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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2021/2022

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

Undergraduate Course: Modern Scottish Fiction (ENLI10201)

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
SummaryThis course offers the opportunity to explore twentieth century Scotland through the eyes of some of its most distinguished novelists. We will consider the changing shape of Scottish society, and the ways in which writers have sought to represent and analyse these changes. But we will also explore the changing ways in which novelists have understood their own social role, and the transformative force of modern art itself. Owing to Scotland┬┐s social, political and economic circumstances, the central problems of modernity are unusually apparent in this period; as a consequence of a distinctive intellectual and literary history, Scottish writers have a particularly strong sense of the crisis of tradition, and of values. Based on close reading and analysis of works of fiction we will discuss topics such as religion, science, politics, tradition, gender, history and the individual.
Course description This course offers the opportunity to explore twentieth century Scotland through the eyes of some of its most distinguished novelists. We will consider the changing shape of Scottish society, and the ways in which writers have sought to represent and analyse these changes. But we will also explore the changing ways in which novelists have understood their own social role, and the transformative force of modern art itself. Owing to Scotland┬┐s social, political and economic circumstances, the central problems of modernity are unusually apparent in this period; as a consequence of a distinctive intellectual and literary history, Scottish writers have a particularly strong sense of the crisis of tradition, and of values. Based on close reading and analysis of works of fiction we will discuss topics such as religion, science, politics, tradition, gender, history and the individual.

Following an introductory discussion of the social and historical background in relation to the key themes of the course, the seminar programme will be organised into three sections. The first will examine the fiction of the Scottish Renaissance movement, which sought to assess the impact of the First World War, to respond to the momentous political and historical events of the 1920s and 1930s, and to address contemporary perceptions of cultural crisis. These are novels which use distinctive combinations of traditional forms and modernist styles to explore the experience of modernisation. They trace the conflicts over modern values within small communities, explore the new worlds of urban experience, and test the potential of local or regional cultures for resistance to global economic processes and their social consequences. The second and third sections deal with Scottish fiction after 1945, when British society was decisively reshaped by the formation of the Welfare State and the changing balance of world power. We will ask to what extent the writing of this period represents a continuation or a departure from the stylistic and thematic preoccupations of the Renaissance years. In the second section we will examine novels which continue the critical encounter with the modern by developing the themes and styles of the earlier period, but revise them in light of the wartime European catastrophe. In the third, we will consider work from the same period which seeks more radical renewal of fictional form, drawing on ideas and styles associated with European existentialism, the nouveau roman, and postmodernism.
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))
Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites A MINIMUM of 4 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 other interdisciplinary classes, Freshman Year Seminars or composition/creative writing classes/workshops are not considered for admission 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 4 literature classes at grade A.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. By the end of the course students should expect to have read a range of fiction produced by Scottish writers of this period, and to be able to situate specific works in relation to wider literary and cultural trends.
  2. They should be able to discuss the relationship between literature and cultural politics, with particular concern for possible tensions between notions of 'realism', 'myth' and 'history'.
  3. They should be able to illustrate such a discussion with reference to examples of specific formal strategies adopted by novelists for negotiating between a range of artistic and political demands.
Reading List
Primary Texts

* Nan Shepherd, The Weatherhouse (1930). (also available as part of The Grampians Quartet)
* Neil Gunn, Highland River (1937).
* Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Grey Granite (1934). (also available as part of A Scots Quair)
* Jessie Kesson, The White Bird Passes (1958);
* Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961).
* George Mackay Brown, Greenvoe (1972).
* William McIlvanney, Docherty (1975).
* Alexander Trocchi, Cain's Book (1960).
* Alasdair Gray, Lanark (1981).
Additional Information
Course URL http://www.ed.ac.uk/literatures-languages-cultures/english-literature/undergraduate/current/honours
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Numbers are limited, with priority given to students taking degrees involving English or Scottish Literature and Visiting Students placed by the Admissions Office. Students not in these categories need the written approval of the Head of English Literature before enrolling. In the case of excess applications places will be decided by ballot.
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 2 hour(s) per week for 10 week(s): plus attendance at Autonomous Learning Group for one hour each week - at time to be arranged.
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Alex Thomson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3058
Email: Alex.Thomson@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
Email: J.Cahongo@ed.ac.uk
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