Introduction to Arabic Literature: Modern Trends

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

This is a language-use module that introduces students to the development and trends of modern Arabic literature. The selection of texts is informed by five major aims: to familiarize students with the main themes and styles of modern Arabic writing; to acquaint them with the major authors and works in divergent regions of Arab Middle East; to develop their cultural literarcy, and linguistic and critical skills; to situate the aesthetics, ethics and politics of modern Arabic literature in the dialogue between East and West; and to articulate orally and in writing the major critical issues relevant to modern Arabic literature.


The module is taught as a 2-hour lecture/seminar over ten weeks.

Scope and syllabus

Primary texts may vary from year to year, but a typical syllabus will consist modern poems, narratives, essays, short and long stories, and dramatic texts.

Apart from introducing students to basic literary concepts and practices and to essential critical and analytical tools, the course readings and discussions will be guided by the following major themes:

  1. The Poet, his role in society, and the development of Arabic poetry.
  2. The global context of modern Arabic literature, such as colonialism, Orientalism and European footprints in modern Arabic literature.
  3. Arabic literary and critical responses to global aesthetics, ethics and politics.
  4. Birth and transformations of Arabic literary genres.
  5. Politics in modern Arabic literature.
  6. Ethnicity, class and gender and the development of Arabic literature.

Method of assessment

  • 40% - Book Review (1000-word document or 7-10-minute virtual presentation).
  • 60% - Essay (1500 words) OR Virtual Presentation in English (10-15 minutes) OR Annotated Piece of Creative Writing in Arabic (1500 words).
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules