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The History of British Literature Course

General data

Course ID: 4101-3SHLBO
Erasmus code / ISCED: 05.1 Kod klasyfikacyjny przedmiotu składa się z trzech do pięciu cyfr, przy czym trzy pierwsze oznaczają klasyfikację dziedziny wg. Listy kodów dziedzin obowiązującej w programie Socrates/Erasmus, czwarta (dotąd na ogół 0) – ewentualne uszczegółowienie informacji o dyscyplinie, piąta – stopień zaawansowania przedmiotu ustalony na podstawie roku studiów, dla którego przedmiot jest przeznaczony. / (0110) Education, not further defined The ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) code has been designed by UNESCO.
Course title: The History of British Literature Course
Name in Polish: Historia literatury brytyjskiej 1
Organizational unit: University College of English Language Teacher Education
Course groups:
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available) Basic information on ECTS credits allocation principles:
  • the annual hourly workload of the student’s work required to achieve the expected learning outcomes for a given stage is 1500-1800h, corresponding to 60 ECTS;
  • the student’s weekly hourly workload is 45 h;
  • 1 ECTS point corresponds to 25-30 hours of student work needed to achieve the assumed learning outcomes;
  • weekly student workload necessary to achieve the assumed learning outcomes allows to obtain 1.5 ECTS;
  • work required to pass the course, which has been assigned 3 ECTS, constitutes 10% of the semester student load.

view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

obligatory courses

Short description:

The course in the history of English literature aims at providing the students with a general knowledge of the entire corpus of English literary texts from Anglo-Saxon period to contemporary times. As the course is taught in English the students are required to demonstrate in their classroom activities fundamental knowledge of social, cultural and historical background of English literature and its various literary periods. The students should be familiar with appropriate critical terminology in order to be able to approach the discussed texts as semantically charged cultural products which communicate by the intertwined force of individual genius and socio-historical context which shaped them. By the end of the course students will have gained a basic knowledge of the whole spectrum of English literary texts from various epochs.

Full description:

The course in the history of English literature is a historically structured survey of major literary texts written from Old English period to Modern times. Chronologically arranged texts provide the student with a map of literary, social, historical and cultural changes over the centuries. The main areas of investigation cover the following problems and authors:

Semester 1: From Old English to Romanticism

1.Anglo-Saxon literature: Heroic, elegiac and religious poems: Beowulf, The Wanderer, The Dream of the Rood; Old English society, beliefs and customs; Old English versification: orality, alliteration, kenning, accentual verse. Christianity vs Teutonic paganism.

2.Medieval poetry: Allegorical religious poetry: The Pearl, Piers Plowman; Arthurian romance: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Alliterative Revival; Medieval songs, lyrics and ballads; Medieval theatre and drama: Tropes, Miracle, Mystery, Morality plays and Interludes: Everyman; Geoffrey Chaucer's achievement as the culmination of medieval tradition: The Canterbury Tales.

3.Renaissance: Humanism, Reformation, and new horizons in arts, science, philosophy. Tudor and Elizabethan lyrics and sonnets: Petrarchan vs English pattern; sonneteers and the sonnet cycle: Thomas Wyatt, Surrey, Sir Phillip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, W.Shakespere; Renaissance epic poetry: E.Spenser The Faerie Queene. Elizabethan theatre and drama: Renaissance tragic character: Marlowe's in Dr.Faustus, Jonson's commedy of humours: Volpone, Kyd's revenge tragedy: The Spanish Tragedy; Shakespeare's tragedies, comedies and chronicles; Metaphysical and Cavalier poetry of the 17th century; Puritanism in literature in John Milton' Paradise Lost and John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress;

4.Restoration and Augustan literature: the satires of John Dryden and Samuel Butler, Restoration commedy of manners (Wycherley, Etherege and Congreve); Augustan aesthetics and ideas in Alexander Pope's satires and essays; the rise of the novel as a new literary genre: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and formal realism; Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels as a satire and grotesque; Henry Fielding's Tom Jones/Joseph Andrews as a Bildungsroman narrative; Laurence Sterne's experiments with narration and emotions in Tristram Shandy'; Sentimentalism in poetry: Graveyard Poets, Robert Burnes, anthologies - Percy Macpherson, Chatterton; Gothicism in novels.



1.The Norton Anthology of English Literature, New York, vols.1-2

2.The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, New York, vols.1-2

3.M.Drabble, The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford, 1985

4.A.Burgess, English Literature, Longman, 1990

5.B.Ford (ed.),The New Pelican Guide to English Literature, Penguin, vols.1-9

6.M.Alexander, A History of English Literature, Macmillan, 2000

7.Cuddon, J.A., A Dictionary of Literary Terms, London & New York, 1982

8.Zgorzelski, a., Lectures on British Literature, Parts 1-3, Gdansk, 1999

9.Mroczkowski, P., Historia literatury angielskiej, Wroclaw, 1986

10.Zbierski, Henryk: 'Literatura angielska' , w: Dzieje literatur europejskich, Warszawa 1982

11.Stamirowska, Krystyna, (ed.) Współczesna powieść brytyjska, Kraków: Universitas, 1997.

12.Diniejko, A. Introduction to the Study of Literature in English. Kielce, 2005.

13.Bela Teresa, Mazur Zygmunt: A College Anthology of English Literature, Kraków,1997

Learning outcomes:


K_W01 the basic facts, theories, processes and phenomena relating to history of British literature, which have practical application in English language teaching at pre-school and the first and second stages of education (P6S_WG Scope and depth)

K_W02 selected study areas relevant to British literature, which have practical application in English language teaching (P6S_WG Scope and depth)

K_W03 the basic terminology covering literary studies and British literature relevant to English language teaching (P6S_WG Scope and depth)


K_U01 search, analyse, evaluate, select and use information using a variety of sources and methods (P6S_UW The application of knowledge/problems solved and activities performed)

K_U16 conduct an argument using the views of other authors and formulate conclusions (P6S_UK Communication/ constructing and receiving messages, propagation of knowledge in the academic environment, foreign language use)

K_U19 prepare oral presentations, in Polish and English for specific purposes, using basic theoretical approaches, as well as a variety of sources (P6S_UK Communication/ constructing and receiving messages, propagation of knowledge in the academic environment, foreign language use)


K_K02 reflect on the level of their skills and knowledge, constantly develop professionally and personally, self-assess their competences, improve their skills, plan their development and training (P6S_KK Assessment/critical approach)

K_K04 take responsibility for the promotion and preservation of the cultural heritage of the region, country, Europe and multilingualism and multiculturalism related to various ethnic groups living in Great Britain (P6S_KO Responsibility/fulfilling social obligations and acting for the public good)

K_K06 interact and work in a group, performing various roles (P6S_KR Professional role/ autonomy/development of the ethos)

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Multimedia presentations of individual members of groups on assigned topics. Presence and active participation in class.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
Copyright by University of Warsaw.
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00-927 Warszawa
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