Global Literature and Society

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Angus Wrenn CMK. C614 and Dr Olga Sobolev CMK. C614


Available as an outside option to all undergraduate and General Course students. Students can take this course in any year of their studies following approval from the teacher responsible and subject to their own programme regulations.


Although an A-level pass or equivalent in Literature is useful, it is not an absolute requirement (especially for General Course students).

Course content

(a) Study of contemporary (chiefly post 1990) world literature in the context of modern globalised society, covering prose, poetry and drama; (b) Focus on: cultural imperialism, decline of national frameworks; authors with global identity; 'commodification' of literature; individualism in modern liberal democracies and social fragmentation in the post-totalitarian context; (c) study of individual authors, in English translation where relevant. (d) several related trips to galleries and theatre productions during the year; (e) extensive use of archive recordings of authors, and video; (f) students are encouraged to draw upon their background in their main discipline, and to read widely.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 8 hours of classes in the ST.

Two hours per week, featuring (a) lectures on a range of authors and themes; (b) classes including students' presentations; (c) revision workshops; and (d) tutorials.

Formative coursework

Two essays per year and presentations.

Indicative reading

Douglas Coupland, Generation X; Viktor Pelevin, Babylon; Tom Stoppard, Rock-n-Roll; Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Marina Lewicka A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian; Jonathan S. Foer Everything  Is Illuminated; Joseph Conrad The Secret Agent; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Milan Kundera, Ignorance; Zadie Smith, White Teeth; Benjamin Zephaniah Propa Propaganda; George Szirtes Collected Poems


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 17.6
2:1 76.5
2:2 5.9
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Language Studies

Total students 2012/13: 15

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills