Into the Engine Room: An Inter-University Literature-Teaching Project Focussing on Narrative


  • David Owen Department of English and German Studies, Area of English Literature, Faculty of Philosophy & Arts
  • Carme Font Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Laura Gimeno Pahissa Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Cristina Pividori Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


This article sets out the objectives, approaches and organisational development of a still on-going inter-university literature-teaching project entitled ‘Between the Lines: Comprehensive Reading of Literary Texts in a Foreign Language’, which was awarded a two-year grant by the Catalan Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants, AGAUR (MQD 00121). As a means of countering students’ excessive concern with essentially superficial aspects of literary texts and in order to facilitate their understanding of more complex textual issues, this project has systematically emphasised the issue of narrativity in literature teaching, thereby also helping students to approach their subject in a more technically sophisticated way in keeping with the demands of their degree. The article discusses the various phases of the project’s implementation, with reference to the underlying problem that gave impetus to the initiative, as well as setting out its provisional conclusions.



teaching, literature, narrativity, inter-university, MQD

Author Biographies

David Owen, Department of English and German Studies, Area of English Literature, Faculty of Philosophy & Arts

David Owen (M.A. Edinburgh, M.A. and Ph.D. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) is a lecturer in the Department of English Literature at the UAB where he teaches UK and US literature, history and culture. He also teaches a literature component on the UAB’s MA in Foreign-Language Teaching for Secondary-Education Teachers, at the Faculty of Education. His research interests focus mainly on English novelistic fiction of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Particularly, this concerns the history of the English Novel, its origins and development, and—within that—the formal and artistic properties of the epistolary novel as it affected and was affected by socio-political changes in fiction writing and reading. In terms of individual writers, his research is principally interested in the works of Jane Austen. In 2010, he published Rethinking Jane Austen’s Lady Susan (Edwin Mellen, New York), the first monographic study of Austen’s abandoned epistolary novella. He is currently editing a critical edition of Anna Maria Porter’s Walsh Colville, due to be published in 2013.

Carme Font, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Carme Font holds a PhD from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She is currently Associate Lecturer in the Department of Filologia Anglesa at the UAB. Her primary line of research is early modern women’s writing in Seventeenth-century England. She has been a Houghton Fellow at Harvard University. Her latest publications are Antologia de poetisas del Renacimiento Inglés (Cátedra Ediciones, 2013), as well as articles in Literature and Theology (2013) and Revista Manuscrits (2011).

Laura Gimeno Pahissa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Laura Gimeno Pahissa obtained her PhD (2010) from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona where she has been teaching since 2001. Her fields of research and teaching are American history and literature. She has also been awarded several research fellowships by international institutions such as the Fulbright Commission and the U.S. Department of State, the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Institut für Amerikastudien (Germany), and the Heidelberg Centre for American Studies (Germany).

Cristina Pividori, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Cristina Pividori holds an MA and a PhD in English Philology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She is currently teaching English for Audiovisual Media at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Her main research interest is World War One literature, specifically the representation of masculine heroism in British autobiographical narratives. She has published in Atlantis (2008, 2010), in the Journal of War and Culture Studies (2009) and in Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses (2012).




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