British Literature and Culture

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This survey course is an introduction to British literature and culture from a historical perspective. The assigned works are interpreted in relation to key socio-cultural and political contexts, and the course also introduces approaches to textual analysis in the main literary genres of prose, poetry, and drama. The ability to look for formal and thematic features is practiced and developed, and through analyses of a range of literary works students will gain an understanding of the most important periods and main developments in British literature and culture.

Students are expected to develop their critical, analytic, linguistic and problem-solving skills, including their ability to independently and critically evaluate the syllabus texts. Through written assignments and participation in seminars, students also enhance their written and oral skills in academic English.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student has the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


After completing the course the student will:

- possess a basic understanding of the development of British literature and culture in a historical context

- understand and use critical vocabulary related to the discipline, and demonstrate both orally and in writing an understanding of the basic conceptual and theoretical methods used when analysing literary texts;

- grasp the differences between the various forms of literary work, such as drama, poetry and prose, and various genres within these forms as covered in the course;

- show an understanding of the relationship between literary texts and the larger social, political and historical frameworks within which they are constructed and with which they interact


After completing the course the student will be able to:

- demonstrate the above knowledge through clearly expressed, accurately written and appropriately structured exam essays in academic English

- identify and describe the main aspects of poetic analysis, dramatic genres, and narrative techniques

- identify and describe the main periods and movements in British literary history

- understand the development of literary genres over time in the British context

- understand relationships between texts and historical-cultural contexts

- analyse texts with attention to genre using key literary terms

- read across literary periods and themes

- demonstrate an understanding of how literary texts can be analysed using different approaches and methodological frameworks

- critically engage with the concepts and methods of the discipline

General competence

After completing the course the student will:

- be familiar with basic analytical tools and techniques of the discipline

- think and argue analytically, critically, and independently about topics within the discipline

- be able to respond independently and creatively to a range of literary works in appropriate academic oral and written English

- describe, explain and analyse specialised topics in British literature

- discuss and assess the significance of historical and cultural contexts to the interpretation of language and texts

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
None; see Recommended previous knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge

It is strongly advised that students, in addition to fulfilling the general admission requirements, also have good grades in specialized English courses from Upper Secondary School.

For students with a background other than the Norwegian school system, a level of competence in English corresponding to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is recommended.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Due to overlapping courses one cannot get credit for ENG125 combined with ENG123/ENG124.
Access to the Course

The course is open to all students admitted to the University of Bergen.

For exchange students: Applicants have to document English language proficiency to access the course. Students should hold a level of C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). For valid tests, please see

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars: up to 72 hours.

Students are expected to be actively present in class. This expectation is also the basis for the preparation towards the exam.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Seminar attendance is obligatory. Students must attend at least 80 % of the seminars in order to sit for the exam.

In order to sit the exam, students are also required to complete and to pass the following obligatory assignments:

Each student will need to submit six short writing assignments. These assignments are intended to focus and structure students' seminar preparation. All compulsory activities must be completed in the same semester.

Compulsory attendance and assignments are valid for two semesters after the teaching semester.

Forms of Assessment

The course exam is a seven-day take-home exam. The exam is between 2500 and 2800 words, and should be handed in electronically.

Students who do not complete their obligatory attendance (described above) lose the right to take the exam in the course.

Grading Scale
The grading scale is A-F, where F is a fail.
Assessment Semester

Spring semester. An exam in ENG125 is offered once a year, in the teaching semester.

A re-take exam for students with valid absence from the regular exam is arranged in the beginning of the autumn semester.

Reading List

The course includes a selection of representative texts, authors and movements in British literature (poetry, prose and drama). The texts are viewed in light of problems of basic literary theory as well as social, political and cultural perspectives, which are also covered by the relevant curriculum.

The reading list will be available by 1 December for the Spring Semester.

Course Evaluation
The teaching is evaluated according to the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.
Examination Support Material
Not relevant.
Programme Committee
The Programme Board is responsible for the academic content and structure of the study programme, and for the quality of all the subjects therein.
Course Administrator
The Department of Foreign Languages at the Faculty of Humanities has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.