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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2017-18. The current handbook year is 2018-19

Department: English Studies

ENGL2691: Evelyn Waugh

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap 40 Location Durham


  • At least one of the following modules: Introduction to Drama (ENGL 1011), Introduction to the Novel (ENGL 1061), Introduction to Poetry (ENGL 1071).


  • Any other 20 credit lecture module in English.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To study in depth a range of writing by Evelyn Waugh, exploring the cultural, religious, intellectual and historical contexts which inform this work.
  • The module is designed to encourage students to analyze in detail the formal techniques of Waugh’s fiction and non-fiction, to appraise the force of his critique of the modern world, and to what extent he can be viewed as an experimental writer.
  • In addition, by including film and television adaptations of Waugh’s books, most notably Brideshead Revisited, this module provides students with the opportunity to reflect critically on film adaptations of novels.


  • The module will be organized in broadly chronological sequence, interspersed with screenings and discussion of film and television adaptations. When appropriate seminars will be supplemented by material from Waugh’s non-fiction prose writings (autobiographical, travel, essays and reviews). We will discuss Waugh’s early comic novels Decline and Fall (1928), Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938), devoting the latter part of the module to Brideshead Revisited (1945). Students will be expected to engage with a range of secondary materials.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will be expected to demonstrate a close knowledge of Evelyn Waugh’s fiction and non-fiction prose writing and to show an understanding of the cultural and intellectual contexts of his work and an engagement with the various critical approaches to his writing.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • critical skills in the close reading and analysis of texts
  • an ability to demonstrate knowledge of a range of texts and critical approaches
  • informed awareness of formal and aesthetic dimensions of literature and ability to offer cogent analysis of their workings in specific texts
  • sensitivity to generic conventions and to the shaping effects on communication of historical circumstances, and to the affective power of language
  • an ability to articulate and substantiate an imaginative response to literature
  • an ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of concepts and theories relating to literary studies
  • skills of effective communication and argument
  • awareness of conventions of scholarly presentation, and bibliographic skills including accurate citation of sources and consistent use of scholarly conventions of presentation
  • command of a broad range of vocabulary and an appropriate critical terminology
  • awareness of literature as a medium through which values are affirmed and debated
Key Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • a capacity to analyze critically
  • an ability to acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way involving the use of distinctive interpretative skills derived from the subject
  • competence in the planning and execution of essays
  • a capacity for independent thought and judgment, and ability to assess the critical ideas of others
  • skills in critical reasoning
  • an ability to handle information and argument in a critical manner
  • information-technology skills such as word-processing and electronic data access information
  • organization and time-management skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Seminars will encourage peer-group discussion and a collective, interactive responsiveness to the texts under discussion. They will also enable students to think critically and to read fiction and non-fiction with a close attention to the formal and aesthetic dimensions of literary writing.
  • Seminars will encourage effective oral communication skills.
  • The consultation session with the seminar leader prior to the first essay will facilitate an informed exploration of specific interests, ideas and arguments, enabling students to develop their subject-specific knowledge.
  • Coursework: assessed essays will allow an opportunity for detailed, independent study and reflection, demonstrating an awareness of the ongoing critical commentary surrounding the texts under consideration thereby enriching their subject-specific knowledge.
  • Written feedback provided after the first assessed essay will allow students to reflect upon the comments of examiners, stimulating reflection on how to improve the rhetorical persuasiveness and subject-specific knowledge exhibited in their second essay.
  • Typically, directed learning may include assigning students an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 2 hours 20
Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
Essay Consultation 1 Epiphany Term 15 minutes 0.25
Preparation and Reading 169.75
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assessed Essay 1 3,000 words 50%
Assessed Essay 2 3,000 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

Before the first essay, students will have an individual consultation session in which they are entitled to show their seminar leader a list of points relevant to the essay and receive oral comment on these points. Students may also, if they wish, discuss their ideas for the second essay at this meeting.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University