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Royal Holloway English Department. Open Day Presentation , updated Nov 2010. Single Honours Year 1. Two courses per semester, on this pattern: Autumn Term : ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘Inventing the Novel’. Spring term : ‘Introduction to Medieval Literature’ and ‘Introducing English Poetry’.

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royal holloway english department

Royal Holloway English Department

Open Day Presentation, updated Nov 2010.

single honours year 1
Single Honours Year 1

Two courses per semester, on this pattern:

  • Autumn Term: ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘Inventing the Novel’.
  • Spring term: ‘Introduction to Medieval Literature’ and ‘Introducing English Poetry’.
inventing the novel
‘Inventing the Novel’

First part of term, 18th century

J. M. Coetzee, Foe (Penguin)

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, ed. John Richetti(Penguin)

AphraBehn, ‘Oroonoko’, in Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works, ed. Janet Todd (Penguin)

Samuel Richardson, Pamela,or,Virtue Rewarded, ed. Thomas Keymer (Oxford World's Classics),

Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela, ed. Judith Hawley (Penguin)

These nineteenth-century novels are studied in the second part of the term:

Ann Radcliffe, The Italian ed. Robert Miles (Penguin Classics); Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility ed. RosBallaster (Penguin Classics); Jane Austen, Persuasion ed. Gillian Beer (Penguin Classics); Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: ed. J Paul Hunter (Norton Critical Edition); James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner ed. John Carey (Oxford World's Classics); Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, ed. Philip Horne (Penguin Classics)

~ Professor Hawley has a ‘bundle’ deal struck with Penguin!

shakespeare term 1
‘Shakespeare’, term 1
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • As You Like It
  • Twelfth Night
  • Richard II
  • Henry IV Part I
  • Henry V
  • Hamlet
  • Othello
  • King Lear
  • The Winter's Tale
  • The Tempest

With the obvious moral to be drawn: University English is not like ‘A’ level English. More texts, more quickly, far wider experience as readers.

introducing english poetry spring term
‘Introducing English poetry’ (Spring term)

Week 1, Lecture 1, Shakespeare Sonnet 18; lecture 2 John Donne: 'The Sunne Rising'

Week 2 lecture 3 John Milton, 'Lycidas' (elegiac poetry); lecture 4 Andrew Marvell, 'To his Coy Mistress' (poems of erotic persuasion)

Week 3 lecture 5 Wordsworth: 'Tintern Abbey’; lecture 6 Alexander Pope, 'The Rape of the Lock'(mock heroic)

Week 4 lecture 7 Coleridge, 'Frost at Midnight‘; lecture 8 Poems by Charlotte Smith

Week 5 lecture 9 John Keats, 'Ode to a Nightingale’; lecture 10 Shelley: 'Ode to the West Wind‘

Week 7, lecture 11: Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Ulysses’; lecture 12: Robert Browning, ‘A Toccata of Galuppi’s’

Week 8, lecture 13: sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti; lecture 14: Emily Dickinson, 754: 'My Life Had Stood - A Loaded Gun' [Professor Hampson]

Week 9, lecture 15: Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘The Windhover’; lecture 16: T S Eliot, 'The love song of J Alfred Prufrock ' and 'Preludes’

Week 10, lecture 17: Ezra Pound, ‘The Cantos’; lecture 18, Dylan Thomas, 'Fern Hill‘

Week 11, lecture 19: Frank O'Hara, 'The Day Lady Died’; lecture 20: Denise Levertov, 'O Taste & See'

single honours year 2
Single Honours Year 2

Five core units from which students choose three:

  • Contemporary Debates in Literary Theory
  • Renaissance Literature 1525-1670: ‘Love, Honour, Obey’.
  • Romantic Literature
  • 19th Victorian Literature
  • Modernist Literature

Plus two further half units from options

EN2010: Love, Honour, Obey: Literature 1525-1670

Course Tutors: Dr Roy Booth*,

Dr. Elaine McGirr and Dr. Deana Rankin

Description: This course is organised around the three major themes specified. Each of the three strands features a combination of authors, selected works and contextualising lectures which together illustrate the general subject. 

‘Love’ will explore Elizabethan erotic-mythological poems (for instance Shakespeare's  'Venus and Adonis' and Marlowe's 'Hero and Leander'), John Donne's love poetry, the poetry of Katherine Phillips, and, from the poems of Edmund Spenser, his marriage poem, 'Epithalamion' and extracts from The Faerie Queene. 

‘Honour’ will include texts like Shakespeare's 'Lucrece', a selection of revenge tragedies, as well as material on duelling, honourable quarrels and dishonourable friends.

‘Obey’ will explore both secular and religious allegiances and may include plays about kingship like Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great and John Ford’s Perkin Warbeck, occasional poetry by Milton, Marvell and Dryden, and the religious poetry of Herbert and Donne.

