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ENGL242 New Zealand Literature: Connecting Worlds

A study of New Zealand literature, focusing on the kinds of historical and contemporary connections New Zealand has to other regions, histories and cultures.

Beginning from the premise that some of the familiar narratives about New Zealand (e.g. New Zealand as "a Better Britain", "clean, green New Zealand", etc.) brush over the complexity of New Zealand as a nation, this paper introduces students to less familiar ways of thinking about this country and its literature. Positioning New Zealand squarely as a postcolonial country - with all the intricacies and challenges this presents - the paper covers a broad cross-section of literary texts and considers what kind of story about New Zealand emerges from them. Recognising New Zealand's location in the South Pacific, the paper pays particular attention to the kinds of historical and contemporary connections New Zealand has to other regions, histories and cultures. With reference to some landmark texts by both Māori and Pākehā writers, we examine the significance of New Zealand's literary origins as a settler nation, and consider the contributions and challenges these texts make to the stories New Zealand tells itself - and others abroad - about itself.

Paper title New Zealand Literature: Connecting Worlds
Paper code ENGL242
Subject English
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (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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One 100-level ENGL paper (excluding ENGL 126) or 36 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music

Dr Simone Drichel (

Teaching staff

Convenor: Dr Simone Drichel
Other Lecturing Staff: Associate Professor Chris Prentice

Paper Structure

Assessment for this paper consists of a tutorial response paper (1000 words), a comparative essay (2000 words), and a final exam (2 hours).

Teaching Arrangements
Two 1-hour lectures per week
1-hour tutorials at pre-announced times (eight in total)
  • Katherine Mansfield (selected stories; available on eReserve)
  • NZ poetry (selected poems; available on eReserve)
  • Frank Sargeson (selected stories; available on eReserve)
  • Janet Frame, Owls Do Cry (Vintage)
  • Patricia Grace, Mutuwhenua: The Monn Sleeps (Penguin)
  • Brian Grace-Smith, Purapurawhetu (Huia)
  • Lloyd Jones, Mister Pip (Penguin)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Explore a selection of New Zealand literary texts in relation to their cultural contexts
  • Develop skills in various aspects of literary study, including tools and terms for critical and cultural analysis
  • Address aspects of essay writing and expression
  • Explore some of the important themes found in New Zealand writing

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system