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Literature & the City

Key information

Subject area:

Summer School

Course type:


Credit level:



2 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 17 July 2023 To: 28 July 2023
Application deadline: 31 May 2023

Course overview

Summer School modules are designed to be intensive, intellectually-stimulating short courses. They are taught by King’s academics in academic disciplines where King's has expertise. Classes are very international with students from all around the globe learning together.

Each module is 150 study hours comprising intensive teaching, independent study and group work and is examined to university standards. Comparable to an in-semester 15-credit King’s undergraduate module and therefore typically awarded 3-4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS, many summer students ask their home institution to award them external credit for their King's summer module to use towards their degree programme when they return home.

What does this course cover?

This course explores the relationship between urban space and narrative representation in London via Paris and Berlin. We will consider the project of urban renewal and the growth of the modern city, taking Haussmann’s Paris and Victorian London as representative examples. Focusing on literary texts, we will explore the ways in which writers have understood and produced London, and offer tools for reading the city as a text. From the labyrinthine streets of Dickens to the metropolitan frenzy captured by Woolf and fellow modernists, we will consider the subsequent shattering impact of the Blitz and the influence of postwar migration and regeneration on urban culture. Ultimately, we will come to see London as a palimpsest, a city whose layered history can be best understood by reading and walking its streets.

You will be encouraged to use a combination of political, social, and literary theory to navigate literal and figurative cityscapes, through class discussion, short assignments, and exercises in urban rambling, experimenting with the cultural practices of urban encounter at work in such material. It is hoped that this module will give you an insight into city space as a matrix of creative thought, as well as introducing you to significant English-language writers of the urban experience.

What will I achieve?

This module aims to augment students understanding and practical abilities in the field of literary analysis and contribute to further success in their academic career.

By the end of this module, students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferrable, and practicable skills appropriate to a level 4 module, and in particular the following:

  • Insight into established and ongoing theories regarding the city and modernity as categories of analysis in literary studies;
  • an understanding of several canonical writers and their relevance to modern English studies; improved skills in composition, oral presentation, and informed debate;
  • an appreciation of the exchanges which occur between material / historical reality and narrative form;
  • a deeper familiarity with literary and cultural theory and its uses as a mode of analysis in literary studies; skills in comparative analysis; skills in autonomous research and timekeeping.

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills at level 4:

  • Critical thinking: can analyse and evaluate, with guidance, complex theoretical concepts and texts.
  • Research and Enquiry: can undertake guided and autonomous research and become sufficiently familiar with critical theories to modulate, adapt, and expand these independently.
  • Synthesis: can collect, categorize, and synthesize information and material, making informed choices with regards to critical argument and problem solving.
  • Analysis: can undertake textual analysis informed by a variety of theories, modes of enquiry, and pre-defined techniques.
  • Adaptation to context: can relate own context to defined parameters and in relation, particularly, to recognised cultural and historical phenomena.
  • Performance: can undertake performance tasks specifically presentations which are guided but also developed autonomously.
  • Organisational working: works effectively in a team and appreciates the value of differing viewpoints and abilities.

Who is this for?

The King's College London Undergraduate Summer School is open to students who are currently, or have been, enrolled in an undergraduate degree programme. We also welcome applications from professionals who have substantial relevant experience in their chosen subject area.

You should ensure that you are eligible to apply before you submit your application by checking our academic and English language entry criteria.

How will I be assessed?

  • Coursework: 3,000 word essay (85%)
  • Oral Examination (15%)

What is the teaching schedule?

Taught on-campus 9am and 5pm from Monday to Friday

Course status:

Places available

Full fee £2400

Application Fee £60



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