Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course will take your understanding and appreciation of literary texts to the next level. You will become familiar with a range of key concepts and theoretical problems of Literary Studies and will thereby acquire a solid foundation for your further studies in English & Writing and beyond. Equipped with an expanded conceptual toolbox, you will be able to reflect on your own reading practice and ask new and more advanced questions of literary texts. Rather than simply internalising the tenets of various schools of criticism, you will learn to engage actively and critically with theoretical ideas while also developing your ability to argue for and against specific theoretical positions. Ultimately, the course aims to enhance your ability to think independently about literature and the various ways in which it engages with the world.



  • Semester 2 - 2022


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Explain a range of key concepts and problems in Literary Studies;

2. Critically analyse theoretical texts;

3. Construct reasoned arguments for and against a theoretical position;

4. Communicate theoretical ideas in clear and effective language.


The course focuses on key contributions to the critical/theoretical debate in Literary Studies. The readings will be grouped under thematic headings and will include conflicting positions so as to further discussion and enhance skills in theoretical/critical reasoning. Topics may include: 

  • Authors, texts, readers
  • Meaning and interpretation
  • Realism and representation
  • Social, cultural and historical reading strategies
  • Gender and sexual identity in literature
  • Race and ethnicity in literature
  • Close versus distant reading
  • National, transnational and global approaches to literature
  • Literary history
  • Book history and the materiality of the text
  • Literature in the digital age
  • The publication industry


This course has similarities to ENGL3654. If you have successfully completed ENGL3654 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

ENGL1000 Introduction to Literary Studies or 20 units of 1000 level English courses.

Assessment items

Online Learning Activity: Debating exercise (30%)

Journal: 1 reflective journal due at the end of semester (30%)

Essay: Critical essay (40%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.