Unity of Place

Ref: C3746944

The Aristotilian concept of 'unity of place' applied to tragic drama having only one principal physical location. This idea was adopted by Thomas Hardy for the structure of his tragic novels, but it is a useful general concept for literature which focuses predominately on one region, city or building. We'll study a Ben Jonson play about a young devil holidaying in London who finds it more wicked than Hell, and novels by Jane Austen ('Mansfield Park'), Hardy ('The Woodlanders'), Greene ('The Comedians'), Carr ('A Month in the Country') & Graham Swift ('Waterland'). Plus a range of relevant 'location' poems by Hardy, Betjeman, Causley & Hughes. Please read the texts before the discussions (dates for which will be placed on canvas). Good quality editions (such as Penguin or OUP) with critical introductions and footnotes are strongly recommended.

Course aim

To explore a selection of literature focused on a specific region, city, or country house giving unity and identity. Writers include Ben Jonson, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Carr, Ted Hughes, Charles Causley, Betjeman, Greene & Graham Swift.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • critically assess Ben Jonson's use of London in 'The Devil is an Ass'
  • explain why Jane Austen uses a location title in the story of Fanny Price
  • describe how Hardy organically roots his narrative and themes in the woodland community in 'The Woodlanders'
  • show how J L Carr uses relocation to a rural community to regenerate his war-damaged soldiers in 'A Month in the Country'
  • show the importance of location in specific poems studied on this course

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Please read the texts BEFORE the discussions (dates for which will be posted on canvas). If you don't read the texts it will be hard to benefit from them!

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Unity of Place


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

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  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
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  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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