Undergraduate Course: Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination (THET10066)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Scottish Literature and the Religious Imagination introduces students to the work of some of the key writers dealing with faith and fiction in Scotland from the Romantic period to the late twentieth century. Students are encouraged to explore the connections between a varied range of Scottish poets, authors, and dramatists in their evolving national, historical, social and theological contexts.
A: Academic description
This interdisciplinary course will enable students to trace and examine the rich and constantly evolving nature of religious thought in Scotland through selected literary texts published from the Romantic period to the late-twentieth century. In order to achieve this, the work of a variety of writers from different religious (and non-religious) perspectives is considered in historical, theological and social contexts. By analysing key critical terms and concepts which inform Scottish literary texts, including plays, poetry, novels, and short stories, students will relate texts to the religious environments which shaped them. In this way, they will gain a fuller and more enriched understanding of the relationship between Scottish literature and religion. Teaching will take place in New College, itself the product of zeal that arose from religious conflict in the nineteenth century.
B: Syllabus/outline content
This course will begin with consideration of how national literatures are constructed, before moving on to explore selected Scottish texts, religious voices, and literary forms each week in their historical and theological contexts. The course is chronological in structure, and moves through writing reflecting romantic supernaturalism, themes of social and religious change, and Victorian religious pessimism, to twentieth-century reconstructions of Scotland¿s early religious history and conflict. The course's final weeks reflect the growing religious pluralism and diversity of modern Scotland in selected texts, which nonetheless draw on earlier Scottish literary forms and themes in their exploration of the nation's religious imagination.
C: Student Learning Experience Information
This course has a programme of one lecture per week, followed by one seminar per week. On the basis of students¿ preparatory reading of a range of literary texts and other writings, seminars will be used to explore and compare the connections between Scottish authors, poets, and dramatists in their evolving religious and social milieus. Preparation for seminars will also depend on students meeting in advance in autonomous learning groups. These groups will discuss key theological, ethical and religious themes in the texts. Groups will present the findings of their discussions in the forms of written reports on Learn, informal class discussion, and formal presentations in the seminar.
The structure for this course is chronological, and though these texts respond to the age in which they are written, many also deal with historical religious conflicts, developments and devotions. As such, students will be encouraged to explore the connections between historical periods, and they will be guided through the examination of concepts such as national literature and religious change. Students will also be offered formative feedback as the course progresses. This will help them to develop the knowledge and analytical skills that will be assessed in the course's assignments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students who want to learn more about Scotland's religious history and literary production would benefit from this course. Visiting students should usually have at least three introductory level Divinity/Religious Studies/English Literature courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify and examine developing literary responses to religion in Scotland over the last two hundred years.
- Compare the literary responses and emphases of different religious traditions in Scotland.
- Critically evaluate the construction of a national canon of literature with reference to religion.
- Interrogate the theological and ethical questions that the course¿s texts propose.
- Critique secondary literature on the relationship between literature and religion.
- Bateman, Meg, and James McGonigal, ¿Faith and Religion¿, in The International Companion to Scottish Poetry, ed. by Carla Sassi (Glasgow: Scottish International, 2015), pp. 179-189.
- Brown, Ian, ¿Plugged into history: the sense of the past in Scottish theatre¿, Scottish Theatre since the Seventies, eds. Stevenson and Wallace, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996), pp. 84-99.
- Burgess, Moira, Imagine a City: Glasgow in Fiction (Glendaruel: Argyll Publishing, 1998).
- Carruthers, Gerard, ¿¿Fully to Savour her Position¿: Muriel Spark and Scottish Identity¿, Modern Fiction Studies, 54.3 (2008), 487-504.
- Carruthers, Gerard, Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009).
- Carruthers, Gerard, and Liam McIlvanney, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Scottish Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
- Cheyette, Bryan, ¿Writing Against Conversion: Muriel Spark the Gentile Jewess¿, in Theorizing Muriel Spark: Gender, Race, Deconstruction, ed. by Martin McQuillan (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010), pp. 95-112.
- Craig, Cairns, The History of Scottish Literature, IV (Aberdeen University Press: Aberdeen, 1987).
- Craig, Cairns, The Modern Scottish Novel: Narrative and the National Imagination (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999).
- Crawford, Robert, ¿James Thomson and T. S. Eliot¿, Victorian Poetry, 23:1 (1985), pp. 23-41.
- Daniell, D., The Interpreter's House: A Critical Assessment of John Buchan (London: Nelson, 1975).
- D'Arcy, Julian, Scottish Skalds and Sagamen: Old Norse Influence on Modern Scottish Literature (East Linton: Tuckwell, 1996).
- DuBois, Thomas A., ed., Sanctity in the North: Saints, Lives and Cults in Medieval Scandinavia (Toronto: University Of Toronto Press, 2009).
- Duncan, Ian, Modern Romance and Transformations of the Novel: the Gothic, Scott and Dickens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
- Edgecombe, Rodney Stenning, ¿The Mandelbaum Gate: Integrative Vocation¿, in Vocation and Identity in the Fiction of Muriel Spark (Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1980), pp. 61-88.
