Logo UAB

Modern Poetry and Theatre in English

Code: 106329 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504212 English Studies OT 3 2
2504212 English Studies OT 4 2


Maria Cristina Pividori Gurgo

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


Before enrolling in the course, students are expected to have successfully completed subjects from their third academic year. 

An avid interest and genuine enthusiasm for reading and engaging in debates surrounding poetry and theatre in English that explore the representation and memory of the major conflicts in the 20th century is highly recommended for students enrolling in this subject.

The course further stipulates that learners should possess a C2--Proficiency level in English, as per the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. A C2 proficiency entails that students can effortlessly comprehend virtually everything they read or listen to. It also assumes that they have the ability to consolidate information from various oral and written sources, reconstruct facts and arguments, and present them coherently. Additionally, it implies that students can express themselves spontaneously and fluently, with the aptitude to discern subtle nuances of meaning even in highly complex situations.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The 2023-2024 edition of "Poetry and Theatre in English" will focus on the study of two specific genres: war poetry and theatre. Special attention will be paid to issues related to ethics, politics, memory and even the physical experience of war.

Specifically, the following topics will be addressed:

  • Men's and women's identities at war
  • The representation of the enemy
  • Women's voices in war poetry and theatre
  • Representation of trauma, grief and loss
  • Patriotism, nationalism, and propaganda
  • Protest and resistance
  • The Ethics of War
  • Border crossing experiences
  • Memory, history and literature

When completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • Understand the historical and cultural context of the major wars and conflicts in the 20th century and their impact on the popular imaginary. 
  • Examine the role poetry and theatre play in representing war experiences and trauma.
  • Analyze a diverse range of poetic and theatrical works that explore themes of war, conflict, trauma and memory.
  • Develop critical reading and interpretation skills to understand the aesthetics, symbolism, and imagery used in war poetry and theatre.
  • Appreciate the power of language and artistic expression in conveying the experience and memory of war.
  • Establish interdisciplinary connections by examining the intersection of literature, history, psychology, gender and cultural studies in the context of war.
  • Engage in discussions and debates to deepen understanding of the ethical and political implications raised by war poetry and theatre.
  • Develop effective communication skills through written assignments and class presentations that involve analysis and interpretation of war-related poetic and theatrical texts.
  • Develop research skills by analysing and summarising critical sources related to the poetry and theatre of 20th-century warsand conflicts.


    English Studies
  • Apply scientific ethical principles to information processing.
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and critical concepts to analysing the literature, culture and history of English-speaking countries.
  • Critically evaluate linguistic, literary and cultural production in English.
  • Demonstrate skills to develop professionally in the fields of linguistic applications, teaching and literary and cultural management in English.
  • Demonstrate skills to work autonomously and in teams to fulfil the planned objectives.
  • Develop arguments applicable to the fields of literature, culture and linguistics and evaluate their academic relevance.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Understand and produce written and spoken academic texts in English at advanced higher-proficient-user level (C2).
  • Use current philological methodologies to interpret literary texts in English and their cultural and historical context.
  • Use digital tools and specific documentary sources for the collection and organisation of information.
  • Use written and spoken English for academic and professional purposes, related to the study of linguistics, the philosophy of language, history, English culture and literature.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse and interpret literary texts in English from periods prior to the contemporary period.
  2. Demonstrate comprehension of specialist and non-specialist texts in English of high difficulty and interpret these critically.
  3. Describe critically and in detail the set of stylistic and cultural elements that affect a literary text in English.
  4. Develop advanced oral and written criticism in teaching, academic and cultural contexts in English.
  5. Distinguish principal ideas from secondary ideas and synthesise their contents in literary texts in English from earlier to contemporary periods.
  6. Express oneself in English orally and in writing in an academic register, using terminology appropriate to the study of the texts and contexts of English literature.
  7. In an effective manner, organise the autonomous component to learning.
  8. Incorporate ideas and concepts from published sources into work, citing and referencing appropriately.
  9. Locate specialised and academic information and select this according to its relevance.
  10. Plan work effectively, individually or in groups, in order to fulfil the planned objectives.
  11. Produce written and spoken academic texts at a higher-proficient-user level (C2) on the concepts and skills relevant to the study of English literary texts and contexts.
  12. Understand and reflect on literature and culture in English, situating these in their contexts and historical circumstances.
  13. Understand specialised academic texts on research into the texts and contexts of English literature.


