline of empire, the impact of feminism, the development of media society, and the rise of consumer culture. We will investigate how dominant ideologies are represented and contested, and consider the challenges posed to the tradition of realism by the literature of the period, examining experiments and innovation in form.

In studying named authors we will pose questions about gender, class, race, sexuality, national identity, belief, authority and canonicity. From this you will develop a conceptual grasp of the intellectual and cultural contexts of contemporary writing, paying particular attention to feminism, postcolonialism and postmodernism.

Topics covered


  • 18 one-hour lectures
  • 10 one-hour seminars
  • 122 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 3,000 words (70%)
  • Passage analysis exam, 1 hour (30%)