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Literary Criticism in English

Code: 100269 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500245 English Studies OT 3 0
2500245 English Studies OT 4 0
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Joan Curbet Soler

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
english (eng)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


An essential requirement is a C2 level of English in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment.

A level of English at C2 allows students to understand with ease virtually everything heard or read; to summarise information from distinct spoken and written sources; to reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation; and to express themselves spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in the most complex situations.

Students who register for this subject should have passed the obligatory literature subjects of our degree.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The main aim of the subject is to bring up the question “How can we read literature?” to final year students, so that they can answer by considering all the elements acquired during their degree.

However, a further purpose is that of introducing the students to literary theory applied to the critical reading, thus providing advanced critical tools for the analysis and comprehension of literary texts.

The course starts with a revision and analysis of several especially relevant theoretical approaches, their origins, their objectives and drawbacks. At a second stage, three contemporary novels in English will be read, in order to understand how these texts can be read in a constructive way through a better understanding of the theory.

At the end of the course, the students will have acquired practical and efficient skills on how to apply the fundamental literary theory to the analysis and discussion of literature.


    English Studies
  • Critically assessing the scientific, literary and cultural production in the English language.
  • Demonstrate a comprehension of the relationship between factors, processes and phenomena of linguistics, literature, history and culture, and explaining it.
  • Develop critical thinking and reasoning and knowing how to communicate effectively both in your mother tongue and in other languages.
  • Distinguish and contrast the various theoretical and methodological models applied to the study of the English language, its literature and its culture.
  • Identify the main literary, cultural and historical currents in the English language.
  • Produce clear and well structured and detailed texts in English about complex topics, displaying a correct use of the organisation, connection and cohesion of the text.
  • Rewrite and organize information and arguments coming from several sources in English and presenting them in a coherent and summarised way.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analysing and interpreting texts in an advanced level about the literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  2. Applying appropriate secondary academic sources to text comments and argumentative essays about literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  3. Carrying out oral presentations about topics related to the genres of English literature and its academic criticism using secondary academic sources.
  4. Communicating in the studied language in oral and written form, properly using vocabulary and grammar.
  5. Comparing in an advanced level different topics and texts related to literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  6. Comparing in an advanced level the methodologies of the literary criticism in English.
  7. Demonstrate a master of the specific methods of individual academic work that prepare the student for a postgraduate specialised education in the same or a different field of study.
  8. Describing in detail and in an academic way the diachronic and synchronic evolution of the topics and texts of literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  9. Distinguishing the main ideas from the secondary ones and summarising the contents of primary and secondary texts related to the literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  10. Drawing up academic essays of medium length in relation to the genres of the English literature and its academic criticism using secondary academic sources.
  11. Effectively communicating and applying the argumentative and textual processes to formal and scientific texts.
  12. Explaining in an advanced level, the nature and main traits of the literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  13. Localising secondary academic sources in the library or on the Internet related to the literary genres and literary criticism in English.
  14. Mastering the advanced knowledge and scientific methodologies related to linguistics, literature, history and culture that prepare the student for a postgraduate specialised education in the same or a different field of study.
  15. Students must be capable of comprehending advanced academic or professional texts in their own language or the another acquired in the degree.
  16. Students must be capable of precisely arguing ideas and opinions in their own language or another acquired in the degree.
  17. Summarising the content of primary and secondary academic sources about literary genres and literary criticism in English.


Unit 1: Theoretical Approaches

Unit 2: Theory applied to Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger

Unit 3: Theory applied to Maggie O'Farrell's' The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Unit 4: Theory applied to Lloyd Jones' Mr Pip



1 crèdit ECTS = 25 hs teaching x 6 credits = 150 h.

  • Directed activities
  • Supervised activities
  • Autonomous activities
  • Assessment activities


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Critical debate 5 0.2 16, 15, 3, 12, 11, 4
Lectures 50 2 16, 15
Type: Supervised      
Bibliographical research 10 0.4 14, 7, 13
Type: Autonomous      
Individual reading and study 60 2.4 1, 2, 6, 5, 15, 8, 9, 12, 13, 10, 17


All the exercises are COMPULSORY. An exercise not handed in or an exam the student has not taken will count as ‘NP’ (‘no presentat’ or ‘no evidence’), i.e., 0. This means that all activities are compulsory and that submission of the essay (35%) automatically excludes the possibility of obtaining “No avaluable” as a final grade.

  1. The minimum mark for an exercise or exam to be considered for the average final mark is 4, although the minimum pass mark for the whole subject is 5.
  2. The student’s command of English will be taken into account when marking all exercises and for the final mark.  
  3. On carrying out each assessment activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.
  4. Re-assessment conditions:
    • Only those students who have fulfilled all coursework requirements and have obtained between 3.5 (FAIL) and 4.9 (FAIL) as a provisional final grade and have passed either the exam or the essay have a right to re-assessment.
    • Re-assessment will be through a written examination on a date and time established by the Faculty. This exam will synthesise the essential contents of the subject as a whole.
    • This examination will allow the lecturer to determine whether the re-assessment candidate has merited the pass grade of 5.0.
    • The ONLY re-assessment pass grade that will be awarded, therefore, is 5.0 (PASS).
    • Specific items of course work will NOT be re-assessed, except where a student may have a justified absence (e.g., through illness, accredited by a doctor's note).
    • Re-assessment is ONLY available to students who have failed initial assessment; it is NOT available to pass students simply wishing to improve their grade. 

Partial or total plagiarising will immediately result in a FAIL (0) for the plagiarised exercise (first-year subjects) or the WHOLE SUBJECT (second-,third- and fourth-year subjects). PLAGIARISING consists of copying text from unacknowledged sources –whether this is part of a sentence or a whole text– with the intention of passing it off as the student’s own production. It includes cutting and pasting from internet sources, presented unmodified in the student’s own text. Plagiarising is a SERIOUS OFFENCE. Students must respect authors’ intellectual property, always identifying the sources they may happen to use; they must also be responsible for the originality and authenticity of their own texts.

IMPORTANT (ON PLAGIARISM): In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools, or will offer them feasible alternatives


Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essay 35% 17 0.68 1, 2, 16, 6, 5, 15, 14, 7, 8, 9, 12, 11, 4, 13, 10, 17
Exam 50% 2 0.08 1, 2, 16, 6, 5, 15, 14, 7, 8, 9, 12, 11, 4, 17
Participation in in-class debates 15% 6 0.24 1, 2, 16, 6, 15, 14, 7, 3, 12, 11, 4, 17



Rivkin, Julie & Ryan, Michael, Literary Theory: An Anthology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Revised edition, 2004.

The Novels:

Jones, Lloyd. Mr Pip. London: John Murray, 2006.

O’Farrell, Maggie. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. London: Heading Review, 2006.

Waters, Sarah. The Little Stranger. London: Virago, 2009.