Foundations (TRU1101)

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

Module aims

This module will provide students 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. Students 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

Lecture I Lecture II

1. Selected Chapters from Genesis Close reading

2. Homer, The Odyssey Epic

3. Sappho, Fragments Lyric poetry

4. Sophocles Oedipus the King Tragedy

5. Beowulf Identity

6. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Medievalism

7. Opportunities week

8. Renaissance Poetry English meter & poetics

9. Webster, Duchess of Malfi Religion

10. Behn, Oroonoko & extracts from Olaudah Equiano An Interesting Narrative Race & the ‘Black Atlantic’

11. Utopia & extracts from Gulliver’s Travels (Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Houyhnhmns) Satire & Politics

12. 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 Teaching Activities22Lectures (22 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars (11 x 2 hours)
Workshops11Skills-based workshops

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class presentation10 mins1,2,3,4,5,6Verbal, peer-assessed
Annotated bibliography1000 words1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Verbal, 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
Text-based essay401,000 words1,2,3,4,5,6Written
Comparative Essay602,000 words1,2,3,4,5,6Written

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 1000w1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Referral/deferral period
Essay Essay 2000w1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Referral/deferral period

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:


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

Additional resources on ELE

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

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Web based and electronic resources: Exeter Learning Environment (e-learning platform)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Foundations, Literature, Criticism, Analysis, Genre