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> Modern European Culture

This subject module is recommended for students wishing to continue studying their undergraduate degrees at UCL on the following degree programs: Law LLB, English BA, History of Art BA, Architecture BA, History BA, European Languages and Culture BA, Philosophy BA amongst others.

Physics students

In this module, you will be introduced to aspects of European art, literature and cinema from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will learn how to analyse paintings, texts and films, to fit them into cultural movements, and to recognise the way they relate to broader social and historical developments.

Content and skills

One part of the course consists of an introduction to History of Art, involving the analysis of major art movements and artists from the nineteenth-century to today. The teaching includes many visits in and around London's diverse art scene to museums, exhibitions, galleries as well as particular architectural landmarks of the city.

The other part of the course is the study of literary texts and films. The teaching includes the study of the formal qualities and historical significance of a variety of works, which have thematic connections to one another. You will also have the opportunity to compare literary works with film adaptations.

This is an example of an outline of the course syllabus:

  • Term 1: Art History. Landscape art from Romanticism to Post-impressionism. Artists studied include: Constable, Turner, Monet, Pissarro, Gauguin, Cézanne and Ensor.
  • Term 2: Literature and film. The theme of the double in Nineteenth-Century and Twentieth-Century novels and films. Novels and films include: Hoffmann's 'The Sand Man’, Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Nabokov’s Despair, Hitchcock’s Vertigo, etc.
  • Term 3: Case studies and student presentations on individual artists and authors. Comparisons with contemporary art and culture. Overall revisions. 

This course will develop your independent critical thinking and help you to build sophisticated writing skills. You will be asked to engage critically with ideas, to build your own arguments. In addition, you will have many opportunities to discuss topics in other fields such as Philosophy, Architecture, Geography or History & Politics. Interdisciplinary seminars will be organised with other UPCH subject modules.

Course structure

General overview and context will be given in the lectures, whilst more interactive work will be done in the seminars, where you will develop your understanding of the periods and themes. Techniques include picture analysis, commentaries, presentations and essays. One-to-one tutorials will be given regularly to assist you in your progress.

As the course progresses, you will proceed from basic descriptive exercises, to more complex interpretive tasks, in preparation for advanced essay writing by the end of the year. The final exam will test knowledge, comprehension and synthesis of the whole syllabus.

Page last modified on 25 oct 13 12:40 by Martin L White