We are committed to a cosmopolitan and multicultural syllabus. As part of this commitment, all our single-subject students take one module in a foreign literature, studied at least partly in the original language. Modules are normally available in modern Arabic, Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon and Latin, as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish literature. A detailed description of the available foreign literature pathways and modules is sent to new entrants in August. If you’re a combined course student, you don’t have to take a foreign literature pathway, though you will be welcome to do so.
We offer two distinct pathways, leading either to a Literature and Language module (in the second year) or to a Foreign Literature module (in the second and third year). You can choose your pathway based on a combination of your own interests and your prior language learning, either improving your skills in a language you already know or learning a new one. Each pathway offers formal teaching in both language and literature in the second year of study, and the Foreign Literature module extends into the third year. Why study foreign literature?
Investigating foreign literature will offer you a different sense of the contexts in which English literature has been produced and studied. Although foreign literatures can (and, on occasion, will) be fruitfully studied in translation, there is no substitute for engaging with a text in its original language. You’ll gain a richer understanding of the text and a particular awareness of the politics of translation, and your understanding of grammar, and developing alertness to vocabulary and ambiguity, will be essential critical skills that will inform your study of English as well.
Employers look positively on the language skills our students have added to their CVs, and external examiners have praised their cosmopolitan and sophisticated literary sensibilities. The training provided by the department was fantastic and it really is a major feat being able to read foreign literature in its original language. Steve, English.