ENG-30073 - The Alcohol Question
Coordinator: Jonathon Shears Tel: +44 1782 7 33014
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective





Successful completion of one ENG module at either FHEQ Level 4 or FHEQ Level V

Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

Module Overview
From celebrations of friendship and sociability to cautionary tales of inebriety and debauchery, from the euphoria of intoxication to the misery of the hangover, from the public house to the home, the stage to the pulpit, literature and the arts have a long and ambivalent relationship with alcohol. This module will present students with some of the key representations of alcohol and drinking culture from the Renaissance to the present day. Students will examine the social and cultural function of different types of alcohol, look at the economic factors that have affected the consumption and licensing of drink, interrogate some of the common myths and discourses which surround alcohol, explore changing medical understanding of subjects such as alcoholism and addiction, and explore the associations that literature often makes between sexuality, class and alcohol. The module covers a comprehensive series of texts ranging from poetry to prose, film to the fine arts that each represent a different aspect of what has become known as The Alcohol Question.
Texts for Purchase
I have kept texts for purchase to a minimum and will provide much of the material via the KLE. There will be a screening in the Media Building for films/TV programmes. The only texts for purchase are:
- She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies, ed. Nigel Wood (Oxford World's Classics, 2008)
- Ernest Hemmingway, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises (Arrow Classics, 1994)
- Helen Fielding, Bridget Jone's Diary (Picador, 2014)
- A. L. Kennedy, Paradise (Vintage, 2015)
Outline of Content
1) Anacreontea: Drinking Songs; `The Tribe of Ben'; Shakespeare's Falstaff in 2Henry IV.
2) The Gin Craze: William Hogarth, Beer Street and Gin Lane (1751).
3) Pubs, Inns and Taverns: Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer (1773).
4) Temperance: Hannah Moore 'Parley the Porter' (1796); Charles Dickens, 'The Drunkard's Death' (1836).
5) Short Paper Workshop.
6) `The Lost Generation': Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (1926).
7) Binge Britain: Withnail and I, dir. Bruce Robinson (1986).
8) Lads and Ladettes: Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads: 'One for the Road' (1974): Men Behaving Badly: 'Stag Night' (1997): Helen Fielding, Bridget Jone's Diary (1996).
9) Alcoholism I: A. L. Kennedy, Paradise (2004)
10) Alcoholism II: A. L. Kennedy, Paradise (2004)
11) Your Round: Student Choice of Text.

Seminar Participation (20%): This will include a brief introduction to one of the week's texts.
Case Study (20%): 1,000-word Commentary OR a Creative Writing exercise. Students will use one historical document (e.g. medical/religious/political) addressing the consumption of alcohol to provide a commentary on one of the texts from the module OR students will write a drinking song or temperance tale.
Essay (60%): 3,000-word essay. Students will write an essay of 3,000 words choosing the topic from a list of set questions.

The module aims to enable students to identify and reflect upon some of the key discourses in the cultural representation of alcohol; critically to analyse some of the major social and economic debates surrounding the representation of alcohol in literature and film; to analyse and interrogate common myths surrounding drinking cultures; to demonstrate a critical understanding of changing attitudes to alcohol and addiction.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

reflect critically on a range of representations of alcohol and drinking cultures: 1,2
identify and engage critically with the historical contexts and discourses of a text's production: 1,2
carry out independent research, assimilate and synthesise research, and present this in oral and written form: 1,2
devise, develop and construct detailed arguments debating the aesthetic, social, economic and medical depiction of alcohol consumption: 1,2

Study hours

24 hours seminars; 12 hours lectures/workshops; 50 hours seminar preparation, 30 hours private study, 34 hours assessment preparation.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Case Study weighted 30%
1,200 word commentary
Students will EITHER use one historical document (medical/religious/political) addressing the consumption of alcohol to provide a commentary on one of the texts from the module OR produce a piece of creative writing on a module theme (e.g. write a drinking song or a temperance narrative)

2: Essay weighted 70%
3,500 word essay
Students will write an essay of 3,500 words choosing the topic from a list of set questions