ENGL10001 & ENGL10002 reviewed

ENGL10001 and ENGL10002 was reviewed by Cindy Zhou. She is currently a second year Biomedicine student.


These two subjects form the introductory foundations for English and Theatre studies, and are breadth options open to all courses. A quick differentiation between the two subjects to begin with…

ENGL10002: Literature and Performance

This subject compresses the expansive period between 1590 – 1904 into twelve fast-paced but exciting weeks. The subject moves from Shakespearean tragedy, to the Romantic lyric, to 19th century realism. Just as an aside, capped in the set list of texts are four plays, so I suggest that if they’re being performed in the year you take them, go see them! In 2013, the MTC’s Cherry Orchard was superb, and Romeo and Juliet in the Botanic Gardens is sweet.

This is a level one subject held during semester one. There are two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour tutorial per week. It is coordinated by Dr Katherine Firth. Lectures are held at the Wright Theatre in the Medical building and Elisabeth Murdoch.

Handbook link: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/m22n

The texts:

  • Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
  • Othello, William Shakespeare
  • Romantic poetry (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Keats and more of their ilk)
  • Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  • A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen
  • The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov

ENGL10001: Modern and Contemporary Literature

This subject traverses the controversies and contexts of 20th century literature: modernity, the theatre of the absurd and Ezra Pound’s battle cry “Make it new!” I actually really loved this subject, and found the texts more manageable than the Literature and Performance partly because of the superficial reason that the texts were so much slimmer. And, modernist literature is spunky.

This is also a level one subject but held during semester two. Two 1-hour lectures, one 1-hour tutorial per week. Coordinated by Dr David McInnis and Dr Grace Moore. Lectures are held at the J H Michell theatre and Elisabeth Murdoch.

Handbook link: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/t22n

And the texts are:

  • Dubliners, James Joyce
  • To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  • The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot
  • First World War poetry
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • Ariel, Sylvia Plath
  • Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett
  • The Season at Sarsaparilla, Patrick White
  • The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
  • after the quake, Haruki Murakami


1) A text-based ‘close reading’ analysis of 800 words worth 20% due early semester. This task is the most similar one to what you’re used to in VCE English or Literature. You are required to write a critical commentary on a short passage from one of two texts (either of the Shakespearean plays for ENGL10002, or a choice between Joyce or Woolf for ENGL10001).

2) A research essay of 1200 words worth 30% due mid-semester. Week six is solely focused on the instruction of how to create an effective research essay, and the most efficient method to get there. Pay attention during Kath Firth’s lectures, because her technique will save you a lot of time! The Baillieu is your best friend – get in early before all the good references are nabbed. You can also access electronic newspapers, journals and online media related magazines through Discovery online. Use the course bibliography provided on the LMS to direct your references treasure hunt.

3) A comparative essay of 2000 words worth 50% due in the examination period. Remember that you can only write on a particular text once in the semester. So, pick and plan wisely. You will have a choice of about a dozen general prompts, in which you will discuss through the lens of two texts of your choice.

NB: if you’re like me and initially unfamiliar with the University protocol for essays, make sure you use the citation guide and the essay writing guide so that your essays are all nice and pretty.

What I love about these assessments is that everyone comes up with starkly different responses; the topics are so general that you are granted a lot of agency to write something unique.

Hand the essays in at the School of Culture and Communication office (second floor of John Medley West – not East…) You may be required to submit a copy online.

Subject reader: the hardcopy is sold at the University co-op and handy for those who prefer physical notes, rather than the electronic reader on the LMS. I would read this on the train, holding it at weird angles against the window panes because it’s printed with multiple pages per sheet at times. But each to their own.

Attendance: the hurdle is 75%, so just make sure you don’t miss more than three tutes, and you’ll be fine!

All lectures have audio recordings (no screen capture unfortunately), and accompanying powerpoint slides are also posted up, but not simultaneously. This usually happens in the days following the lecture, and can vary in punctuality depending on the lecturer.

If you’re short on time, or bogged down with other subjects, it’s not a big deal if you miss one of the texts. You technically (!) only need to write on four texts, formally, over the semester. Pick and choose to suit your strengths. Of course, doing the pre-reading (primary and secondary materials), going to lectures and tutes, will enhance your experience in this subject. But, you can wing it if need be.

Phwaoh… so much READING!

Yes, it seems daunting to do a new text per week, but if you’ve read some of the texts beforehand, this can alleviate the workload. And anyways, reading is awesome! Lecturers constantly insisted that these subjects were aimed to give students an appreciation of the brevity and beauty of English Literature, rather than give a list of formulaic to-dos. These are challenging subjects, but I enjoyed them so much more than any of my other subjects in first year because they were interesting.

Tutors facilitate the transition between high school and University level analysis, so don’t worry if you feel nervous. The lecturers who run this subject are, quite frankly, fantastic. There’s an atmosphere of respect between all of the lecturing staff, and the changes between lecturers per text keep the subject dynamic and varied. The lecturers know their stuff, so seek help from them when you need it (they actually help/care, and actually get to know your name for once!)


If you like the smell of books, take one or both of these subjects.


Thanks for the review, Cindy!

Would you like to review a subject? More than happy to accept submissions. Send me an email – dhng@student.unimelb.edu.au

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