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Cardiff Literature

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What does it mean to live in a city that has been reinvented, culturally, socially and aesthetically? And what does that reinvention do to the cultural imagination?

Cardiff was awarded city status in 1905 when at its peak as a conduit for Welsh industrial exports.

In recent years, Cardiff city centre has been altered beyond recognition with new commercial and residential developments at every turn.

This course will explore the way Cardiff has been imagined over the last century through literary texts, tracing the shifts in architectural regeneration and renewal, as well as recurring themes of loss, dispossession and disintegration.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through 10 two-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to you via Learning Central.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Cardiff and Poetry: selection (copies provided)
  • Autobiography, Memory and Place: There was a Young Man from Cardiff
  • Splott on the Landscape: Yesterday in the Back Lane
  • Capital Crime: Cardiff Dead
  • Immigration and Education: Gifted
  • Walking the Streets: Cardiff Cut
  • Regeneration and re-imagining the city: selection of short stories (to be provided)

Coursework and assessment

This module will be assessed by two short assignments, comprising 1,500 words in total.

Reading suggestions

Primary texts

  • Abse, Dannie, There was a Young Man from Cardiff (Bridgend: Seren, 1991)
  • Finch, Peter, and Grahame Davies, The Big Book of Cardiff (Bridgend: Seren, 2005)
  • Nalwani, Nikita, Gifted (London: Viking, 2007)
  • Robson, Lloyd, Cardiff Cut (Cardigan: Parthian, 2001)
  • Rubens, Bernice, Yesterday in the back lane (London: Little, Brown and Company 1995)
  • Williams, John Cardiff Dead (London: Bloomsbury, 2000)

Secondary reading

  • Aaron, Jane and Chris Williams, eds. Postcolonial Wales. University of Wales Press, 2005.
  • Anderson, Jon, ‘Towards an Assemblage Approach to Literary Geography’, Literary Geographies 1.2 (2016), 120-137.
  • Andrew, Lucy, and Catherine Phelps, eds. Crime Fiction in the City: Capital Crimes. University of Wales Press, 2013.

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.