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English Studies

The Department teaches world literature written in English.

Curriculum Overview

The first-year course includes the study of Indian, South African, American, and Renaissance literature. From the beginning of second-year, we adopt Edward Said’s ‘contrapuntal’ approach. Starting with Medieval and concluding. At the end of third-year, with Postcolonial literature, we proceed with a chronological study of literary texts.

In each period, we consider the ways in which contemporary writers from various contexts have engaged the British and American traditions.

Our curriculum is not traditional in the mundane sense of the word but considers the ongoing dialogue between tradition and innovation, and the conversation among European, colonial and postcolonial writers.

Programme Outcomes

By the end of the programme graduates have developed, sophisticated reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

Undergraduate study


We focus on the study of world literature in English. This means that you examine and discuss novels, short stories, plays, poems, film and television programmes. You will consider how these texts are put together and ask searching questions about the ways in which they relate to the time and place in which they originated, and the time and the place in which they are received.

In the process, you will develop your writing and reasoning skills, gaining not just an understanding of literatures in English, but developing your ability to use language effectively.

First Year

The first-year course includes the study of Indian, South African, American, and Renaissance literature. It introduces you to the field of literary studies, demonstrating the importance of both close reading and contextualisation. You will study a range of contemporary and older novels, films, plays and poems.

Second Year

Here your choice becomes greater. Broadly, you will look at Medieval, Renaissance, Eighteenth-Century and Romantic literature. In each course, though, there are electives from which you can select an area of focus. Although this year of study begins your historical overview of literatures in English, each course is concerned with both a period and the ways in which the literature of that period has inspired various adaptations in different epochs and in different contexts. The study of medievalism, for instance, includes the study of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Third Year

In this year, you will consider Victorian, Modernist, Postmodern and Postcolonial writing which will bring the full canon of English literature, conceived in its widest sense, up to date.

Again, a range of electives is offered that encourage students to emphasise the work of specific writers, or specific modes or themes. The third year of study brings the historical survey of literature into the present and acknowledges the diversity and complexity of the globalised contemporary literary institution.

Students in this year are strongly encouraged to pursue their own interests and to undertake small-scale research projects. Our discipline co-operates with African Literature and Applied English Language Studies. It is possible to substitute a module from one of these fields for one of our modules or you may choose a module from another cognate discipline. Again, you can shape your curriculum to suit your interests.