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Literature in the City (Module)

Module description

This module will examine the relationship between urban space and narrative representation in three European cities: London, Dublin, and Berlin. Beginning with an overview of the phenomenon and resulting phenomena of urban overhaul, from Haussmann’s Paris to Victorian London via the accelerated modernisation of St Petersburg, it will then stage an interrogation of the creation and manipulation of cityscapes through the lens of literature; specifically, the labyrinthine London of Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf, the mythical Dublin of James Joyce, and the beleaguered Berlin of Christopher Isherwood. 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. 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 three significant English-language writers of the urban experience.

This module will consist of a minimum of 45 contact hours with teaching taking place between 9 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday. This is the 2018 timetable but please note that content and timings are subject to change.

Last summer the King's Summer Programmes collaborated with the Faculty of Arts & Humanities to run two career panels for students enrolled on a culture module. They were moderated by King's academics from the School, and the panellists included professionals and King's alumni. 

Learning outcomes and objectives

By the end of the module, you should have:

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

Staff information

Taught by the Department of EnglishFaculty of Arts & Humanities, King's College London

Teaching pattern

  • Interactive lectures
  • Seminars and tutorials
  • Interactive workshops
  • London walks and visits to key institutions
  • Private study

Module assessment - more information

  • One essay of 3,000 words (85%)
  • Oral presentation (15%)

Key information

Module code 4ZSS0138

Credit level 4

Assessment coursework presentation/s

Credit value Classes can often be taken for credit towards degrees at other institutions, and are examined to university standards. To receive credit for King's summer classes, contact your home institution to ask them to award external credit. This class is equivalent to an undergraduate degree module and usually awarded 3-4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS.

Semester summer session 2

Study abroad module No