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

Academic Year 2023/2024

Literary genre is the first (and maybe even the most important) element of understanding a text of any kind. In every kind of 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, and engaging with a text's genre is vital to any act of literary criticism. In this module we aim to equip students with the skills to understand and work critically with the critical concept of literary genre, as well as particular examples of it, across poetry, prose and drama.

The module will examine a range of texts, classical to contemporary, drawn from the different genres of poetry, prose, and drama. It will identify and explore the terms by which particular genres are designated and literary traditions are built. Module texts will illustrate the flexibility, adaptation, and evolution of specific genres across time and space, in dialogue with other cognate texts and authors, and consider the relationship between genre and the always-evolving historical literary 'tradition'.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Understand the concept and implications of literary genre
2. Acquire strategies for identifying literary genre(s) and thinking critically with them
3. Demonstrate awareness of the evolution of key genres of poetry, prose and drama in pre-modern as well as modern periods
4. Develop knowledge of literary terms, and an ability to apply them to the analysis of a range of texts.
5. Deploy new knowledge about literary genre and critical skills in close readings and essays.

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
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




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 In Module Component Repeat Offered
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
Assoc Professor Naomi McAreavey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Niamh Pattwell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Emilie Pine Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Rebecca Stephenson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Nerys Williams Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Justine Zapin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Anna Graham Tutor
Mr Jason O'Toole Tutor