The exact nature of the course is ours to decide. Upon successful enrolment in this Senior Colloquium, students will be asked to bring TWO possible topics for discussion, presentation and critical analysis to the class. The class will then decide which of your topics they will chose for inclusion in the schedule. You can then start with your presentation and the research for your essay. After several weeks of presentations and discussions, we will shift gear a bit and start working on writing – again bringing together all the strategies for arguing and exemplifying and referencing you have learned over your BA career. We will work our way outwards from essay topics to essay outlines, drafts and final essays – these being peer-reviewed by your course teacher and your peers. Final papers will be due about two-three weeks after the end of the semester.




The aim of this course, which should be taken towards or at the end of a student’s BA studies, is to bring together, and critically reflect upon, various contents and skills students have learned during their time as English Studies students. In this course, we will read one of the classics of modern English fiction and think about ways of reading a novel and ways of critically analysing a novel. All the knowledge and strategies you have accumulated in years of literary studies will come together here and create one last big bang. Our overall objective is to summarise, reflect upon and celebrate your four years of English Studies with a great text, good discussions, articulate written contributions and a lasting web presence (or collection of critical student essays) that features your name as a successful (soon-to-be) HKU English graduate.




We will meet once a week, on Tuesdays from 10.30-12.20 (First Semester).

We will spend time reading and discussing the novel for a few weeks – content, context and form – before we move into individual student presentations and the writing of final research papers. The course is student-led: you will (in consultation with me and your peers) identify and formulate your presentation and essay topics. The final papers (written in stages) will be published in either an edited collection (hardcopy and softcopy) or on a website we will design ourselves. You will decide on either the one of the other output in a democratic vote taken in the first session.

Note: If you have never designed a website (that is, if students chose a website for the presentation of their final papers), do not worry; we will get to this in a simple, step-by-step manner and also have technical assistance (within and outside the course) at hand.




Course assessment is 100% coursework, consisting of oral participation (60%) and written contributions (40%).





William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair.

I recommend the Oxford World’s Classics edition (copies of which I have ordered at the University Bookshop) which contains a very good introduction and useful notes – but any other critical (and unabridged!) edition will do too.




Last updated: 3 July 2017