Fiction, poetry and drama across cultures,  languages, territories and histories

Module details

  • Offered to 1st years
  • Tuesdays 16.00-18.00
  • 8 weeks (autumn or spring term)
  • Non-credit only
How to enrol

This module introduces you to short works of fiction and poetry from six continents: Africa, North and South America, Asia (South Asia and China), Australia/Oceania, and Europe. The course explores the ways in which we experience the literature of our time. Fiction, poetry and drama from a variety of different cultures are studied as we chart the intertextual connections of texts across languages, territories and histories. We will consider how texts circulate in print, in electronic forms and through audiovisual adaptations and develop a broad awareness of how contemporary literature moves across cultural and linguistic boundaries.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

daisies on book

By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic familiarity with specific themes and debates related to the study of ‘world literature’.
  • Interpret a range of texts within their cultural, intercultural and historical contexts.
  • Integrate cross cultural themes and literary techniques related to specific texts, through private study.
  • Engage with different critical approaches to specific texts, demonstrated through class discussion.
  • Present individual and group work to your peers and respond to constructive feedback from facilitator and other learners
  • Acquire a broad understanding of research methods, demonstrated by writing a world literature analytical essay.

Indicative core content

book on lap

This module will provide insights in to current world literature and cultures in English and cover five key areas:

  1. Foundations of London – looking at the structures of the UK, Britain, Empire and its legacies, as well as resistance to dominant narratives through music, visual and performing arts, novels and poetry.
  2. Ways of mediating love, loss and desire across cultural and linguistic boundaries.
  3. Literature in translation – how prizes and the cultures of prestige have influenced what is translated, published, sold and read globally.
  4. Afro-sci-fi – looking at futuristic, magic realist and alternative realities, often rooted in ancient practices and ways of seeing the world.
  5. Short stories, short of time – an introduction to how narrative can interlink short stories creating a novel like structure that also works for the time-poor.


  • Class presentation (20%)
  • Essay (80%)

Key information

  • ECTS value: 0
  • Requirements: You must be prepared to attend all classes and to spend about an hour a week preparing for each session
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 4 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]