Prequels, Sequels and Derivatives

Ref: C3741089

We study 4 novels this term: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys which is a prequel to Jane Eyre; Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean which is the official sequel to Peter Pan; A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, which sets King Lear on the plains of North America; and Longbourn by Jo Baker which retells Pride and Prejudice from the servants' point-of-view. You are expected to read the 4 course texts and may well find it useful to refresh your memory of the originals. The class usually has lively class discussion based on close reading of the text guided by the tutor. Thus we pool our experiences of the book.

Course aim

Through class discussion we examine some of the ways authors can rewrite or continue the work of others and so we will gain a deeper understanding of the elements of a novel.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • identify elements of a book that provoke another author's version
  • assess what a reworking of a book has added to our understanding of the original
  • evaluate the suitability of the style chosen by the second author

How will I be taught?

  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Participants need to have read each text before the relevant class. Classes normally start with a short tutor introduction to the topic to be discussed before all members of the class are encouraged to participate.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • Continual oral feedback from the tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Please read Wide Sargasso Sea before the first class, and if necessary Jane Eyre.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course outline

Prequels, Sequels and Derivatives Course Outline


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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