Medieval Dream and Vision

Medieval Epic & Romance

The Gawain Poet

Old English Literature

Drama and Witchcraft 1576-1642

Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

Ritual & Society in 19th century Fiction and Painting

Modernity and the Twentieth-Century British Novel

Writing of World War I

Dark Reform: Scandal and Satire in American Culture

Old English Literature

Intensive Shakespeare: Comedy, History, Tragedy

Philosophy and Art

British Drama Since 1956

The Postcolonial Novel

The current array of second year half-unit options

single honours year 3
Single honours Year 3

Options include 3 full units from:

1. Dissertation

2. A choice from a range of Special Author projects

3. A choice from an array of ‘Special Projects’…

And two further half units from the list of courses available.

current set of year 3 special authors
Current set of year 3 Special Authors
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Joseph Conrad
  • John Ashbery
  • John Donne
  • J. M. Coetzee
  • Salman Rushdie
and the special projects
And the ‘Special Projects’
  • ‘Opium, Empire, Art’
  • Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture
  • Poetic Practice
  • The Booker Prize and Beyond
  • Theatre and the City 1590-1730
  • Idea of America in Philosophy and Literature
autumn term third year half unit options
Autumn term third year half unit options
  • Medieval drama
  • Advanced Shakespeare
  • Medieval Dream and Vision
  • Beowulf and the Critics
  • 18th century bodies
  • Literatures of genocide
  • Postmodernism and Poetry
  • Art of Noise
  • 1855: a year in the life…
spring term half unit options
Spring term half unit options
  • Reading Beowulf
  • The Gawain Poet
  • Old English literature
  • Drama and Witchcraft 1576-1642
  • Medieval Epic and Romance
  • Material Poetics
  • James Joyce: Revolutions of the Word
  • Shakespeare Adaptation
  • Reading Tristram Shandy
  • Oysseus’s scar: Time in Modern Literature and Film
Departmental faces

Medieval and Modern

Jennifer Neville, Finn Fordham

Catherine Nall, Anne Varty

(Head of Department)

Ruth Kennedy Andrew Gibson

Also member of the Conseil Scientifique of the Collège International de Philosophie, Paris

Shakespeareans: Professor Kiernan Ryan, Dr Christie Carson

Man of the Renaissance*, and Women of the Enlightenment

Dr Roy Booth

Dr Elaine McGirr

Professor Judith Hawley

* No available picture of

Dr Deana Rankin!

Nineteenth-Twentieth century specialists: Dr Sophie Gilmartin, Dr Ruth Livesey, Professor Robert Hampson…

…and Professor Adam Roberts, who also does…

Tim Armstrong is Professor of Modern English and American Literature at Royal Holloway. The main focus of his work has been the cultural history of modernism. His publications include Modernism, Technology and the Body (1998), Haunted Hardy: Poetry, History, Memory (2000), and Modernism: A Cultural History (2005). He is editor of American Bodies (1996) and Thomas Hardy: Selected Poems (1993; 2009); and co-editor of Beyond the Pleasure Dome: Writing and Addiction from the Romantics (1994). He is presently working on an account of the cultural resonances of slavery, a book which includes chapters on technology, the weather, and insurance.

Our other avant guard-ists, Dr Will Montgomery and Dr Redell Olsen

And two of the Department’s Creative Writing team

And Susanna Jones you have met,

And among our Departmental poets/artists,

Professor Jo Shapcott and Dr Kristen Kreider

And leaving the best for last,

Professor Sir Andrew Motion

who teaches at M.A. level.

(Creative Writing)

'Causa Belli'

They read good books, and quote, but never learn

a language other than the scream of rocket-burn

Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad;

elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.

http www rhul ac uk english studying undergraduate study english and creativewriting html


Creative Writing students take:CW1010 Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction & Poetry (1 Unit); seminar/workshop CW1020 Why Write? The History and Theory of Creative Writing (1 Unit) seminar/workshop

with the English courses:EN1107 Inventing the Novel EN1112 Introducing English Poetry


Creative WritingStudents take TWO of the following options:

  • DT2310A Playwriting CW2020A FictionCW2030A Poetry

(with 2 units or equivalent from the range offered for English)

THIRD YEAR Creative Writing students take either of the two following options:

  • CW3101: Contextual Practice, orCW3102: Reading as a Writer

and take ONE of the following courses:

  • CW3010A Playwriting 2, orCW3020A Fiction 2, or CW3030A Poetry 2

(with two units worth of English courses)


Something to read before you come here: Professor Bob Eaglestone’s famous Doing English.

writing essays
Writing essays

You will be expected to commit your precious musings to paper!

~ approximately, two essays for each full unit, one assessed and one ‘formative’ (i.e., not part of the assessment of the course of 1,000-2,000 words). The essays will be word-processed, with proper scholarly documentation. On all courses, students are asked to upload their essays to (self-monitoring for plagiary).

  • Seminar presentations may take the place of essays.
A screen grab from ‘Moodle’,

the Royal Holloway Virtual Learning Environment

Another screen grab of a Moodle site:
Rather than use ‘Moodle’, some of our courses operate with course blogs: EN3515 Dickens
And EN3314 ‘The Booker Prize’

Some of RHUL’s electronic resources relevant to English

after the degree
After the degree
  • You love literature so much that you go on to do an M.A. here…?
  • e.g. ‘pathway’ from year 1 Shakespeare, through year 2 ‘intensive Shakespeare’ to year 3 ‘Shakespeare: the Problem Plays’ to the RHUL Shakespeare M.A.
  • Similar pathways are possible to M.A. study in Medieval Studies, Victorian Literature, Literatures of Modernity
  • Or just do M.A. English Literature.