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Unit information: Scottish Literature in 2020/21

Unit name Scottish Literature
Unit code ENGL20115
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Kate McClune
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts


In this unit we will examine medieval, early modern and contemporary works of Scottish literature, considering the extent to which overarching themes can be identified through time. Recent scholarship focuses on the relationship in medieval texts between self-governance and hazardous emotional excess. We will examine whether such concerns remain predominant after the Union, interrogating the importance of contemporary political and historical contexts and their influences on literature. The shifting political climate in contemporary Scotland will provide us with an opportunity to examine the relationship between politics and literature.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1: demonstrate a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of Scots literature across a broad time period

2: analyse and evaluate the differing critical accounts of the primary literature

3: identify and evaluate pertinent evidence in order to illustrate / demonstrate a cogent argument

4: demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and political contexts that inform literary production

Teaching details

1 x 2 hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

1 essay of 2000 words (40%) [ILOs 1-4]

1 essay of 3000 words (60%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

Extracts from The Bruce/The Wallace (to be provided)

Poetry of King James VI and his contemporaries (to be provided)

James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (Oxford: 2010)

Ena Lamont Stewart, Men Should Weep in Scottish Peoples’ Theatre ASLS Annual Volume 37 (2007)

John Byrne, The Slab Boys Trilogy (Faber: 2003)

Liz Lochhead, Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off (Nick Hern Books: 2009)