Foundations (TRU1101)

StaffProfessor Jason Hall -
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will provide you with an introduction to modes of reading and critical analysis broadly informed by an attention to questions of history, intertextuality and theory. The module will deal with major conceptual themes including geographical and political space, nationhood, colonialism, genre, identity and subjectivity. You will read some of the earliest texts which have influenced subsequent traditions of English language, literature and other media, before moving on to consider texts from the Medieval period to the beginning of the eighteenth century. The module will also include classes on practical writing skills. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of significant and influential literary texts and their historical contexts
  • 2. Recognise the importance of genre in analysing literary texts, and analyse intertextual relationships between texts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Analyse literary texts in their historical and intertextual contexts
  • 4. Understand the ways in which certain fundamental themes and questions are historically explored, re-explored and transformed through processes of cultural production

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Work independently and in groups, in order to develop fundamental communication skills and critical abilities
  • 6. Through preparation and submission of written work, demonstrate further refinement of communication skills and develop conceptual and organisational skills (including the meeting of deadlines)

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Selected Chapters from Genesis - Close reading
  • Homer, The Odyssey - Epic
  • Sappho, Fragments - Lyric poetry
  • Sophocles Oedipus the King - Tragedy
  • Beowulf - Identity
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Medievalism
  • Opportunities week                                      
  • Renaissance Poetry - English meter & poetics
  • Webster, Duchess of Malfi - Religion
  • Behn, Oroonoko & extracts from Olaudah Equiano An Interesting Narrative - Race & the ‘Black Atlantic’
  • Utopia & extracts from Gulliver’s Travels (Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Houyhnhmns) - Satire & Politics   
  • Robert Burns & Phillis Wheatley - Poetry & self at the margins     

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (22 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 22Seminars (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11Skills-based workshops
Guided Independent Study245Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class presentation10 minutes1-6Oral, peer-assessed
Annotated bibliography1000 words1-6Oral, in-class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar participation10Continuous1-5Oral feedback and opportunity for office hours follow-up
Text-based essay351000 words1-6Written
Comparative essay552000 words1-6Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Text-based essay Essay 1-6Referral/deferral period
Essay Essay1-6Referral/deferral period
Seminar participationRepeat study or mitigation1-5Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment. 

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: 

Students should purchase The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th edition, volume 1, ed. M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt, et. al. (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 2012) in which will be found: 

  • Beowulf  
  • Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Renaissance poetry by Wyatt, Sidney, & Phillips
  • John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
  • Extracts from Olaudah Equiano An Interesting Narrative
  • Extracts from Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels
  • Thomas More, Utopia  

Students should also purchase: 

  • The Bible (‘King James’ or ‘Authorised’ version only) 
  • Homer, The Odyssey, translated by Richmond Lattimore (Harper Collins, 2007) 
  • Sappho, Stung with Love: Poems and Fragments (Penguin, 2009)
  • Sophocles, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra ed. Hall, trans. Kitto (OUP: 2009)

Poetry by Phillis Wheatley & Robert Burns will be distributed via ELE as a pdf.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Foundations, literature, criticism, analysis, genre