Master of Arts
The English Literature pathway asks students to reflect on some crucial questions. How have ideas about literature and literary value changed over time? What effects do innovations in printing and publishing have on writing? To what extent do political and social factors condition and define authorial identities and practices? In answering these questions we consider the relationship between literatures from a variety of historical periods. This pathway is ideal both for those who intend to pursue doctoral research – particularly if your interests span traditional literary periods – and for those who wish to achieve a broad overview of Anglophone literary culture. The English Literature pathway provides both structure and flexibility, combining a specially-designed core module with the opportunity to select further options from across the whole range of MA modules on offer in the Department of English.
Core module: The Production of Texts in Context considers how texts have been produced, disseminated, and received throughout history, as well as examining how this kind of historical enquiry might influence our own textual interpretations. Topics may include: the emergence of authorial identity in the Middle Ages; the reappearance of fictional narrative in Western Europe; the circulation and reception of information about news and current affairs in the medieval and early modern periods; the relative longevity and popularity of different works and genres; manuscript circulation during the Restoration; the rise of the professional writer in the mid-Eighteenth Century; the influence of professional reviewers and criticism upon writing in the Romantic period; publication in the Victorian era; the emergence of ‘mass culture’ and its impact on literary production in the modern age; the influence of hypertext and the web on literary production. Students also take a non-assessed research methods module.
You will also choose three modules (up to two from any single period pathway) from across the range of MA modules offered by the Department of English, and write a dissertation. Module options may include: Aestheticism and Fin-de-Siècle Literature Autobiographical Literature and Religious Dissent Being an Author 1450-1550 Benjamin and Adorno Cultural Legacies of the First World War Freud and Proust Imagining the Modern Caribbean Metro-Intellectuals: Women Writing in the City, 1780–1824 Modernism, Aesthetics and Politics Modernism and Ireland Modernism, Secularism and Religion Notions of Progress and Civilisation Polite and Popular Culture in the Eighteenth Century Postcolonialism, Language and identity Public and Private Cultures in Renaissance England Psychoanalysis and Modern Culture Reading Shakespeare Historically Representing the Other: Jews and Jewishness in Medieval and Renaissance England Romantic Manifestos Sociability: Literature and the City, 1660-1780 The Spatial Turn: History, Literature and Geography Time and Historical Imagination Writing the East End
Coursework (67 per cent) - each module is assessed via a 4,000 word essay
Dissertation (33 per cent) - a dissertation of 15,000 words
Most applicants will have an undergraduate degree with a first or good upper second class honours (or the equivalent) in English or such related fields as History, Cultural Studies and Media Studies. Where a North American marking scheme is used, applicants should have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5. Promising applicants who do not meet the formal academic criteria but who possess relevant credentials and who can demonstrate their ability to produce written work at Masters level will also be considered. Applicants may be invited to interview or asked to submit examples of written and/or creative work. We welcome applications from mature and non-traditional students.