'We gotta get out of this place, if it's the last thing we ever do,' sang The Animals. The yearning to escape, to move on and away, has been represented in literature from its earliest times. We shall be exploring the varieties of ways in which 'escape' has been understood in fiction, drama and poetry through the study of Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary,' McEwan's 'The Children Act', Caryl Churchill's play 'Escape Alone' and a range of poetry.

Course aim

The idea of escape, from a place or an unbearable, frustrating life, runs strongly through literature. We shall be exploring this theme in fiction, drama and poetry.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Describe the range of ways in which 'escape' has been used to structure narrative from classical to contemporary texts
  • Identify, through close reading, the techniques (including metaphor, punctuation, point of view) used in each text and relate these to genre
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the cultural context in which the texts are produced

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You will need to read the set texts and may wish to supplement this with other recommended reading

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • You will beed to obtain copies of the set texts. Handouts will be provided in class or by e-mail.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You may find it helpful to read the early chapters of Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary' before the class begins.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet



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