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Unit information: Introduction to Critical Theory and Thought in 2020/21

Unit name Introduction to Critical Theory and Thought
Unit code ENGL10054
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Gournet
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will offer students an introduction to critical theory and thought and will develop students’ close reading skills and foster their understanding of a range of critical approaches. There will be opportunities to compare and contrast a variety of literary forms.


The unit aims to give students an opportunity to enhance their close reading and critical skills, and to think reflectively about their own reading and that of others. The unit will focus these discussions on five or six literary texts, which will be read from a variety of perspectives. A range of shorter critical texts and essays will also be introduced. Students should have an opportunity to acquire knowledge of the conceptual issues and challenges involved in thinking about (and through) literature, which can be employed in future units.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Reflect on a variety of topics related to reading critically,
  2. Apply reflections to the study of particular texts within the unit
  3. Demonstrate ability to transfer acquired skill and knowledge beyond immediate context.
  4. Demonstrate a sound level of competence and familiarity with academic conventions, research practice, and standards of presentation.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous teaching over a period of week for 10 weeks; each of which will utilise a range of teaching methods including lectures by the tutor(s), formal and informal presentations by students, small group discussion, formative tasks and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

1 x formative essay of 1,800 to 2,500 words (0%). [ILOs 1-4]

1 x summative essay of 1,800 to 2,500 words (100%). [ILOs 1-4]

The unit mark will comprise the mark for the summative essay.

Reading and References

Bennett and Royle, Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory, latest edition

Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde