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Unit information: Literature: Exploring Short Stories in 2016/17

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Unit name Literature: Exploring Short Stories
Unit code LANG00016
Credit points 20
Level of study QCA-3
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Ms. Taylor
Open unit status Not open

Students require a proficiency of at least 6.0 in IELTS (min. 5.5 in writing and 5.0 in other components) or an equivalent.



School/department Centre for Academic Language and Development
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit aims to introduce students to the short story genre focusing on texts from English-speaking authors. Classes will focus on student-led close reading and analysis of the short story texts and discussion of the shared themes and features of the texts such as uncanniness and ambiguity, intertextuality, subversive plot twists, conflict, humour as well as sudden shifts in perception relating to sexuality, gender and identity. The course also aims to develop study skills, including those particularly associated with literary study and critical thinking, and students will be encouraged to develop their own critical voice.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students should:

ILO1: Have an understanding of the short story genre and the works of several English-writing authors;

ILO2: Be familiar with the themes and debates regarding uncanniness and ambiguity, sexuality, gender and identity;

ILO3: Have an understanding of the role of the system of intertextuality

ILO4: Have enhanced their skills for independent reading;

ILO5: Be more adept at performing close analysis of prose text;

ILO6: Have developed critical and discourse analysis skills;

ILO7: Be better able to express themselves in an academic written context;

ILO8: Be better able to express themselves in an academic spoken context.

Teaching details

There will be one two hour session per week for one teaching block. The session is in the form of a seminar, which will consist of a series of mini-lectures interspersed with discussion of the content of the mini-lectures and the reading or other set material for that week. Students will be taught using a communicative approach and will be in groups no larger than 16 to allow for such discussion of potentially controversial content (e.g. sexuality) in a supportive environment. In addition to the selected authentic texts, use will be made of appropriate e-learning technologies and the VLE.

Assessment Details

In addition to assessment of learning (summative assessment) detailed below, there is regular assessment for learning (formative assessment) throughout the course.

Assessment for Learning:

All written coursework, including summative assessment, follows a draft - redraft procedure with both peer and tutor-led formative feedback scheduled into the scheme of work before final submission;

Individual presentation with peer and tutor-led feedback.

Assessment of Learning (summative assessment):

Course work (Essay) 1000 words; (25%)ILOS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Coursework (Essay) 1500 words (50%) ILOS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Individual presentation 15 minutes incl tutor-led questions (25%) The individual presentation is based on student coursework (essay 2) and will also assess ILOs 1-6 and 8.

Reading and References

du Maurier, D. ‘Don’t Look Now in Don’t look Now and Other Stories. London: Penguin

Don’t Look Now (1973). [film]. Directed by Roeg. N. London: Casey Productions.

Hughes, T. (1947). The Rain Horse. London: Faber & Faber.

Foster Wallace, D. (1989). The Girl With Curious Hair. London: W.W.Norton & Company

Foster Wallace, D. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. London: Little, Brown & Company.

Perrault, C. (1697). Little Red Riding Hood

Self, W. (1991). The North London Book of the Dead in The Quantity Theory of Insanity. London: Bloomsbury.

The Company of Wolves (1984) [film]. Written by Carter, C. and directed by Jordan, N. Surrey: Shepperton Studios

Walker. A. (1988). The Flowers. New York: Harcourt