This is a literary studies unit. It introduces two significant and highly debated concepts in western literary tradition through a discussion of some nineteenth-century and early 21st century prose fictions in English. It aims to develop an understanding of how the terms 'romance' and 'realism' have influenced the critical discussion of literary texts. There is also some discussion of the interaction of these terms with modernism and gender theory.

When students have completed this unit, they will be able to identify some of the textual characteristics commonly associated with 'romance' and with 'realism'. Students will be able to discuss the usefulness and validity of the terms for defining texts and they will also be able to discuss the development and adaptation of 'realism' and 'romance' narratives, and challenges to them, in a number of fiction and critical texts.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


ACL2001 - Reading Contemporary Fiction

ACL2002 - Studying Poetry and Poetics

Students enrolled in course code ABAB and LBLA must complete at least 72 credit points (equivalent to 6 units) in Year 1 before undertaking any Level 2 units.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Engage with the key issues in late modern English Language prose fiction, its history and significant themes;  
  2. Present literary arguments in a variety of verbal and textual settings and formats;  
  3. Use discussion and debate to solve complex problems; and  
  4. Negotiate literary representations of modernism and gender theory through the study of prose fiction texts.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Presentation Analysis of class readings. 25%
Assignment Short analysis of two literary characters and their relationship in one of the set novels. 30%
Essay Critical response to a chosen essay question. 45%
Total effective word limit 3000 words.

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