Twentieth to Twenty-First Century Literature

Kingston University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Twentieth to Twenty-First Century Literature

  • Host University

    Kingston University

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Successful completion of introductory level English literature study

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Content:

    This module will begin by exploring literature published from the 1930s through to the
    present day, and will examine the strategies writers have used in response to a changing
    Britain and wider world. Students will consider how twentieth and twenty-first-century
    texts adapt realist, modernist and postmodern techniques to engage with issues such as
    the rise of mass culture, the threat of totalitarianism, the establishment of the Welfare
    State, post-war immigration, and sexual liberation. To enhance students' perspective on
    these issues, they will be introduced to non-fiction material by other contemporary
    writers, such as J.B. Priestley, Erich Fromm, Iris Murdoch, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard
    Hoggart, and George Lamming, as well as more recent critical and theoretical material.

    The module also examines the development and continuing popularity of realist drama in
    the twentieth century. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which realist
    drama is used as a tool of social and political examination in various contexts as well as
    examining developments in non-realist forms of drama such as the experiments which
    gave rise to what is called the ?Theatre of the Absurd?.
    On the module a selection of texts will be studied chosen to illustrate the great variety of
    genres and styles in contemporary British writing and to exemplify literature written by
    different nationalities and social groups. The relations between literature and
    contemporary events will be studied, and will assess how these texts respond salient
    themes such as social mobility, hybridity, democracy and technology. Relevant theory
    will be brought into discussions as necessary.

    Poetry of 1930s: Auden, Spender, MacNeice, Day Lewis,
    Poetry and Place: R.S. Thomas, Dylan Thomas, Tony Harrison, Dannie Abse, Anne-Marie
    Philip Larkin
    Poetry in the 21st Century: Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney, Benjamin Zephaniah
    Evelyn Waugh: A Handful of Dust (1934)
    George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
    Brigid Brophy: The King of a Rainy Country (1956)
    Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (1962)
    J. G. Ballard: Crash (1973)

    Hanif Kureishi: The Black Album (1989)
    Julian Barnes: England, England (1992)
    Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting (1993)
    Zadie Smith: White Teeth (2000)
    Ian McEwen: Saturday (2003)
    Look Back in Anger (1956)
    Harold Pinter: The Caretaker (1960)
    John McGrath: The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black, Black Oil (1973)
    Caryl Churchill: Top Girls (1982)
    Ayub Khan-Din: East is East (1996)

    Lectures/workshops and seminars

    STUDY OPTION 1: a portfolio (50%) and Take Home Test (50%).
    Portfolio to comprise:
    1) Poetry close reading of 500 words
    2) Fiction short-answer exercise of 750 words
    3) Drama short-answer exercise of 750 words
    Take-home test to comprise: 2,000-word essay to focus on at least two of the following:
    poetry, fiction, drama.
    STUDY OPTION 2: portfolio (some elements as those for Study Option 1).
    STUDY OPTION 3: portfolio (some elements as those for Study Option 1).

    Study Option 1 = Whole Year
    Study Option 2 = Autumn
    Study Option 3 = Spring/summer

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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