LIT270 : Literature and Nonsense

Convener(s): Dr Anna Barton


General Information

This module aims to introduce students to literary nonsense published between the eighteenth century and the present day. Challenging the common conception that nonsense literature is a Victorian phenomenon that begins and ends with Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, it will trace both the forebears and the heirs of these two fathers of nonsense in order to propose nonsense as a kind of writing that presents radical formal, philosophical and ideological challenges to literary and critical practice.


Teaching takes the form of a 1-hour seminar, twice a week, over eleven weeks. The seminars will be discussion led, and are used to introduce the aims and produce the outcomes of the course in detail. The remaining hours per week of study for this module are to be divided between seminar preparation (directed reading), small group work, individual research, and preparation for assessments.


Close Reading (30%) A 1500-word close reading of a poem or short extract from a nonsense text.
Online Anthology (70%) You will compile and edit an online anthology that will include a short selection of texts and extracts (including those not studied on the module) and write a 3000-word introductory essay to their selection that justifies and explores the connections between the different texts included.

Contact Details

Dr Anna Barton

Information last changed: Thursday 07th of April 2016 :: 01:16:22 PM (BST)

Please note: This module may or may not run in any individual session. Please check with the course convener.


The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK