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ENGL121 English Literature: The Remix

Books are made out of other books; well-known English literary works are placed alongside historic and contemporary works that respond to them.

ENGL 121 presents major works of literature in English from medieval to recent times, focusing on transformations of one text by another. Other critical approaches will also be introduced. Chaucer, a variety of sonnet writers, Shakespeare and Austen form high points from the canonical tradition of English literature; Asta Nielsen creates a gender-bending Hamlet; Gurinder Chadha brings Bollywood to her recreation of Pride and Prejudice; and Kazuo Ishigura updates the Frankenstein myth for our biotechnological age.

Paper title English Literature: The Remix
Paper code ENGL121
Subject English
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff

Convenor: Ms Nicola Cummins
Lecturers: Ms Nicola Cummins
Simone Celine Marshall
Associate Professor Thomas McLean
Associate Professor Shef Rogers
Dr Michael Cop
Dr Josie Carter

Paper Structure
The paper considers literature as a conversation between the ages. We examine canonical texts in relation to their adaptation by other authors.
Teaching Arrangements

Two 1-hour lectures per week.

A 1-hour tutorial in selected weeks.


  • Chaucer assignment (10%)
  • BARDS Shakespeare assignment (5%)
  • Sonnet test (10%)
  • Essay (15%)
  • Final Examination (60%)
  • Hale, J.K. Sonnets of Four Centuries (available from the Print Shop).
  • Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go (any edition).
  • Shakespeare, William. Hamlet (Signet or Folger).
  • Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (Oxford World's Classics).
  • Asta Nielsen's Hamlet (1921 film) dir. Svend Gade and Heinz Schall.
  • Bride and Prejudice (2004 film) dir. Gurinder Chadha.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:


  • Describe origins, history and development of sonnet form to the 20th century
  • Identify sonnet form
  • Demonstrate relationship between form and thought in a sonnet
  • Identify imagery and infer relationships between imagery and sonnet form and thought
  • Define and identify basic metres of English verse in a sonnet


  • Develop the ability to read fluently and understand the language of a passage written in Middle English
  • Describe and critique the means by which character can be represented
  • Appreciate aspects of the social, religious, political, artistic and intellectual life of the medieval period


  • Practise close reading
  • Formulate tactics for dealing with earlier forms of the language
  • Assess representation of characters and themes
  • Conceptualise Early Modern theatre practice, focusing on embedded stage directions


  • Relate the history of the novel form
  • Explain the marriage plot and variations
  • Distinguish forms of irony: verbal, structural, dramatic
  • Analyse narrative method: point of view, authorial voice, dialogue, narrative voice, coloured narrative, free indirect style


  • Recall history of the Frankenstein myth
  • Evaluate author's use of expository techniques
  • Identify and critique intertextuality
  • Identify and critique aspects of monster theory


  • Critique a model essay to determine the desirable qualities of critical essay: argument, content, expression, mechanics
  • Formulate a method for writing a critical essay


  • Distinguish some of the processes by which literary works are adapted
  • Create their own adaptations of selected literary works

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 16-22
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 10-14, 16, 18-19, 22
A2 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 10-14, 16, 18-19, 22
A3 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 10-14, 16, 18-19, 22
A4 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 10-14, 16, 18-19, 22