Course overview

This five week course will discover the richness of British literature associated with the sea, the coastline and the towns and villages in which people live and visit. We will discuss: • the notion of Britain as a sceptred or septic isle. • the pleasure principle of the seaside. • coastal resorts as dystopias. • the strange allure of the sea from childhood. We will encounter writers and extracts from their works including: Graham Greene, Agatha Christie, Daphne Du Maurier, John Osborne, Bram Stoker, George Mackay-Brown, Virginia Woolf, Dylan Thomas, Philip Larkin and others. There is no requirement to buy texts for this course and the extracts will be supplied on Canvas.

Course description

When John Masefield wrote I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, he captured the very British fascination for the coast, its environs and the sea beyond. Our course will discover the excitement of childhood, the out of season quality of our resorts with their fading Victoriana, and the associations that the seaside discloses relating to class, identity and political beliefs.

We will see how writers’ responses to our coastline vacillate between celebration, desperation and memorialisation.

We will also discover how the seaside functions as the backdrop to widely differing forms of literature from the Gothic of Bram Stoker and Daphne Du Maurier, to the crime genres of Christie and the thrillers of Graham Greene. We will also have time to sample Dylan Thomas’ word extravaganzas recalling childhood at the seaside and Larkin’s more downbeat visions of lonely holidays. Importantly, we will also reflect the writings and meditations on the sea and seaside by those who live there and earn their livings from the seas.

The course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to this fascinating element of British writing in the last two hundred years.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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