Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module ENGL44330: T S Eliot

Department: English Studies

ENGL44330: T S Eliot

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap 20


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module aims to examine in depth a range of poetry and prose criticism by the acclaimed Nobel Prize winning author, T. S. Eliot. The module seeks to gain an enhanced understanding of the radical modernist avant-garde techniques that were employed by Eliot, including close attention to the allusions that are a marked feature of his poetry. The module will challenge students to reflect critically upon the cultural, social and political contexts relevant to Eliot’s controversial contemporary and his later academic reception history, while encouraging and supporting students to develop their analytical, interpretative and critical skills to an advanced level.


  • Selections of poems will be taken from across Eliot’s career, from the groundbreaking radical modernism contained in his first volume Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), to the harsh (and controversial) satirical quatrains that appear in Poems (1920), to the masterpieces of The Waste Land (1922) and Four Quartets (1943). These major poems will be supplemented by additional poems taken from the new fully annotated edition of The Poems of T. S. Eliot (2015), edited by Sir Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue. We will also be examining a selection of Eliot’s key literary-critical essays taken from the new fully annotated editions of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot (the module leader is an integral member of the editorial team for these new scholarly editions), and these selections will be supplemented by extracts from Eliot’s late (and, once again, highly controversial) social and cultural criticism.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will possess:
  • A sophisticated awareness of the rhetorical techniques employed by Eliot’s poetry.
  • A knowledge of the reception and critical debates surrounding Eliot’s poetry and prose.
  • An appreciation of the political and social contexts in which Eliot intervened in contemporary public debate.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • Advanced critical skills in the close reading and analysis of literary and historical texts;
  • An ability to offer advanced analysis of formal and aesthetic dimensions of literature;
  • An ability to articulate and substantiate at a high level an imaginative response to literature;
  • An ability to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the cultural, intellectual, socio-political contexts of literature;
  • An ability to articulate an advanced knowledge and understanding of conceptual or theoretical literary material;
  • An advanced command of a broad range of vocabulary and critical literary terminology.
Key Skills:
  • Students studying this module will develop:
  • an advanced ability to analyze critically;
  • an advanced ability to acquire complex information of diverse kinds in structured and systematic ways;
  • an advanced ability to interpret complex information of diverse kinds through the distinctive skills derived from the subject;
  • expertise in conventions of scholarly presentation and bibliographical skills;
  • an independence of thought and judgement, and ability to assess acutely the critical ideas of others;
  • sophisticated skills in critical reasoning;
  • an advanced ability to handle information and argument critically;
  • a competence in information-technology skills such as word-processing and electronic data access;
  • professional organization and time-management skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students are encouraged to develop advanced conceptual abilities and analytical skills as well as the ability to communicate an advanced knowledge and conceptual understanding within seminars; the capacity for advanced independent study is demonstrated through the completion of two assessed pieces of work.
  • Typically, directed learning may include assigning student(s) an issue, theme or topic that can be independently or collectively explored within a framework and/or with additional materials provided by the tutor. This may function as preparatory work for presenting their ideas or findings (sometimes electronically) to their peers and tutor in the context of a seminar.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 9 Fortnightly in the Michaelmas and Epiphany terms 2 hours 18
Independent student research supervised by the Module Convenor 10
Preparation and Reading 272
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 3000 words 40%
Essay 2 3000 words 60%

Formative Assessment:

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University