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

Undergraduate Course: George Orwell and the Politics of Literature (ENLI10335)

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
SummaryGeorge Orwell bore witness to many of the definitive political events of the first half of the twentieth century and expanded the boundaries of a variety of genres. This course places Orwell's work in its historical context, and asks what it means to make political writing into an art.
Course description George Orwell is one of the most famous writers of the twentieth century, and terms such as 'Orwellian', 'Big Brother', and '1984' have entered the language. But Orwell was more than the author of 'Animal Farm' and 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. He dedicated his life to making political writing into an art, and he bore witness to many of the definitive events and movements of the first half of the century: the Great Depression, imperial decline, communism, fascism, and wars that defined the modern world. Through his work we can gain an unparalleled insight into the cultural debates of the 1930s and 40s, and also examine the political uses of a variety of genres: the realist novel, the documentary and the travelogue, satire and dystopia, the essay and the allegorical fable. The course will therefore consider the relationship between text and context as well as the formal issues involved in bringing politics into literature, and question what it means to talk of the 'politics of literature' more generally.
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
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Other Study Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) 1 hour per week autonomous learning
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) one Course Essay of c. 2,500 words (40%);

one time-limited Final Essay of c. 3,000 words (60%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate competence in core skills in the study of English Literature: independent reading, essay planning and writing and group work.
  2. Show knowledge of George Orwell's oeuvre, including his fiction, documentary and essay writing.
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with the seminal literary and historical contexts in which Orwell wrote.
  4. Reflect critically on the formal issues involved in bringing politics into literature.
  5. Engage with secondary criticism relevant to Orwell's writing.
Reading List
Down and Out in Paris and London (1933)
Burmese Days (1934)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1935)
The Road to Wigan Pier (1937)
Homage to Catalonia (1938)
Coming Up for Air (1939)
Animal Farm (1945)
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information One hour per week for 10 weeks (autonomous learning group at times to be arranged)
KeywordsENLI10335 George Orwell
Course organiserDr Anna Vaninskaya
Tel: (0131 6)50 4284
Course secretaryMs Sheila Strathdee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3619
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