The University of Southampton
Courses

ENGL3093 Dangerous Readings

Module Overview

How can reading be dangerous? A text’s meaning for readers is an implicit concern for all literary studies, but some texts show us more explicitly than others how they expect to be read, and engage overtly with their own their disruptive, dangerous, and subversive potential. This module will reveal that for several centuries reading has consistently been the focus of several high-profile cultural anxieties, some of which are remarkably durable while others change over time. During the module, you will have the opportunity to investigate evidence from several historical moments for the interaction between readers and texts, explore ways in which these texts imagine and construct readers, and consider how reading contributes to broader cultural and social debates around issues such as faith, sex, crime, fantasy, and death.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to introduce you to some of the dangers culturally associated with the practice and content of different types of reading at different historical moments.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: the ways in which reading and interpretation may be considered morally, spiritually, socially, culturally, physically and/or politically threatening
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the value of and differences between textual, material, and historical evidence for readers and reading
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key debates in reception and reader response theory, with specific reference to the implied reader and the historical reader
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to manage your own time.
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to work effectively in a group.
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to understand and be tolerant of the opinions of others – including the opinions of individuals and communities in the past, and from other cultures
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to think critically about new hermeneutic concepts
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to compare different types of danger, and different types of text.
  • Having successfully completed this module you will be able to appreciate how cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement.

Syllabus

The precise syllabus will vary from year to year. Topics for study might include: • the Gothic reader • the woman reader • the working-class reader • reading and childhood • forbidden reading • partial reading • revolutionary reading

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Lectures and demonstrations • Seminar discussion • Module cafes (voluntary, student-led additional contact hours on topics of your choice related to the module) • Small group work

TypeHours
Tutorial2
Independent Study128
Lecture10
Seminar10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Chronicling America.

Adam Matthew Digital collection.

‘The Reading Experience Database 1450-1945’.

the British Library Newspaper Archive.

Hartley Library Special Collections. 

Assessment

Formative

Draft piece

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Individual essay  (3000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Costs

Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Costs associated with this module will not exceed £30. Copies of most of the primary texts will be available online or from the library; most secondary texts will be provided in digital form.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

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