ENG32690 Writing Habits

Academic Year 2023/2024

Addiction is a highly prevalent aspect of the human condition which affects the lives of a huge proportion of people worldwide. This prevalence is reflected in the large body of literary engagement, through verse, drama, prose fiction and memoir, with the lived experience of addiction. Literary criticism, however, has been slow to engage with and respond to Addiction Literature as a distinct genre. The relatively few critical engagements which have been made tend to emphasise both the phenomenon’s supposed essential modernity and its exclusive association with the specific issue of substance-use. When looked at as a literary genre, however, the roots of the common figurative and narrative tropes of Addiction Literature can be witnessed in texts which vastly predate any modern, medicalized articulations of substance-addiction. As Barbara Christian says in her “Race for Theory,” “where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it.”
This Level 3 seminar module closely examines some seminal premodern texts of Addiction Literature, considers the development of the main conventions of narrative and language which will come to define the genre, and reflects on what types of behavioural depictions and which literary periods can be considered under a generic classification of Addiction Literature.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Demonstrate an ability to identify and analyse recurring generic tropes of narrative, language and imagery within a wide range of texts from across a broad historic period.
2. Develop the ability to read and write on a wide variety of texts through different theoretical, thematic and generic lenses.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of historic and contemporary addiction discourses, and an ability to situate literary texts within their historical contexts.
4. Cultivate the ability to construct original and insightful comparative analyses of addiction narratives and conceptual theories.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be delivered via weekly two-hour seminars which will be structured as short lecture-style introductions to set texts and relevant themes and theories, followed by group discussion/debate informed by essay-style questions, close reading exercises, and peer supported development of critical writing. 
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
Continuous Assessment: Weekly contribution to class discussions; short written comparison of two theoretical approaches; essay proposal Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: End of term 3000 word essay. This will be a comparative essay focusing on two texts studied on the module, based on a choice of questions relating to the themes of the course, or on a relevant topic s Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided on the assignment on Brightspace and, if requested, in one-to-one meetings

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Fri 12:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Fri 12:00 - 13:50