School of English and Drama

MA Module List

Module TitleCodeSemesterConvenorDescription
DissertationESH7000Full yearDr Alfred HiattThe dissertation offers students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their research and writing skills while engaging with a topic suggested by their work on the core and option modules. It provides a preparation for doctoral research. The research topic must be feasible, academically sound, and related to the concerns of the programme. The dissertation must develop an appropriate research methodology and demonstrate an advanced understanding of historical and/or theoretical issues. It must also demonstrate an ability to analyse and present complex evidence and to shape and sustain a coherent, persuasive critical argument at masters level. It must observe appropriate stylistic and bibliographic conventions.
The Production of Texts in ContextESH7001Sem 1Prof Michele Barrett"This is the compulsory core module for students taking the MA in English Literature. By focusing on the production of texts in a range of historical periods, and by considering different genres of writing, the module is designed to prepare you for the three special options you will choose from across the spectrum of the Department's postgraduate taught programmes. The Production of Texts in Context investigates selected historical case studies in order both to provide you with an advanced understanding of the material and social conditions in which texts are produced, disseminated, and read, and to prompt you to reflect critically upon the significance of literary-historical enquiry for the present-day interpretation of texts. The module will thereby equip you with a sound historical and conceptual preparation for the further study of literary writing at Masters level and beyond, whether or not your interests are specific to a particular period."
Benjamin and AdornoESH7002Sem 2To Be Confirmed"The module is intended to address core issues in interpreting what might constitute the modern age and a writing appropriate to it. Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno are two of the most important cultural theorists of the 20th century. They explain their ideas in the process of defining the modernism in writing and thinking of which they approve, in contrast to modern trends they condemn. In understanding these two thinkers, students are introduced to the ways in which a heritage of philosophical and political theory is transmitted to the 20th century and applied to that era's sense of its own period. Their opposition is also central to the methodological justifications by literary and cultural studies right now of what they think they can achieve."
The Forms of ModernismESH7006Sem 1Dr Peter Howarth"What did modernist writers think their forms could do for the twentieth century that other styles couldn't? This module will look at the politics of modernist forms, both official and unofficial, by considering form in the widest sense of the arrangement of characters, words, rhythms, bodies, objects and audiences. It will also look at the significance of forms and genres which are characteristic of twentieth-century writing, but lie outside or slant to modernism. Through these various forms, we will examine some recurrent debates in modern cultural life: ease vs. difficulty; democracy vs. demography; intimacy vs. discipline, sacred vs. secular."
African Literary and Textual CulturesESH7007Sem 2Dr Andrew Van Der Vlies"This module introduces students to themes and practices in the study of African literary and cultural production, with an emphasis on post-1945 anglophone fiction and prose non-fiction, poetry, pamphlets and ephemera, and film - from or about the continent (or its diasporas). Material is considered in the context of the history and cultural politics of Africa and the field of postcolonial studies. Students are encouraged to apply a range of theoretical and methodological frameworks - including concern with their material, ideological, textual and institutional mediation(s) and effects."
The State of the NovelESH7010Sem 2To Be Confirmed"This module will enable students to explore a turbulent period of innovation, reformation, and artistic self-consciousness across which writers reconsidered the cultural status, aesthetic potential and political mission of the novel. Deliberately chronological in organization, the syllabus will move from the late-1960s to the present, in order to chart the evolution of key phases in the way we retrospectively frame late-twentieth-century writing, from postwar social realism, postmodernism and beyond. Students will thus have the opportunity to engage not only stylistically but also historically with discrete moments of and transitions in novelistic experiment. They will be reading important essays from writers themselves (Iris Murdoch, David Lodge, Jeanette Winterson, J. M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, Caryl Phillips) and allowing the questions they raise to inform close readings of form. The selected novelists will be framed by topics ranging from early debates about the future of experimentalism in the 1970s, the relation between style and social critique in the 80s, the renaissance of historical fiction in the 90s, and finally the new directions in formal innovation that have emerged since 2000."
Victorian Print CultureESH7011Sem 2To Be Confirmed"This course will examine the Victorian novel in the context of numerous other forms of print available to audiences during the nineteenth century. We will use investigative procedures derived from the disciplines of print culture and book history to ask how authors responded to the explosion in the volume of books, periodicals, and newspapers produced during this period for an emerging mass audience. Our approach will consider the book as a material object that circulated through society as well as the production, dissemination, and reception of literature as a collaborative process implicated in social networks. Particular attention will be given to the ways books had to accommodate themselves to a variety of new media throughout the nineteenth century. Related questions about literacy, reading practices, national identity, the commodification of literature, and the new power of the consumer will be explored through our readings of selected literary narratives as well as supplementary theoretical essays on various aspects of print culture."
