Literature and the Political - 2016

This unit contains mature content including Adult Themes, Coarse Language, Drug use, Nudity, Sex / Sexual References and Violence and may not be suitable for some students.
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This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Essay 1 (20%) , Essay 2 (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

Writers have always addressed political issues: supporting or resisting revolution, analysing the sophistries of political language, interrogating ideas of power embedded in gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality. Literary language can make available subversive and powerful critiques of dominant political structures and hierarchies just as it can normalise inequality and stifle dissent. Poets and novelists participate in the dissemination of myths, stereotypes and narratives that privilege certain world views over others. Covering writing from the Renaissance to the present, this unit explores how political issues are constructed in literary texts and investigates the aesthetic forms writers use to reflect, produce and contain change.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. to develop the capacity to read and respond to a wide range of literary texts
  2. to develop analytical and research skills that can be applied to past and present cultural and literary debates
  3. to learn to communicate historical and theoretical concepts in verbal and written forms
  4. to develop a greater understanding of the way in which literary texts and literary language function to produce political critique
  5. to develop a greater understanding of the historical and often hierarchical deployment of concepts of gender, class and ethnicity
  6. to develop the ability to engage in informed critical discussion on unit content with peers and tutors, to respond to others' points of views, and to argue a critical position.
  • Essay 1 (20%)
  • Essay 2 (30%)
  • Non-Invigilated Exam — End-of-unit quiz (40%)
  • Participation — Discussion/quizzes (10%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Broadband access — Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction to the politics of the literary
2Elizabeth Barrett Browning and the Poetry of Dissent
3Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Object of Desire
4Mary Shelley: Frankenstein, Monsters, and Politics
5Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four and Colonialism as Crime
6Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness: Apologetic Myth vs Cultural Critique
7Christos Tsiolkas, Loaded and the Politics of Identity
8Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra: Constructing the Orient
9Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe: Daniel Defoe and the Politics of the New
10Byron, The Island: Byron and the Ideologies of Romanticism
11Peter Carey, My Life as a Fake and Fraud as Truth
12Oscar Wilde, "The Portrait of Mr W.H." and the Erotic Quest of Scholarship

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Antony and Cleopatra Norton Critical Edition

    By:William Shakespeare & Ania Loo

    ISBN: 9780393930771


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Sign of Four The

    By:Doyle Arthur Conan

    ISBN: 9780241952962


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • My Life As A Fake

    By:Peter Carey

    ISBN: 9781740513692


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Frankenstein: Norton Critical Edition


    ISBN: 9780393927931


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Heart Of Darkness


    ISBN: 9780141441672


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Robinson Crusoe: Norton Critical Edition


    ISBN: 9780393964523


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Loaded (Vintage Classic)

    By:Christos Tsiolkas

    ISBN: 9780091831080


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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