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

Undergraduate Course: Scottish Literature 2A (ENLI08022)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis first-semester course introduces students to the history of literature in Scotland in English and Scots, covering two periods of its great flourishing: at the Stuart court of the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and in the Romantic period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The focus will be on how questions of literary form relate to the social and intellectual context in which the text was written and read; that is, on how the text's formal achievement reflects the institutions which made it possible and the ideas which made it meaningful. The course will encourage students to extend their essay writing skills through engagement with critical material.
Course description The purpose of this course is to train you to read literature historically: that is, to ask, not only what a literary text says, but what it is doing by saying that in the social context for which it was written. It thus builds on your training in close reading and formal analysis in first year, and completes your preparation for more specialised study in the Honours years of your degree.

It does not however attempt a continuous survey of Scottish literary history across the centuries, but proceeds by a series of case-studies in particular periods, each marked by a particular flourishing of literary culture in Scotland. This reflects the historical reality of a culture forced to re-invent itself after various sorts of radical transformation (Reformation and Union; Industrialisation). But this will also help us focus on the relation of the literary text to its historical moment by taking that historical moment, a matter of a few decades in each case, in relative isolation, without assuming a continuous literary national tradition in which these periods can all be connected up. Indeed, in the second half of Scottish Literature 2A we will think about the invention of this idea of national tradition, and the different things it can mean, in the work of Macpherson, Burns and Scott.

As just indicated, Scottish Literature 2A falls into two halves. The first half, weeks 1-5, introduces you to the poetry of the late-Medieval Stuart court. We start here both because this is one place where Scottish Literature can be said to begin; but also because the social context of the late middle ages is so alien that the challenge of understanding its literature requires us to grasp not just new words, but ideas, categories and values totally unrelated to anything in our present-day lives, forcing us to read historically. Then in the second half of the semester (weeks 7-11), we turn to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, conventionally referred to as the Romantic period. In this section, the central ideas will be the historiography and sentimental ethics of the Scottish Enlightenment, and the rise of Evangelical Christianity; the central event will be the French Revolution, as the context in which national literary tradition is constructed to serve particular political and social purposes.

Each week, you will attend two lectures, usually one relating that week¿s text to its social and historical context; and another exploring its internal organisation. There will be a weekly tutorial, for which you will prepare in autonomous small-group work. The course will be assessed by two essays, one written in relation to each half, after the completion of that unit: week 6 is set aside (no lectures or tutorials) for the completion of the first essay, and the second essay will be completed in week 12.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) OR English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) OR Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements AH/A level English or Scottish Literature or equivalent
Students on the English and Scottish Literature pathways must have taken Literary Studies 1A and 1B. For students who took First Year courses prior to session 2021-22, a pass in English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) or Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016) is an acceptable equivalent.
Students on an English or Scottish Literature pathway must also take Scottish Literature 2B.
Students taking Scottish Literature 2A as an outside subject must also take Scottish Literature 2B
Additional Costs Book purchases.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesPrevious undergraduate literary study.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay 1: 2,000 words: 50%

Essay 2: 2,000 words: 50%
Feedback Feedback will be given on the first essay within the 15 workings required for this; in plenty time for this feedback to be useful to the student in writing the second essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. identify and distinguish the literary forms, modes and genres characteristic of late Medieval and Romantic periods in Scotland;
  2. explain how the features of literary texts relate to the social and intellectual contexts in which they were written and read;
  3. evaluate secondary material through the construction of critical argument;
  4. confidently make use of a range of university study skills, including enhanced essay writing skills and appropriate scholarly referencing
Reading List


R.D.S. Jack, ed, The Mercat Anthology of Early Scottish Literature 1375-1707 (Birlinn)

Robert Burns, Selected Poems and Songs (World's Classics)

Walter Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor (World's Classics)


Bawcutt, Priscilla and Janet Williams, eds. A Companion to Medieval Scottish Poetry (Brewer)

Colón, Christine A. Joanna Baillie and the Art of Moral Influence (Peter Lang)

Crochunis, Thomas C. Joanna Baillie, Romantic Dramatist: Critical Essays (Routledge)

Edington, Carol. Court and Culture in Renaissance Scotland: Sir David Lindsay of the Mount (U Massachusetts P)

Edmondson, George. The Neighbouring Text: Chaucer, Boccaccio, Henryson (Notre Dame)

Hewitt, Regina. Symbolic Interactions: Social Problems and Literary Interventions in the Works of Baillie, Scott, and Landor (Associated University Presses)

---. Utopianism and Joanna Baillie. (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Kindrick, Robert and Kirstie A. Bixby. The Poems of Robert Henryson (Western Michigan U)

McIlvanney, Liam. Burns the Radical: Poetry and Politics in the late Eighteenth Century (Tuckwell)

MacQueen, John. Complete and Full with Numbers: The Narrative Poetry of Robert Henryson (Brill)

Moore, Dafydd, ed. The International Companion of James Macpherson and the poems of Ossian (Scottish Literature International)

Robertson, Fiona, ed. The Edinburgh Companion to Sir Walter Scott (EUP)

Terrell, Katherine H. Scripting the Nation: Court Poetry and the Authority of History in Late Medieval Scotland (Ohio State UP)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills in the critical analysis of language, and in particular of narrative; historical consciousness; ideological self-consciousness; skills in constructing rational and evidence-based argument; articulacy, scepticism, and curiosity.
KeywordsScottish Literature,Medieval Literature,Romantic Literature,Historicism
Course organiserDr Sarah Dunnigan
Tel: (0131 6)50 8304
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
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