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CO4022   Illness and Literature

Academic year(s): 2019-2020

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF Level 10

Semester: 2

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: To be arranged.

This module will explore the wide range of functions and representations of illness and disease in a variety of European (French, English, German, Italian and Russian) literary and theoretical texts from the 14th to the 20th century, and how its metaphorical employment can reflect changing beliefs related to individual identity, socio-cultural codes, narrative construction and the possibilities and limitations of language itself. Starting with a brief theoretical overview of modern canonical writings on illness by Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry which will provide an introduction to common tropes of mythologizing and metaphorizing illness, as well as the linguistic challenges to its representation, we will move on to focused thematic explorations of disease, employing close comparative readings of texts to reflect upon and discuss three broad topics: early plague narratives; the aesthetics of Romantic illness and the idea of illness as enlightenment; and the modern and postmodern employment of disease to subvert canonical representations of time and language in literature.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Permission of the Comparative Literature Honours Adviser.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 seminar and an optional surgery hour.

Scheduled learning hours: 16

Guided independent study hours: 134

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 0%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: Written Coursework = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr K E Jones
Module teaching staff: Team taught