This Pathway in English Literature considers the relationship between literatures from a variety of historical periods.
It 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?
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. It 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.
The Production of Texts in Context (ESH7001)
This module 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 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.
Resources for Research (ESH7046)
This is a compulsory, non-assessed research resources module that runs in the first semester of study. The initial research seminars provide instruction and guidance in scholarly methods (including footnotes and bibliographies, electronic bibliographical resources, and humanities research on the internet) and in professional development (e.g. applying for funding, writing research proposals, and dissertation planning). In further seminars, you will be introduced to key research resources in London through visits to specialist and advanced libraries and archives, such as the British Library, the University of London Library Special Collections, the Poetry Library, the Fawcett Library for Women's History, and the National Art Library.
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 will vary from year to year, but may include: