This dynamic programme aims to deepen your understanding of how a wide range of writing was produced, circulated, read and reviewed across four centuries. At the heart of the MA are two complementary modules, Reading the Past I and II. The first of these engages with texts that comment on their own historical moment by themselves reading the past (looking at fields such as eighteenth-century appropriations of Shakespeare, Victorian medievalism, and reworkings of Classical and Biblical texts); the second invites readings that go against the grain of periodization, opening up the ways in which we interpret literary history by interrogating texts produced in culturally transitional decades such as the 1660s, 1790s and the 1890s. Another distinctive feature of the programme is the Manuscript, Print, Digital module, which introduces students to the principles and practice of manuscript study, printed book history and textual editing, giving you the opportunity to work with new digital technologies. Authors typically studied on the MA include Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Behn, Blake, Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Mary Shelley, Austen, Gaskell, Rossetti and Wilde. The MA will provide you with an excellent foundation for PhD research and will also enable you to develop skills that are valuable preparation for careers including the creative and cultural industries, media and journalism, education, heritage management, and publishing.
From the taught modules available, full-time students take two twelve-week compulsory modules – Reading the Past I and II (2 x 20 credits) – and two six-week ones – Manuscript, Print, Digital (10 credits) and Reading Form (10 credits). They also take compulsory modules in research methods (40 credits), two optional modules (2 x 10 credits), and write a 15,000-18,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice emerging from the programme (60 credits). Part-time students have the same choice over the course of two years. The team-taught optional modules, which closely reflect the specific research interests of staff teaching on the MA, offer a more sustained, specialized study of literary and cultural texts in terms of genres, fields or periods. They also maintain a balance between engaging with familiar canonical texts, and works that have challenged and expanded the canon. Options likely to be offered in 2011-2012 include Cultures of Collecting, Place and Pilgrimage, Republicanism and Memory, and Literary Lifecycles: Birth to Death in Children’s Literature.
International Student Requirements:
Applicants whose first language is not English and whose IELTS score is between 6.0 and 7.0 at the time of application will be required to do a 10-week pre-sessional course at the University's Language Centre before the programme begins; those with an IELTS score between 6.5 and 7.0 will be required to do a five-week pre-sessional course in the Language Centre before the programme begins. Much of the MA is taught through small seminar discussion and a confidence in using English to discuss theoretical concepts is vital.