English Literature MA

US Fictions of the Great Depression ENGLIT4111

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course considers a wide range of American fiction written during the years of the country's Great Depression. Texts and topics normally include: the Hollywood novel, the writer in Hollywood, proletarian fiction, literary representations of the Great Depression, Gone with the Wind, American Gothic, Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, radical women, hardboiled fiction and crime fiction.


1 x 2hr seminar per week over eight weeks, as scheduled on MyCampus.

1 x 4hr mini-conference


This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses



Essay (1500 words): 25%

Essay (3000 words): 50%

Seminar and workshop contribution: 10%

Conference presentation of 7 minutes: 15%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ examine a range of US fiction written during the years of America's Great Depression

■ critically engage with and appreciate the value of work outside standard surveys of the 1930s

■ understand the shifting social, political, cultural and critical contexts of the years of the Great Depression

■ develop skills and confidence in presenting ideas in a public space. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ apply a critical knowledge of a range of work by American fiction writers produced during the years of the Great Depression

■ apply skills in independent critical thought with reference both to a range of primary and diverse secondary/critical sources

■ analyse texts in the light of the shifting social, political, cultural and critical contexts of the 1930s

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

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.