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

Undergraduate Course: The Making of Modern Fantasy (ENLI10351)

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
SummaryHow does a genre come into being? Fantasy in its widest definition dates back to the beginnings of human literature, and in its narrowest is a publishing category just several decades old. In this course we will adopt the medium-range view and examine a set of texts by British authors who have been canonised as founders of the modern genre, though they wrote before fantasy became a global entertainment phenomenon.
Course description We will consider fantasy's relation to cognate forms (fairy or folk tale, romance, epic, saga, science fiction) and the authors' extensive engagement with Classical and Norse mythology, Christianity and medieval literature. We will discuss the philosophical questions that often constitute fantasy's raison d'ĂȘtre, as well as different aspects of the secondary world-building process. We will also explore stylistic devices such as linguistic archaism, and common themes and structures, including the obsession with death and time, the role of boundaries and other-worlds, and the use of the quest or journey motif.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) AND Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) AND Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) AND Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025)) OR ( 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 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
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
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) 2000 word coursework essay (30%) submitted mid-semester;
plus 3000 word final essay submitted during exam period (70%).

OR: Alternative model: alternative coursework assessment (30%)
+ 3000 word final essay submitted at end of semester / in exam period (70%)
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. Critically analyse the key themes and formal parameters of the founding works of fantasy.
  3. Show knowledge of the seminal literary and intellectual contexts from which the modern fantasy genre emerged.
  4. Reflect critically on the philosophical issues at the heart of early fantasy writing.
  5. Engage with contemporary fantasy criticism and the theoretical pronouncements of early fantasy authors.
Reading List
Essential Primary Reading

William Morris, The Story of the Glittering Plain (1891)
George MacDonald, Lilith (1895)
Lord Dunsany, The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924)
Hope Mirrlees, Lud-in-the-Mist (1926)
C. S. Lewis, Perelandra (1943)
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (1954-5)
Sylvia Townsend Warner, Kingdoms of Elfin (1977)

Recommended Primary Reading

George MacDonald, 'The Imagination: Its Function and Culture'(1867)
George MacDonald, 'The Fantastic Imagination' (1893)
C. S. Lewis, 'On Stories' (1947)
J. R. R. Tolkien, 'On Fairy-stories' (1947)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar; plus 1 hour per week for 10 weeks - one-hour autonomous learning group at time to be arranged
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Anna Vaninskaya
Tel: (0131 6)50 4284
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
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