Literature undergraduate degree courses

  • Language Centre - Degree
  • Language Centre
  • Application code LN250-LN254
  • Starting N/A
  • Home full-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

These degree courses can form part of a Language Centre BSc programme but you can also take one of our Literature undergraduate degree courses as a fully assessed part of your degree.

LN250 English Literature and Society

The course concentrates on 20th century literature in Britain and its links to the major political and social trends in the period. Major focuses include Modernism (Joyce, Eliot), feminism (Woolf), theatre of the absurd and postmodernism (Beckett and Pinter) and politically engaged writing (Auden, Orwell, Heaney).

LN251 Comparative Literature and 20th Century Political History

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.

LN252 Contemporary Literature and Global Society

This course focuses on work by contemporary authors which is published in English but reflects the increasingly global nature of multicultural society and will also highlight the change in the geopolitical order since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Taking art as an index of social change, the course explores the role of literature in the media-driven society, the concept of cultural imperialism and alienation in the post-totalitarian context and literature transcending national frameworks. The Authors in question include Mohsin Hamid, Monica Ali, Victor Pelevin, Milan Kundera, André Makine,Tom Stoppard.

LN253 European Literature and Philosophy

Literary treatment of the major philosophical trends of the twentieth century, including the aesthetics of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, the analytical school of Russell, Berlin, the existentialism of Sartre, the paradox of the absurd of Camus, French and East European Phenomenology. Through related trips to galleries and theatre productions during the year, archive recordings of authors, and video students are encouraged to draw upon the background of their main discipline and to read widely.

LN254 Literature and Aspects of Ethics 

Literary treatment/projection of the aspects of ethics, focusing on the classical ideas of Aristotle and Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, developed in modern times by Sartre, Adorno and Foucault. The course will draw on a range of themes arising from the interface between literary and philosophical studies and will explore such issues as the objectivity of moral reasoning (the question whether the practices that are traditionally and factually legitimated by religion, law or politics are indeed worthy of recognition); the spiritual crisis of the modern world (desire, guilt and innocence); technological omnipotence versus determinism; and the illusion of liberty in a tolerant democracy based on consensus. It will also be concerned with such questions as whether philosophy and literature, when combined, can achieve more than the sum of the two parts.

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