School of English and Drama

Pathway 1: English Literature

This Pathway in English Literature considers the relationship between literatures from a variety of historical periods.

Please note for 2019/20 entry:

Our MA English Programmes are currently undergoing a review to ensure the content continues to offer an outstanding teaching and learning experience for our students. 

Your programme will offer specially-designed core modules alongside the opportunity to choose from a range of electives in specialist areas.

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The English Literature MA pathway is ideal if you don’t wish to be confined to a specific period or disciplinary area. It asks fundamental questions about our ideas of literature and how these might have changed over time.

The pathway’s compulsory module, ‘The Production of Texts in Contexts’, opens up these questions by looking at a broad array of literature from a variety of historic periods. It considers how innovations in printing and publishing have affected writing, and asks to what extent political and social change conditions and defines authorial identities and practices.

Apart from the compulsory core module briefly described below, students taking the generic English Literature pathway can freely choose their remaining three modules from all the other existing pathways and thus sample different topics from different periods. Below are additional links to those pathways that allow you to see the rich variety of staff research interests and specialisms.

The Production of Texts in Context

The Production of Texts in Context is a trans-historical module that ranges across many different literary periods from the early middle ages to the present day. The module is team-taught so students experience teaching by ten to eleven different staff members, each of whom presents a topic related to their own particular interests and period specialisms. The teaching team and the topics represented vary from year to year according to staff availability, with recent topics including Ballad and Carol (Alfred Hiatt), The Making of Paradise Lost (Joad Raymond), The Eighteenth-Century Newspaper (Chris Reid), Victorian Serialised Fiction (Matt Ingleby), Experimental Writing and Early Twentieth-Century Publishing (Scott McCracken), The Coming of Age Novel in Global Literature (Charlotta Salmi), Book Prizes and Literary Production (Huw Marsh), and Contemporary Graphic Narrative (Sam McBean). For the essay assignment students pick a subject relating to one of the topics and can seek advice from the relevant staff member. There is also a designated member of staff who acts as module convenor, sits in with students on the weekly seminars, and is able to offer general help and guidance.

Compulsory modules:

You also choose one of the following
Researching Modern Culture;   London Panoramas: Research, Culture and the Long Eighteenth Century, or The Material Text, 1300-1700

Option modules:

You choose three modules from a wide-ranging list of options that changes from year to year. 

In 2017-2018 we hope to offer the following. If members of our specialist research staff win research funding it will mean that their module won’t run, so for that reason this list is indicative only.  

Students may also opt to take a cognate elective module offered by the Schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and by other Colleges of the University of London. 

In addition to taught modules, we run a range of research seminars to which all MA students are invited. Some of these are linked to our interdisciplinary Research Centres, such as the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Centre for Religion and Literature in English and the Centre for the History of the Emotions. Others are collaborations with other institutions, such as the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar. With visiting speakers from across the world, these seminars are an opportunity to meet other postgraduate students and members of staff and to learn about the latest developments in research.