- Friedman, Melvin J., ed., The Vision Obscured: Perceptions of Some Twentieth-Century Catholic Novelists (New York: Fordham University Press, 1970).
- Gable O.S.B, Mariella, The Literature of Spiritual Values and Catholic Fiction, ed. by Nancy Hynes (Maryland: University Press of America, 1996).
- Greeley, Andrew, The Catholic Imagination (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).
- Gribben, Crawford, and David George Mullan, eds., Literature and the Scottish Reformation (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2009).
- Griffiths, Richard, The Pen and the Cross: Catholicism and English Literature 1850-2000 (London: Continuum, 2010).
- Hall, Simon W., The History of Orkney Literature (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2010).
- Harper, George M., ¿Blake's "Nebuchadnezzar" in "The City of Dreadful Night"¿, Studies in Philology, 50:1 (1953), pp. 68-80.
- Hass, Andrew, Jasper, David & Jay, Elizabeth (eds), The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
- Hewitt, Regina, John Galt: Observations and Conjectures on Literature, History, and Society (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2012).
- Huberman, Elizabeth, ¿George Mackay Brown¿s Magnus¿, Studies in Scottish Literature, 16 (1981), 122-134.
- Hynes, Joseph, ed., Critical Essays on Muriel Spark (New York: G.K. Hall & Co., 1992).
- Jasper, David, and Prickett, Stephen, The Bible and Literature: A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999).
- Jasper, David & Smith, Allen (eds.), Between Truth and Fiction: A Reader in Literature and Christian Theology (SCM: London, 2010).
- Jasper, David, Sacred Desert: Religion, Literature, Art and Culture (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004).
- Kermode, Frank, ¿The Novel as Jerusalem: Muriel Spark¿s Mandelbaum Gate¿, in Hynes, 179-86.
- Leonard, Tom, Places of the mind: The Life and Work of James Thomson (London, 1993).
- Lownie, Andrew, John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier (London: Constable, 1995).
- MacDougall, Carl, Writing Scotland: How Scotland¿s Writers Shaped the Nation (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2004).
- McCulloch, Margery Palmer, Edwin Muir: Poet, Critic, and Novelist (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993).
- McGonigal, James, ¿Millenial Days: Religion as Consolation and Desolation in Contemporary Scottish Poetry¿, Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 41 (2000), pp. 55-76.
- McGonigal, James, ¿Translating God¿: Negative Theology and Two Scottish Poets¿, in Ethically Speaking: Voice and Values in Modern Scottish Writing, ed. by James McGonigal and Kirsten Stirling (Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2006).
- Manning, Susan, The Puritan-Provincial Vision: Scottish and American Literature in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
- Marshall, George, In a Distant Isle: The Orkney Background of Edwin Muir (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988).
- Muir, Edwin, Scott and Scotland: The Predicament of the Scottish Writer (London: Routledge, Voice of Scotland Series, 1936).
- Nicholson, Colin E., Poem, Place and Purpose: Shaping Identity in Contemporary Scottish Verse (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1992).
- O¿Donnell, Angela Alaimo, ¿Seeing Catholicly: Poetry and the Catholic Imagination¿, in The Catholic Studies Reader, ed. by James T Fisher and Margaret McGuinness (New York: Fordham University Pres, 2011), pp. 331-351.
- Pawley, Richard, Secret City: The Emotional Life of Victorian Poet James Thomson B.V.) (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2001).
- Reilly, Patrick, ¿Catholics and Scottish Literature 1878-1978¿, Innes Review, 29 (1978), 183-203.
- Stevenson, Randall and Wallace, Gavin (eds.), Scottish Theatre since the Seventies (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1996).
- Stonebridge, Lindsay, ¿Fiction in Jerusalem: Muriel Spark¿s Idiom of Judgement¿, in The Judicial Imagination: Writing After Nuremberg (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), pp. ( ).
- Tinkler-Villani, Valeria, ¿Ruins of an Unremembered Past: Poetic Strategies in James Thomson¿s The City of Dreadful Night¿, in Babylon or New Jerusalem? Perceptions of the City in Literature (Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2005), pp. 125-134.
- Varty, Anne, ¿The mirror and the vamp: Liz Lochhead¿, A History of Scottish Women¿s Writing, eds. Douglas Gifford and Dorothy McMillan, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997), pp. 641-58.
- Watson, Roderick, The Literature of Scotland (London: Macmillan, 1984).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||1. Critical thinking and reflection (developed through reflection on lectures, the seminar, in the creative writing exercise and extended essay)
2. Working within a team (developed through contribution to the autonomous learning group tasks)
3. Research skills (developed through preparation for the presentation, the creative writing exercise and the extended essay)
4. Effective communication skills (developed through contribution to the autonomous learning group tasks and group discussion in seminars)
|Course organiser||Dr Linden Bicket
Tel: (0131 6)50 8946
|Course secretary||Ms Katrina Munro
Tel: (0131 6)50 8900