James Joyce's Finnegans WakeESH7013Sem 2To Be Confirmed"Finnegans Wake has a reputation as the most difficult work of fiction ever written in the English (?) language. This course will offer students the opportunity to judge this for themselves in the context of a supportive and collaborative tutor-led seminar. Each week we will cover a couple of chapters and explore the text from a number of critical and theoretical perspectives, from psychoanalysis to postcolonial theory. Experience of studying Joyce or Modernism is desirable but not required, and it would be helpful if students could read Ulysses in advance of the course."
Ideas and Metaphors: 1700-1820ESH7014Sem 1To Be Confirmed"This module offers a rigorous grounding in the themes, methods, arguments, and contexts needed to understand and interpret eighteenth-century and Romantic-period literature. The weekly seminars will take the form of a focussed discussion of one or two ideas or metaphors that characterize and structure the literature and thought of the period. We will assess the contemporary use and understanding of key terms such as 'wit', 'candour', 'commerce', 'sensibility', 'universe', 'education', and 'sublimity', looking carefully at their shifting meanings, contested values, and historical development, and at their circulation in representative literary and non-literary texts. The ideas and metaphors discussed may vary from year to year but will be selected by the teaching team as demonstrably central and defining, and in order to provide students with a grasp of the critical vocabularies of the time."
Early Modern Archival SkillsESH7019Full yearDr Claire WilliamsThis module provides students with the skills necessary for scholarly archival research. In the first semester students are introduced to manuscript materials. They learn how to access these documents and how to read, transcribe and interpret them. In the second semester the focus shifts from manuscript archives to the early modern printed book. Students learn how to use research libraries, construct scholarly bibliographies and footnotes, analyse and describe early modern books and finally obtain the skills involved in the critical editing of printed texts.
Early Modern ContextsESH7021Sem 1To Be Confirmed"This module aims to equip students with conceptual and practical awareness of interdisciplinary research in medieval and early modern studies in the period 1300-1700. This will involve understanding texts and materials across cultures, media and disciplines. Though the emphasis is on reading and habits of reading, we shall also consider how contemporary communities engaged with a variety of cultural practices, and attended to performance and spectacle across literary, visual and material media. "
Literature, Science and TechnologyESH7022Sem 2To Be Confirmed"This module explores the diverse uses that contemporary authors (from the past fifty years) make of science and technology in their works, and the distinct ways in which critics and scholars engage with science and technology in the cultural field. We take a broad definition of 'science', 'technology' and 'literature'. Besides reading fiction, poetry and drama we may also look at selected works of electronic literature, non-fiction, performance, graphic novels, film, and museum exhibits."
Writing and the PresentESH7023Sem 1To Be Confirmed"This compulsory module for the MA English studies: Contemporary Writing pathway explores contemporary writing in relation to broad ideas about the historical present, the problems of periodization, and the nature of time. Special attention is devoted to questions of technology, innovation and social change that bring into question the category of writing itself, its role in theoretical debates, its place in contemporary philosophy, and its transformations in the context of digital culture. With its twin focus on the conceptualization of 'writing' and the 'present', the module aims to offer a detailed survey of issues that relate to the notion of the contemporary, both in academic contexts and in lived social experience."
Victorian VoicesESH7024Sem 1Dr Matthew Ingleby"This survey module introduces students to a range of Victorian literary representations of identity as expressed by diverse authorial voices selected from across the period. While students will be encouraged to make connections between individual authors and topics, the module challenges the idea of univocality and the popular notion that there is a monolithic Victorian view of things by presenting a wealth of different perceptions and perspectives. Drawing on a wide range of canonical and non-canonical poetry and prose by male and female Victorian authors, the module explores ways of expressing core aspects of self and identity while also considering the implications of audience and contexts."
Global Interests in the Shakespearean WorldESH7025Sem 1To Be Confirmed"This module aims to situate Shakespeare's work within the early modern global world. It will examine how far Shakespeare's drama draws on the idea of 'the global' in its setting, language, characterisation and action. It asks how far the theory and history of globalisation helps us to understand the ways in which a variety of ethnic, racial, commercial, religious and national forces are addressed in Shakespeare's work, from obvious plays like Othello and The Tempest, to more surprising texts like the Henriad."