  • UNIT 1. The Poetry is in the Pity:  This unit explores the world of poetry inspired by the First World War. We will study the profound impact that the conflict had on the lives of renowned soldier-poets (Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Isaac Rosenberg, Ivor Gurney, among others), but also shed light on the voices of women and civilians (Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence, Rose Macaulay, Charlotte Mew, among others).
  • UNIT 2. Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat:  This unit assembles a broad selection of poems by former soldiers, conscientious objectors, journalists and civilians (Randall Jarrell, Keith Douglas, Karl Shapiro, Josephine Miles, E.E. Cummings, among others) and a play (Bernard Kops’ Dreams of Anne Frank, 1993) to focus on the responses to the Second World War, with a particular focus on the Holocaust.
  • UNIT 3. Give Peace a Chance: Based on a selection of poems by veterans, reporters, refugees and civilians (James Dickey, Denise Levertov, Yusef Komunyakaa, John Agard, Suzan Lori-Parks, among others) and the rock musical Hair (Ragni, Rado and MacDermot, 1966), this unit will address the Vietnam War and its aftermath, paying particular attention to the sixties counterculture, and themes of identity, community, global responsibility and peace.
  • UNIT 4. Crossing Representational Borders: This unit will explore the experience of the Malvinas/Falklands War through the analysis of the experiences of six war veterans who face each other across the stage in Lola Arias’ play Campo Minado/Minefield (2017).


  • Guided activities: Lectures and Class Debates (50h, 2 cr)
  • Supevised activities: Writing Tasks and Activities Assessed in Class ( 25h, 1 cr)
  • Autonomous activities: Reading and Study (50h, 2 cr)

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lectures and Class Debates 50 2 1, 13, 2, 5, 4, 12, 6, 7, 10, 11
Type: Supervised      
Writing Tasks and Activities Assessed in Class 25 1 13, 2, 3, 5, 4, 12, 6, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11
Type: Autonomous      
Reading and Study 50 2 1, 13, 2, 3, 5, 4, 12, 6, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11



  • Academic essay 1 (Units 1-2) = 40%
  • Academic Essay 2 (Units 3-4) = 40%
  • Online Library Course = 10%
  • Class Participation= 10%

Exact dates for all evaluation activities will be confirmed at the start of the course through a course calendar published on the class Moodle.

 Please, note:

  • All the exercises are COMPULSORY.
  • The submission of either paper invalidates the student to get a final mark of "No avaluable."
  • The student's command of English will be taken into account when marking all exercises and for the final mark. It will count as 25% of this mark for all the exercises.


  • Students whose final average mark of the two papers is 3,5 to 4,9 (without counting the class participation mark and the online library course mark) and who have completed Continuous Assessment may take re-assessment.
  • If the final average mark of the two papers is inferior to 3,5 or if the student has failed both papers, they will miss the opportunity of reassessment and will be granted a Fail.
  • The reassessment consists of a two-hour written exam on matters related to the subject. The exam is awarded a Pass/Fail mark and the maximum possible final mark is a 5. In case students cannot do the exercises on the date set up by the teacher for justified medical reasons, they may do the exercise(s) on a different date agreed by the teacher.

 2) SINGLE ASSESSMENT is based on:

            3 Evaluated items to be done in a single in-class exam: 

  • Item 1 Paper on Units 1-2: (40%)
  • Item 2 Paper on Unit 3-4: (40%)
  • Item 3: Interview on the topics of the subject (20%).



