5AAEB036 First World War Literature
Year Module taught in Semester one, band 2
Hope Wolf/Lara Feigel/Richard Kirkland
MODULE CREDIT VALUE:
For all students EXCEPT JYA, PENN students staying only for semester one:
One Three hour prior disclosure examination (100% of final mark)
Alternative assessment for JYA PENN students staying only for semester one:
One essay, 4,000 words (100% of final mark)
The course introduces students to First World War poetry, fiction, memoirs and drama,
including texts by non-combatants, and also men and women born after 1918. The primary
emphasis will be on British authors, but attention will also be paid to the European context.
Whilst its emphasis is on close-readings of the primary material, students are encouraged to
engage with more recent literary and cultural-historical scholarship.
Knowledge of a range of key First World War texts by men and women in three
different genres; of the historical and social circumstances, and also of contemporary
debates about gender, class, and psychology; an understanding of how the War
Awareness of the hostilities between combatants and non-combatants, and of how
this affected writers’ senses of their readerships.
Attention to form: a consideration of why writers might have chosen particular literary
and generic forms for representing War, and what these forms enable or inhibit; ability
to critique these forms, using a variety of different methodologies and theoretical
An appreciation of the aesthetic and psychological difficulties involved in representing
War, and a critical engagement with how different writers grappled with them.
An awareness of the power of the War to generate different myths at different times,
and attention to how literature contributed to this process.
Note to students about texts/course packs:
Before each seminar, students will be required to read all of the set primary material
(marked ‘Seminar Reading’) and, where possible, the recommended ‘Additional Prose’
and ‘Criticism’. Most of the set reading (apart from whole books) will be included within
the course pack distributed by the department at the beginning of term. The books
students are advised to buy or borrow from libraries are starred (*) in the course
guidelines below. Students are also encouraged to read widely from the ‘Further
Reading’ and ‘Bibliography’ sections.
Lecture/Seminar Program (indicating texts studied):
Critical and Theoretical Approaches to First World War Literature
‘A Satire of Circumstance’ in
The Great War and Modern