Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The city in literature ADED11620E

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: Short Courses
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course invites students to take a tour of the world's major cities via an eclectic selection of novels, short stories and poems - from Edwin Morgan's Glasgow, to Robert Louis Stevenson's London and Charles Baudelaire's Paris, before heading across the pond to Paul Auster's New York, and beyond - to Africa, India and Australia. We will analyse and discuss different psychological and philosophical concepts of the city, the characters that inhabit its buildings and streets, and the principal themes that arise in literary texts, such as opportunity, anonymity and conflict. How does the representation of the city in literature compare to our own experience of urban living?


Block 2

2 hours per week for 10 weeks

Mondays, 19.00 to 21.00

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





One essay of 1500 words (75%) plus one set exercise of 500 words (25%).

Essay: A comparative essay with particular emphasis on characterisation and theme.

Set exercise: A worksheet to be completed at home which would involve an analysis of one featured text.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

Provide students with the opportunity to read a wide variety of literary texts set in urban environments

Compare and contrast different depictions of city life between texts and across genres

Offer insights into the key characters of the literary city, such as Baudelaire's flâneur

 Encourage students to compare and contrast their own experiences of urban life with those depicted in literary texts

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify key themes in global literary representations of the city

■ Comment in detail on the different types of cities and figures, as depicted in the course texts

■ Evaluate the styles and techniques used by authors to bring their cities to life

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.