Literatures of Love, Loss and Desire

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Module overview

Themes of love and sexuality, desire and devotion, exile, displacement and separation, spiritual journeys, self-knowledge, and quests for immortality have informed the discourse of poets and writers of every generation, in every culture and tradition.  From the ancient heroic and romantic epics, through to the didactic poetry and Belles-lettres and mirrors for princes in the medieval period, to the modern era and poets of Instagram, these authors have entertained, sustained and brought solace to audiences and readers through the aural, visual and textual reception of their works.

This module will examine a range of genres and forms, and aims to provide students with an insight into motif and interpretation of love and loss by looking at specific selection of texts in English translation (in poetry and prose) by different authors from across the regions of Africa, the Middle East, South and South East Asia, from the ancient times to the present day, and aims to interconnect the storytelling traditions of Africa, Middle East, South & South East Asia. The selected material will underscore the interaction between literary traditions, and challenge perceptions of these literary cultures.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Critically interrogate a variety of texts or oral discourses, from different periods and regions, on love- divine and profane, human loss and mourning, and quest for spiritual and self-knowledge.
  • Interpret a range of texts and oral literature within their cultural, intercultural, and historical contexts.
  • Engage with different critical approaches to the close readings of specific texts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of comparative literary approaches and engage with key debates in relation to the study of literature of Africa and Asia
  • Demonstrate skills in oral and written presentation of research, critical thinking, and evaluation of literary material.


  • Total Taught Hours: 20. Two hours of lectures for 10 weeks
  • Independent Study Hours: 130
  • Total Hours for Module: 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus comprises of:

  1. an introduction to literary forms, intertextuality and use of allegory,
  2. love and devotion,
  3. exile and separation,
  4. loss, and quest for immortality.

The weekly lectures will be anchored by discussion of concepts, and selected texts in English translation, complemented by audio-visual material.

Method of assessment

  • Essay (2000 words) 50%
  • Oral, poster or digital presentation, or narrated PowerPoint or video podcast (15 minutes) 40%
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules