ENG32060 Talking Animals

Academic Year 2023/2024

In this option, we will look at the tradition of the Aesopian fable in Medieval and Post-Medieval times. It is hoped that students will realise that the fable, long regarded as reading suitable only for children, has frequently been used by writers to reflect on the socio-political anxieties of his or her time. We will address questions about the relationship between speech and action, the narrative and the moral, the use of animals in story form, the relationship between animals and humans in the literature of this module. Of particular interest, is the question of fable form and the processes involved in adapting, rewriting and translating stories for different audiences, in different languages and with different purposes.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will

1. Demonstrate a keen understanding of the fable form and the variety of ways in which it has been adapted through the ages.
2. Be able to critically consider and explore the relationship between humans and animals, as represented in a wide variety of literature, with particular emphasis on the Medieval period.
3. Have a knowledge and understanding of the narrative strategies used by writers of fiction, specifically animal literature, to engage and critique the power structures of society.
4. Write a sophisticated, critically astute, research-based, scholarly essay founded on the knowledge of the texts and core concepts explored in the module.

Indicative Module Content:

Role of Speech
Rewriting and reconfiguration of narrative
Writing to challenge power structures

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Each seminar will be of two hours duration. The seminars will be conversational, based on a specific text each week. Students should come to class with the texts read each week; students should be prepared to participated in classroom discussion. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: One short assignment which will help the student prepare for the summative assessment. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Students will be required to submit a 4,000 word essay on a chosen topic, based on two or more texts studied in the module and engaging with concepts taught on the module. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring 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 be invited to meet with the Module Coordinator after the completion of each continuous assessment, but must meet at least once in the course of the trimester. Students will also have access to written feedback on the VLE, both for the continuous and summative assessment.