LN251GC      Half Unit
Comparative Literature and 20th Century Political History (Spring Semester)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Olga Sobolev PEL 6.01a and Dr Angus Wrenn PEL 6.01a


This course is available to General Course ‘Spring Semester’ students.


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

Course content

Comparative literature of the twentieth century leading up to and including the Cold War. (a) Study of major authors (prose, poetry and drama, in English translation where relevant) on both sides of the Iron Curtain with a focus on the recurrent cultural themes: Art with a Social/Political Function; Cold War: the East-West Dichotomy; Individual and the State; the Value of Political Protest (b) Use of video-recording related to the texts (c) Several related trips to galleries, film festivals and theatre productions during the year; (d) Students encouraged to draw upon background in their main discipline, and to read widely.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Structured activities during the reading week in the LT. Revision workshops and tutorals in the ST.

This course has a reading week in week 6 of the Lent term.

Formative coursework

One essay per term; topically based research presentations.

Indicative reading

G. Orwell Animal Farm & 1984; A. Solzhenitsyn A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich; A. Makine A Life's Music; M. Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Ian Fleming From Russia with Love; T. Stoppard Professional Foul; S. Dovlatov The Suitcase; B. Chatwin Utz.


Exam (80%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Presentation (20%) in the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Language Centre

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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