The Circle of Stories: Literature and Genre (CANCELLED)
An international summer school (7.5 ECTS, BA and MA-level) at the University of Copenhagen, 5 July to 18 July 2021 (exam deadline 21 July 2021 at 12:00 noon).
Teacher/Coordinator: Brian Russell Graham
Singing the praises of players visiting Elsinore, Polonius, in his verbose way, lists the genres in which the actors excel: “tragedy,/ comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,/ historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-/ comical-historical-pastoral” (Act II, Scene 2). It has been suggested that in this scene Shakespeare is lightly satirizing our critical thinking about literature in terms of genre, characterized, as it is, by a proliferation of generic categories. But as the Bard would have known all too well, genre provides with an indispensable means of access to literature.
On this course, we will go through a generic arrangement of literature which is comprehensive and therefore represents a complete tour of English literature. We will go through the various phases of the circle of stories, proceeding through gradations involving the subtle differences between romantic comedy and comic romance, tragic romance and romantic tragedy, etc. Focusing on characteristic texts of the different phases, we proceed through the area of romance, moving towards tragic romance, before studying the area of tragic literature itself. From there we proceed towards satire and irony, before, having passed through the phase of comic irony, we emerge in the domain of comedy proper. Such a progression takes us from one of Karen Blixen’s Gothic tales and excerpts from (a modern-English translation of) Beowulf, to Milton’s Adam and Eve before the Fall, from Romeo and Juliet and Milton’s depiction of expulsion from Eden, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, from Nella Larsen’s Quicksand to Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels, and from The Beggar’s Opera and J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, to some of Blixen’s other Gothic tales.
The course will conclude with a single session dedicated to the literary romance of the Romantic period, where the focus will be on William Blake’s epic poem Milton.
This is an English literature course, but, in connection with its setting in Copenhagen, it has some significant Danish features. Hamlet of course has as its setting Kronborg castle, which we will visit during the course. Less commonly-known, parts of Beowulf take place on the island of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located. In connection with this, we shall visit the beautiful village of Lejre, which may be the location for some of the story. Quicksand is partly set in the capital city in the 1920s – Larsen, the author, lived in Copenhagen for a time. And the main “tour” of literature which structures the course begins and ends with the (originally English-language) Gothic tales of Karen Blixen.
- First round: 1 April
- Second round: 1 June (after availability)
Applicants apply for the summer school course by submitting an electronic application form along with the following required documents:
- A copy of your passport
- Certified transcript of records in English, including courses in progress
- Degree certificates/diplomas (for graduates)
Access the application form: Application form for International Summer Programme -The Circle of Stories: Literature and Genre
- First round applications: 1 April
- Second round applications: 1 June (after availability)
Applicants who have passed a minimum of one year of bachelor-level studies are eligible to apply for admission.
The course, which comprises of both lectures and practical sessions, is intended for both Bachelor’s and Master’s students.
The course is open to Danish as well as international students. Good English skills are required.
The examination consists of a written assignment; 6-10 pages in which the student:
- Shows knowledge and understanding of a selected topic with an understanding of its importance in a broader academic context.
- Provide a reflected and independent analysis of major issues within a professional field.
- Disseminate a professional topic and discussion in a clear and well-documented manner in accordance with academic norms.
- Insert the chosen topic into a theoretical context.
- Critically relate to both text or source material and theory.
- Place the chosen topic in a relevant theoretical context and relate to the methods used in the field in question.
Upon successful completion of the summer school, participants will have obtained
Knowledge and understanding of
- an array of English-literature texts (primary texts)
- how English literature can be studies through genre and convention
- a theoretical account of genre (which is used throughout the course)
- how meaning can be discussed in relation to genre
- how some theories aim to provide comprehensive accounts of literature, aiming to convey a sense of the meaning of literature as whole
Skills and competences in
- close reading
- working with primary and secondary material
Deadline 21st July at 12.00 noon.
Unfortunately, the University of Copenhagen does not offer scholarships or tuition fee reductions.
Figures are estimates only.
Read more about tuition fees here.
Monthly rate approximately: DKK 4000-6000. Deposit: one month’s rent.
Living expenses: Approx. DKK 2500 for three weeks
For more information on living costs and costs of accommodation, please visit UCPH website for international students.
Summer school participants are responsible for finding and funding accommodation during their stay in Copenhagen. Students can use different online portals to search for accommodation, such as:
- UCPH Housing Foundation (acceptance letter from UCPH required)
- Housing Anywhere
- Hostel World
For additional information, please refer to: Housing for international summer school students.