Home > Language Centre > Linguistics and Literature > LN251 Comparative Literature and 20th Century Political History

LN251 Comparative Literature and Society


These literature courses available for LSE undergraduates as outside options focus on twentieth and twenty first century literature in the context of social and political change in the period. They will give you the opportunity to consider texts (prose fiction, poetry and drama) often in the light of your major subject at LSE. We look at literature as an index of social change. In addition to study of texts in class we also arrange frequent trips to related plays and exhibitions over the course of the year, while also using video and other media in teaching. Assessment for all these courses LN250, LN251, LN252 and LN253 is by examination (75%) and extended coursework essay (25%).

If you have a keen interest in Literature and wish to study how it fits into the framework of Society and Politics, you should consider this undergraduate degree option taught by Dr Angus Wrenn| and Dr Olga Sobolev|.


This course focuses on work by authors writing in the Soviet period (early 20th century- 1989) on both East and West sides of the Iron Curtain. Topics covered include the Fabian roots of socialist utopia (authors such as George Bernard Shaw and HG Wells) and dystopian fiction which reflects the realities of totalitarianism (Huxley, Zamyatin, Orwell and Solzhenitsyn) (Works by Russian and Czech authors are studied in English translation. No knowledge of foreign languages is necessary). Register early for via LSE for You| for this option to avoid disappointment!

Indicative content

  • Study of 20th century World Literature in its socio-political context
  • Study of major cultural themes e.g. Fabianism; utopia/dystopia genre; art with a social function; Cold War, study of individual authors
  • Critical appreciation of literature and the elements of style in prose, poetry and drama
  • Extensive use of archive recordings of authors, and video; students encouraged to draw upon background in their main discipline
  • Development of transferable skills through the design, management, presentation and discussion of an original research project (3,000 words)
  • LN251 Comparative Literature and Society (Official Course Guide)
New Academic Building