Peripheral ModernitiesESH7027Sem 1Dr Rachael Gilmour"Peripheral Modernities seeks to explore how entry to the modern world, or how exclusion from the modern world, is experienced, perceived and explained from the global peripheries. In so doing, it aims to reverse the usual perspective from which modernity itself is considered. The module opens by a conceptual consideration of how we might begin to theorize a 'peripheral' modernity. It is then followed by a range of texts which will focus (variously) on the Caribbean, South Africa/Africa, southern Asia, the Middle East and on those instances of peripheral modernities which underwrite the erstwhile metropolitan nations."
Early Modern Studies: Research PreparationESH7028Sem 2Dr Kirsty Rolfe"This module will extend the work undertaken both on the Core Course in semester 1 and the Archival Skills course. You will read a broad range of texts within their original historical and material contexts, and consider the way that the study of manuscripts and early printed books has changed in the digital age. Often the fields of `material culture¿ and `digital humanities¿ are figured as a binary opposition. This course seeks to show that analogue and digital analysis are part of a critical continuum. Weeks 1-8 are organised thematically to consider the practical skills and the critical frameworks we need to discuss the entities of the manuscript, the printed book, the scribe, the printer, the editor, and the letter. Later in the semester we will consider the textual life of a single year ¿ 1557 ¿ in order to unpack ideas about critical merit and literary worth. The weekly topics are designed to encourage a degree of self-reflexivity: when looking at the editor, for example, we will be examining both early modern editors and modern scholarly editorial projects (both analogue and digital) in order to consider how you might go about producing your own edition. In the final three weeks of the course we will guide you through your own portfolio project, designed to extend and develop your work on one of the topics covered earlier in the module."
Aestheticism and Fin de Siecle LiteratureESH7030Sem 1To Be Confirmed"This module introduces students to developments in the literature of the late Victorian period with an eye to its possible influences on modernist writing. Students are encouraged to explore such issues as the construction of the self and personality, representation of the body, the role of the artist with reference to gender and sexuality, Decadence, and the 'New Woman', as well as making a more general survey of aesthetics, style, and the visual and literary imagination in the writings of the period. Students study a variety of different kinds of writing including poetry, drama, art and literary criticism, and the novel. Writers included are Swinburne, Pater, Wilde, and Hardy, and lesser known figures such as Vernon Lee and Charlotte Mew."
Modernism and AfterESH7034Sem 1Dr Suzanne Hobson"This module is taken by all the students on the MA in Writing in the Modern Age. It is designed to focus more continuously on the concepts of modernity and post-modernity that other modules in this MA will bear in mind, but perhaps refract in more specialised ways. It will endeavour to equip students with basic theories and reading techniques for understanding modernist and post-modernist texts taken from a variety of different discourses - literary, philosophical, and political. The class should provide a forum for essential introductory discussion of the subject matter of the degree and its appropriate treatment. Questions concerning expectations and standards of the work required by this MA will be answered both theoretically and practically in the module of seminar presentation and discussion."
Researching Modern CultureESH7036Sem 2To Be ConfirmedResearching Modern Culture aims to introduce students to theoretical ideas, research methodologies and strategies that will enable them to devise research projects concerned broadly with modern or contemporary culture. The module involves a mixture of seminars, visiting speakers, workshops, readings, and discussions of selected texts. Some sessions take place at Queen Mary, while others involve visits to a range of cultural institutions in London, which may include galleries and libraries.
Writing the East EndESH7038Sem 2To Be Confirmed"This module considers the mythology of the East End of London as articulated and interrogated by literary texts. It focuses on the period from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day and examines the East End as a continuing site of public fascination and creative production. By exploring a selected body of novels and other texts, considered with reference to different aspects of the mobile environment of the East End and contemporary debate, the module develops an understanding of how texts organise and articulate urban space and urban change. In particular, it explores the ways that fiction and prose writing have represented the East End as a site of immigration, cross-class encounter, crime, political activism and memory."
London Panoramas: Research, Culture and the Long Eighteenth CenturyESH7045Sem 2To Be ConfirmedThe module offers a series of guided visits to museums, specialist libraries, sites or archives for research in Eighteenth Century and Romantic studies. Each visit is designed to stimulate discussion of a key theoretical or historical issue in relation to the period.
