English Literature study guide 2023/24

English Literature at Bristol

The Department of English at Bristol has a distinguished history in the field of literary studies and is consistently ranked as one of the top departments of English in the UK.

Our teaching and research depend on the wide range and depth of our expertise, with our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes covering literature from the early Middle Ages through to the contemporary world of global literatures in English and creative writing. We prepare our graduates to enter a wide variety of employment fields, including communications, media, publishing, editing, business consulting, management, public relations, teaching, heritage, archives, data management, and many other areas.

With world-leading research produced by renowned scholars, the department is an intellectually stimulating environment. As well as producing high-quality individual research, our staff contribute to many research centres and clusters across the university, including the Centre for Medieval Studies, Centre for Material Texts, Centre for Black Humanities, Centre for Environmental Humanities, the Bristol Poetry Institute, Romantic and Victorian Studies, Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, and the Brigstow Institute. We are an outward-looking department which looks for opportunities to engage with audiences in Bristol and beyond. As well as organising public lectures and events throughout the year, our staff work with institutions such as the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the National Archives, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Bristol Old Vic, and the Bristol Theatre Collection.

Unit structure

The department offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The department offers units across all undergraduate levels of study: year 1 (level C/4), year 2 (level I/5), and year 3 (level H/6) units. Postgraduate units are not available.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the Department of English begin with 'ENGL'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • ENGL10000 = year 1 unit
  • ENGL20000 = year 2 unit
  • ENGL30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on the Study Abroad (Subject pathway), you must take the majority of your credits in this department.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the Department of English are open to incoming Study Abroad students.

Year 1 (level C/4)

  • Approaches to Poetry (TB2) - ENGL10039
  • Critical Issues (TB1) - ENGL10017
  • Literature 1150-1550 (TB1) - ENGL10042
  • Literature 1550-1740 (TB2) - ENGL10043
  • Reading Identities (TB1) - ENGL10062
  • Representations: This is not my America (TB2) - HUMS10014
  • Texts in a Global Context (TB1) - ENGL10052
  • Transformations (TB1) - ENGL10046

Year 2 (level I/5)

This level is suitable for English Literature majors or students who have taken several classes in the subject beforehand. Please see the section 'unit combinations', at the end of this study guide, which provides guidance to those wishing to take more than one unit at this level.

  • African American Literature (TB1) - ENGL20111
  • American Literature 1945-present (TB1) - ENGL29007
  • Arthurian Literature (TB2) - ENGL20060
  • Black British Literature (TB2) - ENGL20041
  • Chaucer and Chaucerians (TB2) - ENGL20061
  • Dangerous Books (TB2) - ENGL20023
  • Drinking in the words: the pleasures and pains of alcohol in British fiction and culture (TB2) - ENGL20127
  • Gender, Desire and the Renaissance Stage (TB2) - ENGL20206
  • Large, Loose, Baggy Monsters: Victorian Fiction and Novel Form (TB2) - ENGL20128
  • Literature 1740-1900 (TB1) - ENGL20063
  • Literature 1900-present (TB2) - ENGL20064
  • Literature and Trauma, 1900-present (TB1) - ENGL20129
  • Old English Language and Literature (TB2) - ENGL20065
  • Paradise Lost: Inception and Reception (TB1) - ENGL29032
  • Poetry of the 1960s (TB1) - ENGL20032
  • Revenge Tragedy (TB1) - ENGL29008
  • Rudyard Kipling (TB1) - ENGL29004
  • Shakespeare (TB1) - ENGL20068
  • The Art of Grief (TB2) - ENGL20116
  • The Author as Character (TB2) - ENGL20048
  • The Fairy Tale in English (TB1) - ENGL20028. Non-English majors may instead be interested in Fairy Tales Across Borders (TB2) - MODL20029. This is a unit from the Cultural Studies guide.
  • The Short Story in Africa (TB2) - ENGL20127
  • Writing the City: London 1550-1740 (TB1) - ENGL20069
  • Writing the Working Classes (TB2) -ENGL20030

Year 3 (level H/6)

This level is suitable for English Literature majors at an advanced stage of their studies. Please see the section 'unit combinations', at the end of this study guide, which provides guidance to those wishing to take more than one unit at this level.

  • American Revolutions (TB1) - ENGL30108
  • Caribbean Literature (TB2) - ENGL30148
  • Charles Dickens (TB2) - ENGL39020
  • Hero or traitor? Outlaws in Literature (TB1) - ENGL30069
  • Homing Desires/Imaginary Homelands: Representing South Asia and its Diasporas (TB2) - ENGL30145
  • Illness Narratives (TB1) - ENGL30089
  • Literature, Enslavement, Liberation (TB2) - ENGL30142
  • Literatures of Decolonisation (TB1) - ENGL30147
  • Medievalism and the Modern Age (TB2) - ENGL30150
  • Novel Territories: Eighteenth-century Prose Fiction (TB1) - ENGL30115
  • Representing HIV/AIDS (TB1) - ENGL30141
  • Shakespearean Tragedy: Textual and Literary Criticism (TB1) - ENGL39027
  • The History of the Language of English Literature (TB2) - ENGL30123
  • The Spanish Civil War in British and American Writing (TB1) - ENGL30058
  • Victorian Fiction: Art and Ideas in the Marketplace (TB1) - ENGL30117
  • Victorian Materialities (TB2) - ENGL30079
  • Victorian Poetry: Belief, Doubt, Dissent (TB2) - ENGL30143
  • Writing for Art (TB2) - ENGL39019
  • Writing the Anthropocene 1945-present (TB2) - ENGL30124
  • Writing the Self: Literature and Autobiography (TB1) - ENGL30107

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Unit combinations

For students interested in taking more than 1 unit from Year 2 (level I/5), the Department recommends taking at least one of the following:

  • Arthurian Literature (TB2) - ENGL20060
  • Chaucer and Chaucerians (TB2) - ENGL20061
  • Literature 1740-1900 (TB1) - ENGL20063
  • Literature 1900-present (TB2) - ENGL20064
  • Old English Language and Literature (TB2) - ENGL20065
  • Shakespeare (TB1) - ENGL20068
  • Writing the City: London 1550-1740 (TB1) - ENGL20069

These units include full lecture programmes whilst other units are taught by seminar only.


For students intersted in taking more than 1 unit from Year 3 (level H/6), the Department recommends taking at least one of the following:

  • American Revolutions (TB1) - ENGL30108
  • Literature, Enslavement, Liberation (TB2) - ENGL30142
  • Literatures of Decolonisation (TB1) - ENGL30147
  • Novel Territories: Eighteenth-century Prose Fiction (TB1) - ENGL30115
  • Victorian Fiction: Art and Ideas in the Marketplace (TB1) - ENGL30117

These units include full lecture programmes whilst other units are taught by seminar only.

Application queries

Contact the Global Opportunities Team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207
Email: global-opportunities@bristol.ac.uk


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

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