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ENGL104 Exploring Literature

Unit rationale, description and aim

Reading, describing and interpreting literary texts and genres are each central to the work undertaken by professionals working in literary fields such as writing, publishing, teaching and research. In this unit you will learn to identify and explain how genre and form influence meaning in a range of literary texts including poems, shorts stories, novels and drama and use key formal and stylistic concepts and terms that identify and define a range of literary genres. Through the process of reading and responding to literary texts, students will also have opportunities to question and critically discuss different forms of books and writing both in classes and in assessment tasks. Additionally, students will learn basic research and writing skills to identify, access and properly incorporate scholarly material relevant to literary analysis. This unit aims to provide foundational knowledge and skills in reading, categorising and interpreting texts of different genres and supports the development of basic analytic methods critical to understanding and communicating about literary texts.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe key features of literary forms and genres (GA5, GA9) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form (GA9) 

LO3 - Locate, use and appropriately reference a variety of critical sources relevant to developing a coherent argument about writing and literature (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10) 

LO4 - Apply critical reading skills to enhance your understanding of literary form and genre (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO5 - Identify and reflect on debates within literary studies on form and genre (GA5, GA8). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:  

  • literary forms such as poems, short stories novels and drama 
  • literary genres and the idea of classification 
  • tools and terms used in literary analysis 
  • approaches and debates in literary analysis 
  • literary research and definitions of ‘literature’  
  • post-colonialism, race, diaspora, indigeneity, nationalism and multiculturalism, as influences upon categories such as ‘literature’ and ‘literary debates’ and on the development of literary genres.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will use class exercises, discussions and formal assignments to encourage a questioning approach to literature. In the combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials students will have the opportunity to explore literary forms and genres through in-class exercises, group work and discussions. Students will investigate literary terms, the various genres of literature and strategies for developing insightful interpretations. By establishing definitions for literary terms and approaches and then questioning these definitions, students will come to understand that critical questioning is a crucial part of the discipline. Finally, the unit will emphasise clear writing and research skills as key skills in developing well-argued and evidence-based analyses. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.  

Assessment task one will be timed no later than mid-semester and will be a low risk, relatively lightly weighted reading-related task/s to assess student achievement of LO1 and is designed to be both diagnostic (since this is an introductory unit) and primarily formative. The second task requires students to demonstrate their ability to synthesise scholarly arguments with their own ideas to make insightful conclusions about a selection of texts. The final task is summative and requires students to build on skills developed in assessments one and two to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the textual and theoretical knowledge they have acquired in this unit by interpreting texts in terms of form and genre. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Short answer /Quiz Task  

This task requires students to demonstrate knowledge of literary terms and their application. 



GA5, GA9 

Research Essay 

This task requires students to apply basic terms of literary analysis while also using scholarly research material to support a structured and coherent argument. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Summative Task/Exam 

This exercise tests knowledge of literary terms and approaches. It requires an ability to analyse forms and genres. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Baldick, Chris. The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. 4th ed. Oxford University Press, 2015. 

Bennett, Andrew, and Nicholas Royle. An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. 4th ed. Routledge, 2014. 

Bennett, Andrew, and Nicholas Royle. This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. Routledge, 2015. 

Dobie, Ann B. Theory into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism. 3rd ed. Wadsworth, 2012. 

Eaglestone, Robert. Doing English: A Guide for Literature Students. 4th ed. Routledge, 2017. 

Eaglestone, Robert. Literature: Why It Matters. Polity, 2019. 

Eagleton, Terry. How to Read Literature. Yale University Press, 2013. 

Goulimari, Pelagia. Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to Postcolonialism.  Routledge, 2014. 

Jack, Belinda. Reading: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2019. 

Lynn, Steven. Texts and Contexts: Writing About Literature With Critical Theory. 7th ed. Pearson, 2016. 

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