  • 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.
  • Irregularities refer, for instance, to copying in an exam, copying from sources without indicating authorship, or a misuse of AI such as presenting work as original that has been generated by an AI tool or programme. These evaluation activities will not be re-assessed.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Academic Essay 1 (Units 1-2) 40% 10 0.4 1, 13, 2, 3, 5, 4, 12, 6, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11
Academic Essay 2 (Units 3-4) 40% 10 0.4 1, 13, 2, 3, 5, 4, 12, 6, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11
Class participation 10% 2.5 0.1 1, 13, 2, 3, 5, 4, 12, 6, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11
Online library course 10% 2.5 0.1 1, 13, 2, 3, 5, 4, 12, 6, 8, 9, 7, 10, 11



Reading Pack with Selected Poems (UNITS 1-4)


  • UNIT 2: Knop, Bernard. Dreams of Anne Frank (1993) in Skloot Robert (ed.) The Theatre of the Holocaust. Vol. 2 Six Plays. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999: pages 153-204.
  • UNIT 3: Ragni, Gerome and James Rado. Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. New York: Pocket Books, 1966. 
  • UNIT 4: Arias Lola. Minefield/Campo Minado. London: Oberon Books, 2017. 


Ballin Anita. “Teaching the Holocaust at the Imperial War Museum.” British Journal of Holocaust Education, 1994 pp. 184–188.

Bindas Kenneth J and Craig Houston. “‘Takin' Care of Business’: Rock Music Vietnam and the Protest Myth.” The Historian 1989 pp. 1–23.

Chattarji, Subarno. Memories of a Lost War:American Poetic Responses to the Vietnam War. Oxford: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press 2001. 

Das Santanu. The Cambridge Companion to the Poetry of the First World War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2013.

Felman, Shoshana and Dori Laub.Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis and History. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. London: Oxford UP, 1977.

Gilbert, 'Sandra M. Soldier's Heart: Literary Men, Literary Women, and The Great War' (Signs, Vol. 8: 3, Spring 1983) pp. 422-450.

Kendall Tim. Modern English War Poetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Kobialka, Michael. Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice, and Theory. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1999. 

LaCapra, Dominick. Writing History, Writing Trauma. 2001. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.

Maltby, Sarah. Remembering the Falklands War: Media, Memory and Identity. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 

McClung Laren and Yusef Komunyakaa. Inheriting the War : Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees. New York, W.W. Norton & Company,  2018.

McLoughlin. Authoring War: The Literary Representation of War from The Iliad to Iraq. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011.

Melling, Philip H. Vietnam in AmericanLiterature. Boston: Mass, 1990. Print.

Mosse, George. The Image of Man: The Creation ofModern Masculinity. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. 

---. Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars. New York: Oxford UP, 1990. 

Nevitt Lucy. Theatre & Violence. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan 2013.

Owen, David and Pividori, Cristina. Writings of Persuasion and Dissonance in the Great War. That Better Whiles May Follow Worse. The Netherlands: Brill, 2016.

Pividori, Cristina and Andrea Bellot. “Crossing Representational Borders in Lola Arias’ Minefield/Campo Minado.” Text and Performance Quarterly, 2022 pp. 412–437. 

Rawlinson, Mark. British Writing of the Second World War. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000.

Sharpe, Jim. "History fromBelow." New Perspectives on Historical Writing. Ed. Peter Burke. 1991. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001.

Schweik Susan. “Writing War Poetry Like a Woman.” Critical Inquiry, 1987 pp. 532–556.

Sosa, C. “Campo Minado/Minefield: War, Affect and Vulnerability—A  Spectacle of Intimate Power.” Theatre Research International. 42.2 (2017): 179-189.

Stallworthy Jon. The New Oxford Book of War Poetry. Oxford: Second ed. Oxford University Press 2015.

Tylee, Claire. The Great War and Women's Consciousness: Images of Militarism and Womanhoodin Women's Writings: 1914-1964. Iowa City: Iowa UP, 1990.

Winn James Anderson. The Poetry of War.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.

Wyschogrod, Edith. An Ethics of Remembering: History, Heterology, andthe Nameless Others. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.