Literature and Society module (EN22002)

Explore amazing texts in relation to periods of dynamic social change, ranging from the Renaissance to Romanticism and the Gothic

On this page


Module code


This module emphasises the ways in which literature emerges from and responds to key social movements and changes. The time period ranges from the 1590s to the 1820s - a period of remarkable social transformations. 

You will study a range of poetry, prose, and drama which cover different issues arising from religious reformation, the developments of empires, slavery and industry, science and technology, as well as the changing roles of class, race, and gender.

This module emphasises how culture, language, technology, and economics affect how texts are produced and shared, where they are produced, and who produces them. The module develops some of the concepts and terminology introduced at Level 1. 

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • gain knowledge and understanding of how literature relates to society across different time periods; this includes knowledge of writing from periods before 1800 and in the main literary genres of prose, poetry, and drama
  • gain an understanding of the breadth of literatures in English including regional and global varieties of the English language
  • read primary and secondary texts closely and critically, analyse texts and discourses, and respond to the affective power of language, using the correct approaches and terminology
  • develop independent and imaginative interpretations of literary and critical material
  • articulate a critical understanding of complex texts in relation to their historical conditions

By the end of this module, you will:

  • practice being able to plan, organise, and report by a deadline
  • write and present clearly, accurately, and effectively
  • apply scholarly bibliographic skills
  • develop skills in your ability to discover and synthesize complex information and diverse evidence
  • develop communication skills in being able to articulate your own and other people's ideas concisely, accurately, and persuasively through regular seminar participation and assessment

Assignment / assessment

There are three parts of your assessment:

  • Class presentation (15%)

You can work individually or in small groups to prepare a presentation on that week's topic. This is designed to develop a number of skills including independent study, communication, groupwork, employability, and digital literacy.

  • Practical Criticism (35%)

You will write a practical criticism on one selected passage from texts from the initial weeks. This is a focussed analysis of literary technique in a short passage.

  • Comparative Essay (50%)

You will write a comparative essay on at least two texts of your choosing from the module.

Teaching methods / timetable

  • two weekly lectures
  • one weekly seminar

Your tutor may use other tools such as Discussion Boards, or Study Buddy Groups.


This module is available on following courses: