Literature in Context module (EN21004)

An exploration of literature from the Victorian era to Postmodernism, looking at poetry, drama, and fiction

On this page


Module code


Learn about the development of literature from the Victorian period to the contemporary era. We study key texts that exemplify how writers respond to the accelerating social, political, and cultural changes of their time, by either regenerating established literary modes or pioneering new ones.

We will focus on how different kinds of fiction, poetry, and drama develop from earlier traditions and movements, but also how they break from them. We will examine how writers engage with the conflicting forces of modernity and postmodernity to challenge previous ways of structuring and making sense of the world.

We will engage with some of the most ingenuitive authors of the time; themes will include industrialisation, urbanisation, technology and media, war, empire, decolonisation, and movements for racial, and social and gender equality.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn about the development of English literature from the Victorian era to the present
  • explore the historical, cultural, and social factors that have shaped the writing of this period
  • read poetry, short stories, novels, and plays from a diverse group of authors

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • explain how historical, cultural, and social factors have shaped the writing of this period
  • analyse a range of texts from different genres
  • assess authorial responses to a changing world

Assignments / assessment

  • essay - 1,500 words (35%)
  • essay - 2,500 words (50%)
  • presentation (in-class or pre-recorded) (15%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

  • two weekly lectures
  • one weekly tutorial


This module is available on following courses: