ENG10030 Literary Genre: the Art of Criticism and the Craft of Writing

Academic Year 2021/2022

Literary genre is the most important element of a writer’s craft, of a reader’s understanding, of a critic’s tool-box. In every kind of literary (and non-literary) writing, it is genre that governs and shapes language, style, form, address and the engagement with the literary tradition; in deciding how to write about a particular subject, literary genre is the writer’s first consideration. In this module, we will study genre from the points of view of both writer and reader: that is, as a crucial part of the writer’s craft and as a powerful critical tool for the reader. As such, the workshops accompanying the lectures will focus on developing close reading skills as well as exploring genre through creative writing exercises.

The module will examine a range of texts, classic to contemporary, drawn from the different genres of poetry, prose narrative, and drama. It will identify and explore the terms by which particular genres are designated and literary traditions built. Chosen texts will illustrate the flexibility, adaptation, and evolution of specific genres across time and space, in dialogue with other cognate texts and authors. The forms, language, style and structure of the selected works will be studied within the broader framework of genre. Texts to be studied include plays from Shakespeare to the present, poems from the sixteenth century to the present, and American short stories from the nineteenth century onwards.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Identify the ways in which literary genre is defined;
2. Consider the questions appropriate to the study of genre;
3. Examine texts in terms of language, structure and, with drama, performance;
4. Show an awareness of changes to, and the evolution of, specific genres;
5. Present ideas orally and engage in discussions in Workshops;
6. Write a scholarly essay which is appropriate for Stage 1 students of English.

Indicative Module Content:

The Penguin Book of English Poetry, ed. Paul Keegan (Penguin, 2009)
The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, ed. Joyce Carol Oates (Oxford University Press, 2000)
Individual set texts for drama:
Sophocles, Antigone (translated by Marianne McDonald, Nick Hern Books, 2015)
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, (RSC Macmillan Series, Palgrave)
Noni Stapleton, Charolais, Sonya Kelly, Noni Stapleton, Margaret McAuliffe, The Wheelchair on My Face; Charolais; The Humours of Bandon (Methuen Drama, 2017)
Bertolt Brecht, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich (transl. by John Willet, London: Methuen Drama, 2002.)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
1. Lectures

2. Workshops
active/task-based learning;
peer and group work;
critical writing;
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Literary Genre (ENG1002E)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Close reading exercise (1200 words) on poetry or short story. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Essay (2000 words) on short story or drama. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive grade for mid-semester essay prior to final exam

Name Role
Professor Jane Grogan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Cormac O'Brien Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Nerys Williams Lecturer / Co-Lecturer