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Counting the Times: Contemporary British Short Fiction

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course provides an opportunity to examine British short fiction in some detail. In each session we will take a contemporary, post-war story and look at its form and its content, as well as address other issues and ideas pertinent to the texts. Conversation-based, as much as tutor led, this class is ideal for people who have something to learn and also something to say.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. Memories of the Space Age, J.G. Ballard

2. Me Count the Times, Martin Amis

3. Flesh and the Mirror, Angela Carter

4. The Prophet’s Hair, Salman Rushdie

5. Seraglio, Graham Swift

6. A Family Supper, Kazuo Ishiguro

7. To Room Nineteen, Doris Lessing

8. Psychopolis, Ian McEwan

9. Ping, Samuel Beckett

10. The House of the Famous Poet, Muriel Spark

Teaching method(s)

Group-based discussion within a tutor-led seminar.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Have a developed knowledge of contemporary British short fiction;

  • Read short texts analytically;

  • Articulate their responses to literary works;

  • Identify literary techniques.


Core Readings


  • Bradbury M. ed (1988) The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories, London


  • Bradbury M. ed. (1977)  The Novel Today: Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction, Fontana, Glasgow

  • Lodge, D ed. (1988) Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader, Longman, London.

Class Handouts

Tutor's notes will be available.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.