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Comparative Literatures And Cultures: ‘Why Is Modern Literature So Difficult To Understand?’ And ‘Why Study Comparative Literatures And Cultures At University’ With Professor Phil Swanson And Students From The University of Sheffield

6th November 2019 @ 12:35 - 13:30


Please note that this session has unfortunately been cancelled. We are discussing alternatives with Sheffield but, if you do have questions about studying Comparative Literatures and Cultures, please do email Sheffield by clicking here: Schools Liaison  



In this 55-minute session, we will give you an introduction to what Comparative Literatures and Cultures covers, followed by a 30-minute taster lecture on ‘Why is Modern Literature So Difficult to Understand?’ led by Professor Phil Swanson.

He will discuss the seemingly messy, senseless, chaotic form of much ‘modern’ literature, and – using some examples from poetry (and art) – will attempt to offer some insight in to why ‘modernist’ cultural products often appear this way.

In the session, there is also an opportunity to put questions to our session leader and some of our current undergraduate students – not just about the taster lecture, but also about studying Comparative Literatures and Cultures at university more broadly.

Please note: relevant to the context of the topic, there will be some swear words used as part of the discussion.


Suitable for: This lecture would be appropriate for Year 12 and Year 13 students who love literature and other cultural forms and who are studying, or thinking about studying, literatures and cultures at university.  Our three-year course at Sheffield allows you to study world literatures and cultures from English- and non-English-speaking countries, covering Europe, as well as neo-colonial and post-colonial contexts such as North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Eurasia. You’ll study literature and other cultural outputs like films, essays, diaries, graphic art, music and popular culture, whilst also having, if you wish, the option to develop language skills in a range of foreign languages. The course is taught entirely in English, so students don’t need to have studied languages previously to apply.


Lecturer Profile (Please click): Professor Phil Swanson

Preparation or Pre-Reading: None is required, although students might like to consider questions they have about studying Comparative Literatures and Cultures at university.

The IT Setup: The setup is similar to Skype, using a pc and webcam, although students take part as a group with the image projected on a whiteboard rather than as individuals in front of lots of pcs. Dedicated videoconferencing equipment is also compatible if available to the school. Further details are here: Connecting in to a Channel Talent Event (Please Click)

We will work with your IT department to ensure everything is set up and working prior to the event. The sessions are generally limited to 3 to 5 schools to maintain the interactive nature of the experience. In this event there will be three groups of schools taking part increasing the opportunity to participate.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you have a group of students that you would like to take part in this event, please click here 

Subject to availability we will book a place for you.


6th November 2019
12:35 - 13:30
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