MA Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures 1381 - 1688
This MA offers students the opportunity to acquire knowledge of Medieval and Early Modern literature in its wider critical and cultural contexts and to develop training in the discipline and methodologies within which scholars explore this material.
Issues of liminality and transition are central concerns within this programme, with particular interest paid to how the terms ‘medieval’ and ‘early modern’ (or ‘Renaissance’) are regarded within studies of Humanities today as unstable, which require explanation, qualification and justification when used to designate a specific historical period for academic study. Perceptions of when each period begins and ends differ according to discipline and geography and there is much distrust of traditional ideas about historical periodisation. The distinctive date range that marks the commencement and conclusion of the period covered by the MA – 1381 (the year of the Peasants’ Revolt) and 1688 (the year of the Glorious Revolution) – sharpens focus on this topical debate about demarcating the medieval and early modern, with the connotations that each carries of rebellion, upheaval and re-negotiation, reflecting the momentous political, religious, social and intellectual changes and developments witnessed throughout this period as a whole.
The programme combines the transdisciplinary critical and theoretical approaches from literature with the treatment by literary scholars of a wide variety of sources and artefacts as ‘texts’. The integrated picture of medieval and early modern culture that this approach enables is complemented by the additional option of elective modules in history and art history, which ensure a rich and subtly nuanced picture. The focus of the course is predominantly on textual sources of the British Isles, while also enabling extensive attention to be paid to Britain’s relations with the cultural traditions and politics of Continental Europe.