Resources for ResearchESH7046Sem 1To Be ConfirmedThis module is designed as an introduction to research and study skills at postgraduate level. It will introduce you to scholarly techniques and practices that are fundamental to research at graduate level. These include referencing, bibliography, and the use of print and electronic resources. You will receive advice on writing essays and dissertations. More generally, you will be encouraged to think broadly about the meaning and purpose of research. The module is compulsory but not assessed. Attendance is compulsory for students on the following pathways: Writing and the Modern Age, Contemporary Writing, Postcolonial and Global Literatures, Eighteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism, Victorian Literature, English Literature.
Sociability: Literature and the City 1660-1780ESH7047Sem 1Prof Markman Ellis"This module focuses on the representation of the city in the literature of the Restoration and eighteenth century. The general research question this module investigates is the interaction between literature and history: in particular how is urbanism - the formation of a new and distinct affectual structure associated with the structural transformation of urban life in the early eighteenth century - manifested in and by the literary. The module will examine how this cultural and historical transformation can be read in and through experiments in literary genre and style in the period (including forms of popular satire, verse, periodical essays, prose fictions and the novel, as well as painting and cartography). The module will focus on four key debates, which may include topics such as the city and its mock poetic forms, the coffee-house, the Spectator essays, and women writers, and will engage in key critical debates in twentieth-century city theory."
Imagining South Asia and its DiasporaESH7054Sem 1Dr Rehana AhmedThis module explores the role literary texts play in imagining South Asia and its diasporic cultures and communities. We will examine a range of South Asian novels, as well as poetry and short stories, to ask how they shed light on and complicate our understanding of some of the defining themes of the 20th and 21st centuries, including nationhood, partition, inter-ethnic conflict, disaster, migration, cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, globalisation and terror. Moving across Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Britain and the US, and from the mid-20th century to the present day, we will explore how race, class, religion and gender shape South Asian cultures and identities, and interrogate the paratextual material surrounding contemporary South Asian literary production (festivals, prizes, reviews) to consider how this shapes our understanding of the texts.
Myths, Lineage and Power in Britain, 1300-1600ESH7055Sem 2Dr Jaclyn RajsicThis module will explore how accounts of the past were re-imagined in Britain at key moments of political conflict and change from the late thirteenth to the late sixteenth century. We will study historical and documentary sources alongside of literary texts, and will consider the development of royal genealogies to include mythical ancestors such as King Arthur, as well as Trojan and biblical predecessors. The period from around 1300 to 1600 saw the English conquest of Wales by King Edward I, the Scottish Wars of Independence against the English, the Hundred Years War with France followed by civil war in England (the Wars of the Roses), and significant religious and political reform under the Tudors. Writers responded to these changes in literary, historical and genealogical texts. Accounts of the past were rewritten to bolster political claims and aims in the present. At the same time, royal and noble bloodlines were extended, re-drawn and exploited as dynasties changed and as England warred against her neighbours. This period also saw the emergence of a new genre of history writing in royal genealogical rolls: diagrammatic histories in which written accounts of the past complement illustrated tree diagrams showing the descent of contemporary rulers from real and mythical ancestors. We will trace the development of mythical history and royal lineage in these different texts, genres, and material forms, written in three different languages (Anglo-French, Latin and English), and across (shifting) national and regional borders. Although we will focus on the power struggles that fueled rewritings of the past, we will also consider the ways in which myths were imagined to have been shared by different peoples. Finally, our study of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century sources will enable us to consider some of the continuities between the medieval and Renaissance periods, alongside the differences. This will lead us to interrogate terms such as 'medieval' and 'Renaissance', and will allow us to rethink traditional boundaries of period as well as subject, through the interdisciplinarity of our approach.

All Middle English texts will be read in their original language. French and Latin sources will be read in translation, but students will have the opportunity to engage with the original French sources.
The Godwins and the ShelleysESH7056Sem 2Prof Pamela ClemitThe module explores the writings across two generations of the same literary family: William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft in the first generation, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley in the second. The module will focus mainly on works which were the product of creative interaction and/or literary collaboration, and will consider (among other things) how far individual contributions to this literary conversation were shaped by a shared belief in the civic responsibility of authorship. The approach will be generic as well as thematic: special attention will be given to the range of different genres (e.g. political treatise, memoir, novel, 'conversation poem', lyrical drama) adopted by each writer in their search for a role as a commentator on public affairs. Attention will also be given to the rich body of informal writings produced by the group, including letters, journals, and memoirs.
