Spanish MA

Bestsellers in the Pre-Industrial Age COMPLIT4034

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

Short Description

This honours course explores the bestsellers of the pre-industrial age, and how the consolidation of the printing press in Europe led to the first development of mass literature. Students are encouraged to think of books as objects as well as texts, and to identify those material elements (series, spin-offs, adaptations) that facilitated the popularity of texts in the past as they do today.


1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


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

Excluded Courses





Group-led Podcast within which each student will talk for 5 minutes (15% group mark, 15% individual mark) - 30%;

Report of group activities (500 words) - 10% (group mark);

Project (2500 words) - 60%.

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. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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 aims to:

■ introduce students to methodologies in the field of book history applied to the study of comparative literature;

■ encourage students to think of books critically as both objects and texts, and to understand the material features of the book as integral to its production and reception;

■ enhance students' ability to construct persuasive arguments grounded in a cultural, sociological and material context;

■ support and develop students' ability to work individually and in a group to produce cultural content;

■ encourage students to think critically of their different audiences, and to produce written and oral texts suitable for different contexts and publics.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ describe the material context of the production and consumption of pre-industrial bestsellers;

■ produce cogent and sustained arguments in both oral and written form on a variety of textual and material sources related to the course topic;

■ compare different genres of pre-industrial bestsellers and analyse them within the context of their readership and wider trans-medial uses;

■ produce material suitable for a general audience related to heritage materials and texts;

■ collaborate within a team for the design and realisation of a presentation drawing upon selected material.

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.