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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Modern and Contemporary Scottish Poetry (ENLI10088)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryModern and contemporary Scottish verse is notable for its enormous range and virtuosity. Its abundant vernacular energy is matched by great variety in terms of style, mode, and voice. From formal compactness to sprawling experimentalism; from yearning lyricism to mordant satire; from uncompromising naturalism to dream-songs, fables and fantasies; from impassioned searches for authenticity to bawdy carnivalesques ¿ students will explore the many-voiced contradictions and diversity of Scottish poetry, but also discover and examine interconnections and parallels between differing styles, viewpoints and tendencies.
Course description The course will focus on themes, with a selection of poems by a variety of poets providing the primary text for each theme, which will be made available online. Students will be expected to devote considerable individual preparation time to the close reading and re-reading of these set poems each week. The structure of reading and analysis is broadly comparative: students will be asked to explore the similarities and differences between the key poems and analyse them in relation to their Scottish Cultural context.

Classics of the canon will be well represented, but there will also be a pronounced emphasis on representing the richness and depth of women¿s poetry and upon discussing emerging Scottish cultural diversity.

Course Themes

¿ The Vernacular
¿ Modernity
¿ Getting Lost
¿ The Self
¿ Community
¿ Urban / Pastoral
¿ Sex & Relationships
¿ Postmodernism
¿ Ecopoetry
¿ Diversity


A selection of circa 15 poems will provide the key reading for each theme, available online. These will include poems by Claire Askew, George MacKay Brown, John Burnside, Imtiaz Dharker, Carol Ann Duffy, Douglas Dunn, Alison Fell, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Olive Fraser, Robert Garioch, Harry Giles, Valerie Gillies, W. S. Graham, Jen Hadfield, W. N. Herbert, Tracey Herd, Kathleen Jamie, Robert Alan Jamieson, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Jackie Kay, William Letford, Liz Lochhead, Tom Leonard, Norman MacCaig, MacGillivray, Hugh MacDiarmid, Brian McCabe, Jane McKie, Edwin Morgan, Edwin Muir, Raman Mundair, Theresa Muñoz, Don Paterson, Richard Price, Kathleen Raine, Robin Robertson, Dilys Rose, and Iain Crichton Smith.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)) AND ( English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) OR Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesA MINIMUM of three college/university level literature courses at grade B or above (should include no more than one introductory level literature course). Related courses such as civilisation or creative writing are not considered for admissions to this course.
Applicants should also note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. In making admissions decisions preference will be given to students who achieve above the minimum requirement with the typical visiting student admitted to this course having three to four literature classes at grade A.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  12
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 course essay of 2,500 words (30%)
Class participation (10%)
1 final essay of 3,000 words (60%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. By the end of the course students should be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of key texts of modern and contemporary Scottish poetry.
  2. Students should also be able to demonstrate understanding of the major critical debates produced by modern and contemporary Scottish poetry.
  3. Students should be able to demonstrate understanding of the cultural context of modern and contemporary Scottish poetry.
  4. Students should be able to undertake independent critical analysis of modern and contemporary Scottish poetry.
  5. Students should be able to orally present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond judiciously to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the chief themes of the course.
Reading List
Indicative Secondary Reading

¿ Brown, Ian, et al (eds.). The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, vol. 3, Modern Transformations: New Identities (from 1918). Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2006.
¿ _____ and Alan Riach (eds.). The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Scottish Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2009.
¿ Carruthers, Gerrard, David Goldie and Alistair Renfrew (eds.). Beyond Scotland: New Contexts for Twentieth-Century Scottish Literature. New York: Rodopi, 2004.
¿ Craig, Cairns (ed.). The History of Scottish Literature, Vol. 4, The Twentieth Century. Aberdeen: Aberdeen UP, 1987.
¿ Christianson, Aileen, and Alison Lumsden (eds.). Contemporary Scottish Women Writers Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2000.
¿ Crawford, Robert. Identifying Poets: Self and Territory in Twentieth-Century Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1993.
¿ _____ Devolving English Literature. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2000.
¿ _____ Scotland¿s Books: The Penguin History of Scottish Literature. London: Penguin, 2007.
¿ Dósa, Attila. Beyond Identity: New Horizons in Modern Scottish Poetry. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2009.
¿ Fulton, Robin. Contemporary Scottish Poetry: Individuals and Contexts. Edinburgh: Macdonald, 1974.
¿ Gifford, Douglas, and Alan Riach (eds.). Scotlands: Poets and the Nation. Manchester: Carcanet, 2004.
¿ _____ and Dorothy MacMillan, eds. A History of Scottish Women¿s Writing. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1997.
¿ MacKay, Peter, Edna Longley and Fran Brearton, eds. Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011.
¿ McGuire, Matt, and Colin Nicholson, eds. The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2009.
¿ Morgan, Edwin. Nothing Not Giving Messages. Edinburgh: Polygon, 1990.
¿ _____ Crossing the Border: Essays on Scottish literature. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1990.
¿ Muir, Edwin. Selected Prose. London: John Murray, 1987.
¿ Nicholson, Colin. Poem, Purpose and Place: Shaping Identity in Contemporary Scottish Verse. Edinburgh: Polygon, 1992.
¿ _____ Fivefathers: Interviews with Late Twentieth Century Poets. Tirril: Humanities-Ebooks, 2007.
¿ Schoene, Berthold (ed.). The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2007.
¿ Watson, Roderick. The Literature of Scotland (Vol 2): The Twentieth Century. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 2007
¿ Whyte, Christopher. Modern Scottish Poetry. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2004.

Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Numbers are limited and students not taking degrees involving English or Scottish literature need the written approval of the head of English Literature.
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 2 hour(s) per week for 10 week(s). Plus 1 hour a week attendance at Autonomous Learning Group - times to be arranged
KeywordsPoetry,Scotland,Modern Literature,Contemporary Literature
Course organiserDr Alan Gillis
Tel: (0131 6)50 3050
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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