This module considers both the idea of ‘working-class writing’ and the representation of the working classes in cultural forms. Structured chronologically and moving from the work of Robert Tressell and D.H. Lawrence through to the literature of the 1984 Miners’ Strike, the module introduces a variety of twentieth-century working-class writings including novels, short stories, essays, poetry and autobiography. Broadening our understanding of the literary and cultural history of the twentieth century, we consider the impact of unemployment, economic depression, im/migration, and changes in patterns of consumption and leisure on the production and reception of working-class writing. Aims: The module will enhance students’ awareness of the role of class in literature and cultural production, and of the various ways in which class is intersected by other categories of identity including race, place, nation and gender. It aims to inform students of the rich and varied history of working-class writing in Britain and will enhance their critical understanding of twentieth-century literature, cultural history and literary movements. It will equip students’ with the critical and historical framework to understand social and media debates about class and its representations today in Britain, including the discourses of im/migration and poverty.

Term(s) offered: Spring term module; 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Credit: 3.0
General Education: III A