Queer Theory and Contemporary FictionESH7057Sem 1Prof David DuffThis module will offer an opportunity to study key thinkers and debates in the field of queer theory, while also exploring how sexuality is narrated in contemporary culture. The module will be grounded in theoretical material but alongside this theoretical grounding, the module will consider a number of literary and visual cultural texts. Throughout, we will consider the relationship between cultural texts, politics, and theory, asking: What kind of object is sex and sexuality? What is 'queer' about queer theory? How is queerness narrated in contemporary literature and cultural texts? The module will be structured as four blocks: 'Gender Trouble', 'Queer Temporalities/Queer Histories', 'Queer Affect', and 'Queer Liberalism?'. Beginning with foundational texts by Eve Sedgwick and Judith Butler, we will cover topics including queer performativity, female masculinity, queer history, queer affect, homonormativity and homonationalism, queer intersectionality, and trans* theory. This module offers an opportunity to engage in debates central to queer theory, while also develop skills in literary and cultural analysis of contemporary fictions of sexuality.
Introduction to PoeticsESH7058Sem 1Prof Andrea BradyThis module introduces major theories of poetry and poetics through close readings of significant historic and contemporary poems. Each week we will read a poems and a theoretical essay, in order to investigate topics such as poetic genres, form, prosody, performance and oral poetry, mimesis, the lyric I, appropriation, apostrophe, and so forth. Students will be assessed through a 4000 word critical essay OR a creative portfolio consisting of 8 pages of poetry and a 2000-word critical discussion which should reflect on one of the issues in poetics being taught in the class in relation to the poet¿s own practice. They will also be expected to produce two unassessed workshop pieces, which respond to reading either in the form of a poem or a brief critical essay.
Poetry at WorkESH7059Sem 2Prof Andrea BradyThis module encourages students to reflect on their experiences and potential as curators or publishers of poetry, and on the role of poetry in contemporary society. It requires students to work for four weeks part-time, or two weeks full time, in an arts, cultural, educational, or community organisation, or a publisher, magazine, literary agency, or other related business. Students will be advised on finding placements by the module convenor, and will be able to draw on the Centre for Poetry's extensive contacts in these fields. You will have an opportunity to reflect on your experiences during an exit session provided by Career Services and by writing an unassessed 1000 word essay.
Dissertation (MA Poetry)ESH7060Full yearProf Andrea BradyThe dissertation offers students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their research, creative practice and writing skills while engaging with a topic suggested by their work on the core and option modules. It provides a preparation for doctoral research in English, Creative Writing and related fields. The topic must be feasible, academically sound, and related to the concerns of the programme. The dissertation must develop an appropriate scholarly or creative methodology and demonstrate an advanced understanding of historical and/or theoretical issues involved in the study or composition of poetry. It must also demonstrate an ability to analyse and present complex evidence and to shape and sustain a coherent, persuasive critical
argument at masters level. It must observe appropriate stylistic and bibliographic conventions.

Students will submit a dissertation, which can be constituted either of a conventional scholarly essay of 15,000 words, or a creative portfolio consisting of the student's own poems with a critical commentary. Such a portfolio should be a maximum of 20 pages and/or (in the case of performed dissertations), a time-length of a maximum of 30 minutes for an audio or video recording, along with a 4,000 word commentary. In the commentary, students will be expected to apply their learning from other, non-core modules, including Poetry at Work, to their own practice. The commentary must illuminate what they have done, but it need not
make their own poems its primary topic. The approach taken by the commentary will be developed in ooperation with students' academic supervisor, but for example, it may be a literary-critical reflection on the historical development of a poetic tactic, and an explanation of its relation to their own work; or a reflection on the context, transmission and mediation of poetry, particularly if the piece is situated or performed. All students, whether they are producing a critical dissertation or a commentary, will be expected to demonstrate secondary reading, argument and thought about other poets.
Romanticism and GenreESH7061Sem 2To Be ConfirmedStudying a wide range of texts from 1760 to 1830, this module examines the formal innovations of Romantic literature but also the fascination with archaic genres such as ballad, epic and national song, whose revival and transformation made Romanticism a `retro¿ movement as well as a revolutionary one. The module analyses Romantic theories of genre alongside historical examples, while investigating too the 'poetics of the book': the publishing processes and paratextual practices through which experiments with form and format took concrete shape.