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ENGL12-106: World Literature September 2019 [Standard]

General information

Many famous stories might contend for the title of "the greatest story ever told". Certain stories in the Western tradition seem to get told time and time again, in a variety of formats. Many would argue that the Bible is probably the most influential literature in Western culture, with its plots, literary forms and characters still speaking to us some two and a half thousand years later. While biblical narratives in both narrative prose and poetic forms were an obvious source of material for ancient, medieval and modern writers in the West (largely for political and/or religious reasons), they have also been a source of literary inspiration for many nineteenth and twentieth century Western writers.


Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design
Subject code:ENGL12-106
Subject title:Great Narrative Literature
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:September 2019
Credit points:10

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Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Seminar: x12 (Total hours: 36) - No Description
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended Study Hours


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Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding and ability to express orally and in writing alternative points of view about literature and how we might interpret it.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to rigorously test ideas and arguments in ways that are of general application.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of some of the most influential historical positions on the understanding of biblical texts and their influences on contemporary literature.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to articulate clearly alternative positions on biblical narratives and their literary relevance, whether or not the student personally agrees with them.
  5. Demonstrate a capacity to express in writing interpretations and critiques of selected biblical and contemporary narratives.
  6. In general, demonstrate oral and written skills in constructing and critically analysing theoretical arguments concerning narrative literature.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
In-Class Quiz - Individual Weekly Quizzes: Multiple-choice questions on weekly content 30% Weekly 1, 3, 4.
Essay This essay is a critical analysis of a major work of literature, a novel of the students' choice. 2500 words. 45% Week 11 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Project Each week, one student runs the tutorial discussion. This involves addressing weekly set questions, a brief synopsis of the literature and a scholarly article. The student is assessed on the quality of the discussion generated and the content of the oral synopsis. 25% To Be Negotiated 1, 3, 4, 6.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

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Subject curriculum

1. Why is literature important? 2. What is narrative? 3. What is the Bible? 4. Weekly summaries 5. Assessment

1. What is myth? 2. Gen. 2-3: a myth of origins 3. Slavery and Exodus a. African Americans and the Bible 4. Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon

1. Myth, continued. 2. Cain and Abel 3. Jacob and Esau 4. Steinbeck's East of Eden: a contemporary Cain and Abel story

1. What is Legend 2. The ancient context: what was life like for women in ancient Israel? 3. Sarah and Hagar: wife and concubine (?) 4. Leah and Rachel: sisters, wives, one loved more than the other 5. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

1. Feminist revisionism 2. Biblical women revised 3. Genesis 34: the rape(?) of Dinah 4. The Red Tent: a revisionist novel

1. The Book of Ecclesiastes 2. The main themes of Existentialism (especially the “absurd”) 3. Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, and 4. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot

1. We look at (the book of) Job, a character known as the righteous, yet suffering servant. 2. We examine Kafka’s strange tale of a man arrested for a crime which is never told to him. #. We encounter one of the most humane renderings of perhaps the most inhumane catastrophe, Primo Levi’s account of life in Auschwitz (If This is a Man). We shall ask if Job is an adequate figure for understanding the Holocaust.

1. The popular image of Mary Magdalene (MM) 2. The New Testament depiction 3. The Gnostic Gospels (MM and Philip) 4. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code

Consultation with lecturer and peers about essay topic, secondary sources, and the formulation of a thesis.

1. The New Testament 2. Who was Jesus (how much do we know?) 3. Superman: the American Monomyth 4. Gore Vidal's Messiah 5. Documentary: The End of the World Cult

1. Apocalyptic Literature: style and themes 2. The Book of Revelation 3. Toni Morrison's Beloved: unveiling the forgotten ones

Approved on: Jul 11, 2019. Edition: 1.4