English Literature MA

Visions of London ENGLIT4124

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • 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
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, London grew to be the largest and most modern city in Europe, but as parts of it rose in splendour, other parts declined into poverty, ruin and despair. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, London has been a conflicted city - crossroads, financial centre, bombed martyr, fertile pleasure ground and hungry maw. This course will explore the ways in which a range of diverse writers and artists have chosen to represent London and its changing circumstances, looking at a wide variety of genres and forms including biography, poetry, song, the essay, visual art, film, the realist novel and speculative fiction.


1 x 90min seminar per week over 10 teaching weeks as scheduled on MyCampus,

1 x 1hr lecture, 4 x 1hr workshops, as scheduled on MyCampus.


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 (2000 words): 35%

Essay (3000 words): 50%

Seminar 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:

■ consider the ways in which different genres of writing and art provide and mandate different means for representing London

■ trace historical patterns and trends in the life of the city and in attitudes towards it

■ think about how the city has served as a resource and an obstacle for writers and artists

■ discuss the social, ideological and aesthetic implications of representing the city in particular ways, drawing on approaches from the fields of genre theory and urban studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ explain the roles played by the properties of different forms and genres in shaping representations of the city.

■ discuss the ways in which artistic conceptions of London have developed and changed over the course of the city's modern history

■ critically analyse how writers and artists have used London in their plots, characterisations and self-fashioning

■ explore the techniques that writers and artists have developed in seeking to come to terms with London's scale

■ engage actively with an evolving body of theoretical work on the changing nature of urban experience.

■ 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.