The Circle of Stories: Literature and Genre

The Circle of Stories: Literature and Genre

Course dates:
20 July, 2020 to 31 July, 2020
EU/EEA citizens 1875 DKK/Non-EU/EEA citizens 9375 DKK
Fee advantages:
Full fee
Application deadline:
Wednesday, 1 April, 2020
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

General information

Singing the praises of players visiting Elsinore, Polonius, in his verbose way, lists the genres in which the actors excel: “tragedy,/ comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,/ historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-/ comical-historical-pastoral” (Act II, Scene 2). It has been suggested that in this scene Shakespeare is lightly satirizing our critical thinking about literature in terms of genre, characterized, as it is, by a proliferation of generic categories. But as the Bard would have known all too well, genre provides with an indispensable means of access to literature.

On this course, we will go through a generic arrangement of literature which is comprehensive and therefore represents a complete tour of English literature. We will go through the various phases of the circle of stories, proceeding through gradations involving the subtle differences between romantic comedy and comic romance, tragic romance and romantic tragedy, etc. Focusing on characteristic texts of the different phases, we proceed through the area of romance, moving towards tragic romance, before studying the area of tragic literature itself. From there we proceed towards satire and irony, before, having passed through the phase of comic irony, we emerge in the domain of comedy proper. Such a progression takes us from one of Karen Blixen’s Gothic tales and excerpts from (a modern-English translation of) Beowulf, to Milton’s Adam and Eve before the Fall, from Romeo and Juliet and Milton’s depiction of expulsion from Eden, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, from Nella Larsen’s Quicksand to Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels, and from The Beggar’s Opera and J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, to some of Blixen’s other Gothic tales.

The course will conclude with a single session dedicated to the literary romance of the Romantic period, where the focus will be on William Blake’s epic poem Milton.

This is an English literature course, but, in connection with its setting in Copenhagen, it has some significant Danish features. Hamlet of course has as its setting Kronborg castle, which we will visit during the course. Less commonly-known, parts of Beowulf take place on the island of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located. In connection with this, we shall visit the beautiful village of Lejre, which may be the location for some of the story. Quicksand is partly set in the capital city in the 1920s – Larsen, the author, lived in Copenhagen for a time. And the main “tour” of literature which structures the course begins and ends with the (originally English-language) Gothic tales of Karen Blixen.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge of key concepts in stone tool analysis
Knowledge of the basic principles of stone tool production and use
Gain experience in stone tool production
Develop skills in stone tool analyses, including techno-typological analysis, as well as micro-wear analysis
Introduction to image and statistical analysis of stone tools
Lithic report writing
Critical analysis of stone tool analyses (MA level)


Please note that the summer courses are non-residential. Participants are responsible for finding and funding accommodation during their stay in Copenhagen.

You can use different online portals to search for accommodation, such as:

Hostel World

UCPH Housing Foundation (acceptance letter from UCPH required).


Application form

ECTS accreditation

Bachelor and master level

7,5 ECTS

Contact information

Questions about the course can be directed to teacher and coordinator Brian Russell Graham:

Questions about the admission procedure can be directed to: