• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject English
  • Areas of interest English

This course investigates a diversity of texts—which may include literary texts, plays, films, and graphic novels—from the nineteenth century to the present, in order to examine the different “truth claims” that these texts make, and the different ways that they purport to represent reality. Such texts inevitably confront questions of gender, sexuality, race and class, and often seek to address issues of inequality, exploitation and injustice. This course prompts students to examine the relation between reality and its narrative representation by asking questions such as: What are the different techniques for evoking a “reality effect” in the realist novel, naturalist drama, historical fiction, documentary film, autobiography, biofiction or memoir? What are the social and political claims characteristic of narrative modes such as realism, naturalism, biography and autobiography, testimony and memoir? How have writers sought to position the truth claims of these modes among other competing modes and genres of literary, dramatic and film narrative? How have the truth claims of these modes been assessed and judged in the public sphere?

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of key authors and texts in literary modes such as realism, naturalism, historical fiction, testimony and autobiography;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of key debates about the claims to truth or authenticity of various fictional and non-fictional literary modes and genres;
  3. critically analyse realist texts, including the relation between different narrative forms and their truth claims; and
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the broad cultural and historical contexts behind the various literary and artistic realist movements.

Indicative Assessment

  1. (2000 word) Essay (45) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. (2000 word) Essay or equivalent creative response (45) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Brief critical analyses written in class (10) [LO 1,2]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course, you must have completed 12 units of English (ENGL) or Gender (GEND) courses.

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4980
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3600 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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