Skip to main content

Ageing and Memory: A Literary Approach

This course is currently unavailable for booking

There are currently no upcoming dates available for this course. Be the first to know when new dates are announced by joining the mailing list.

We now live in a world where lifetimes span much longer than they did for the generations that went before us.

Changes in medical care, the food we consume and the types of work that we do have led to changes in the way our society is formed. We are growing older.

This module considers what it means to write about ageing and memory through literature and creative non-fiction. It explores the kinds of tropes and images that recur in texts that imagine and examine different types of experiences, from the prospect of growing older to a life lived in full.

You will study notions of literary gerontology in the context of novels, short stories, autobiography and memoir.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through ten 2-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available via Learning Central.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • women and ageing
  • memory and identity
  • the literature of old age
  • ageing in Welsh Writing in English
  • the bildungsroman, ageing and memory
  • approaching ageing from different cultures.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You will produce a portfolio of writing of around 1600 words.

Reading suggestions

  • Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End (2008)
  • Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (2014)
  • Emyr Humphreys, Old People are a Problem (2003)
  • Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger (1987)
  • Wendy Mitchell, Somebody I Used to Know (2018)
  • Deborah Moggach, These Foolish Things [Retitled as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel] (2004, 2012)
  • Allen Raine, ‘Home Sweet Home’ and Margiad Evans’s ‘The Old Woman and the Wind,’ in A View Across the Valley (Honno, 1999)
  • Ellie Rees, ‘Blurred Boundaries’ (New Welsh Review, 108, 2015)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.