LANG 3094 The Value of Literature

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102765

Coordinator Ben Etherington Opens in new window

Description This subject explores the value of literature by examining its competing uses in a range of historical contexts down to and including our own. Literature's potent combination of pleasure and instruction embraces conflicting personal, ethical, political, social, and ideological uses even as it resists them. The subject brings a comparative focus to bear on texts from diverse historical and cultural settings as a way of reflecting on and rediscovering the value of literature in the digital age. Students will also explore the function of criticism to educate the individual sensibility and shape the cultures of public life. Primary texts include poems, narrative fiction, essays, and may include drama, film, and other audiovisual material.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Literature

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) Any two of the following subjects -
COMM 1004 OR
COMM 1005 OR
LANG 1015 OR
LANG 1016 OR
LANG 2035

Equivalent Subjects LANG 3032 - English Literature After 1830


Students are required to have completed two of the three level 1 & 2 English core subjects.
Successful completion of 60 credit points in currently enrolled program.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of literature as a form of writing and as a way of reading;
  2. assess the value of literature across the range of its contested uses;
  3. critically evaluate ongoing debates around the literary canon and the public value of literature;
  4. evaluate literary texts and their interpretations as a means of cultural intervention as well as of cultural analysis;
  5. articulate the distinction between literature�fs context of production and its context of reception as related but separate frames of interpretation;
  6. identify the roles that literature and literary criticism have in cultivating the cognitive and affective potential for social and political change.

Subject Content

Content in this subject will include, but is not limited to, the following
1. debates about how literary texts have been used in order to effect, or resist, social, political, moral, economic, artistic and ethical change, and how language, form and genre are integral in comprehending the way texts pursue their ends;
2. debates about the degree to which literature is, or can be, an effective or viable medium of change;
3. consideration of the ways in which literature has been used as a vehicle for the understanding of self, society and other;
4. debates about literary value, including critical considerations of the canon and canonicity, literature?fs political capacities (or incapacities), and the role of literature in the digital era;
5. examination of literary texts for their uses in social, moral, and political discourse and for their ?euselessness?f or resistance to these uses.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 10 minutes each 10 N Individual
Participation In class 10 N Individual
Essay 1500 words 40 N Individual
Final Exam 2.5 hours 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)

Bankstown City


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Penrith (Kingswood)


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Parramatta - Victoria Rd


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