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Introduction to Film and Literary Studies

Module titleIntroduction to Film and Literary Studies
Module codeINT0027
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Ben Jacob (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module introduces the skills needed to study literature and film. Using examples from the time of Shakespeare to modern Hollywood movies, you will consider how writers have used poetry, stories, plays, novels, and film to explore the rich variety of human experience. Combining elements of history, psychology, philosophy, and language you will uncover the different levels of ‘meaning’ in a range of selected texts. You will see language used in new ways and practice critical and analytical skills as you learn to study literature and film in terms of form, content, and cultural context. Some of the questions this course investigates may include:

o What is literary language and how is it used?
o What is literature’s relationship to the culture in which it is produced?
o Is ‘meaning’ created by the writer or the reader?
o How have film and literature developed over time?

This module typically features a range of study methods which include extensive self-study (research, reading and film viewing), seminars, and mini-lectures. Sessions may also involve visits to Exeter University’s literary archives and the Bill Douglas Centre cinema museum.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide you with a good foundation in the study of film ad literature in English. We do this by;

  • Providing an overview of the main types of English Literature (poetry, short stories, drama and novel) from a range of different historical periods. English-speaking cultures and writers. Using theses texts we look at how language is used to create imagery, metaphor, symbolism, ambiguity, themes, mood, character, and setting and how texts are influenced by their socio-historical context.
  • Considering some of the most influential film movements of the Twelfth Century among other aspects of film studies, we look at how film is an industry and an art and how directors and editors contribute to the creation of visual narratives.

Feedback will be provided throughout the course. All students are encouraged to think critically, reason logically, communicate clearly, and read, listen and watch carefully. These are valuable skills, not only in the study of film and literature, but throughout the academic environment.    

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Identify, interpret, and distinguish formal and stylistic aspects of literary and film texts
  • 2. Show an awareness of theoretical issues, including (for example) narration and genre
  • 3. Demonstrate an understanding of cultural and/or historical issues that arise from the study of literature and film in relation to its historical context

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Show an ability to use analytical tools and existing criticism as a framework to build for a personal interpretation/response to literature and/or film.
  • 5. Use appropriate discourses specific to the study of literature and film and show awareness of relevant issues in the wider context of cultural and/or intellectual history

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. With tutor support, take responsibility for your own learning and work independently
  • 7. Communicate effectively in a format using scholarly conventions appropriate to this discipline

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Typically, this module consists of three, interconnected strands:

  • Strand A – Literature in History– introduces students to the development of literary forms from the middle ages to the early twentieth century. It considers the relationship between art and selected poetic, literary, and dramatic texts and their socio-historical context. It also introduces the formal and stylistic elements, skills, and terminology required to give a close textual analysis.


  • Strand B – Directors and Spectators– introduces some of the formal and stylistic terminology required to ‘read’ films through macro (e.g., genre and stardom) and micro (e.g., camera angles and editing) methods. It briefly considers some influential movements in film since 1900 and discusses issues and debates around film adaptation. This strand may include a visit to the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture.


  • Strand C – Novels and Adaptions - combines aspects of the previous strands into the study of a novel and its film adaptions. This strand includes preparation sessions for the final written exam 


Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities40Weekly seminars focusing upon student-led discussion; short lecture-style sessions; group presentations; guided scene analysis of films, e-learning activities and online lectures.
Guided independent study160Individual and group preparation for scheduled sessions; extensive self-study reading and film-viewing for discussion and written assessment


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Various tasks in response to literary passages/film sequencesVarious1-7Group + written
Essay 900 words 1-7Group + written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation20Individual presentation (6 minutes) on specified topic/text1-7Written and oral
Essay401800 words1-7Written
Examination (online)4024 hour, open book1-7Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PresentationViva or re-presentation1-7Re-sit exam periods are indicated on the centre timetable. Students requiring a re-take will be given as much advance notice as possible.
ExaminationRe-sit Examination1-7Re-sit exam periods are indicated on the centre timetable. Students requiring a re-take will be given as much advance notice as possible.
EssayResubmission1-7Re-sit exam periods are indicated on the centre timetable. Students requiring a re-take will be given as much advance notice as possible.

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for reasons judged legitimate by the Mitigation Committee, the applicable assessment will normally be deferred. See ‘Details of reassessment’ for the form that assessment usually takes. When deferral occurs there is ordinarily no change to the overall weighting of that assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to take a re-sit exam. Only your performance in this exam will count towards your final module grade. A grade of 40% will be awarded if the examination is passed.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bordwell, D. & Thompson, K. 2010. Film Art: An Introduction, 9th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Additional material will be provided by the teaching centre for strands A and B of the course. For strand C you will be provided with a copy of the novel(s) to be studied.

A list of films will be provided by the module convener during the course. 

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources




ELE provides an integral part of this course; further reading and links to related material are available there.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Film, English, literature, adaptation, poetry, drama, fiction, short story, novel, Hollywood, film form, Britain, America, New Zealand, critical theory, film theory, film movements, authorship, narrative, genre, , production, reception, writing, reading, textual analysis, Romanticism, Blake, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hitchcock, Hughes, Luhrmann, Mansfield, Poe, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Wordsworth, French New Wave, Modernism

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date