This pathway of the MA Literary Studies is ideal if you’re keen to study Shakespeare at an advanced level.
Centred on Shakespeare and early modern literature and culture, you’ll also explore the reception and performance of Shakespeare in later times.
This core module for the ‘Comparative Literature & Criticism’ pathway of the MA in Comparative Literary Studies will introduce you to the main concepts of comparative literary theory and practice and its principal debates, complementing these with textual analyses and the opportunity to engage in comparative readings.
We will examine key aspects of the development of the discipline of “comparative literature”, and study the theoretical frameworks elaborated to describe the ways texts relate to, derive from, or influence other texts (such as influence, imitation and intertextuality, translation, and reception).
Historical relationships and how these are constructed will be examined, focussing on the idea of tradition, the concept of the canon and its revisions, as well as the importance of literary history in our understanding of literature. The module will ask questions such as: what happens to a text and its meaning when it is adapted to or referenced in a new geographical, historical, or social context?
The literary texts and films studied will enable you to study “in action” central concepts of comparative critical practice, focussing for instance on genre; topoi; thematic approaches; textual rewritings; “translations” of texts to different genres (e.g. What does this mean for the concept of meaning itself?This core module for the pathway in ‘Modern Literature’ surveys the most internationally significant trends, influences, and movements in European and American literature of the twentieth century (and potentially beyond), including the impacts of Bergson and Nietzsche, the ‘prophetic’ role of the modern poet, challenges to Realism, the schools of Expressionism, Surrealism, and Absurdism, the modernist disruption of literary conventions, aspects of writing on the Holocaust, and the emergence of poststructuralism, OULIPO and postmodernism. We are interested to trace the developments within the forms of literary and artistic expression examined, to show how literary texts, forms and genres veered between consolidation and experimentation from beginnings marked by the slave narrative, a preoccupation with history and memory and a close affinity with the aural/ oral, and to further explore some of the determining forces which underpinned the transformations of the literatures.These developments are studied through the analysis of major representative texts either in English (e.g. We seek to trace the influence, and textual embodiment of intellectual and cultural developments in the region’s literature and that of its diaspora including the impacts of Colonialism, post-Colonialism, Negritude, and Globalisation.This fiction is often called ‘postcolonial’, though there are those who would debate that term, as many do all aspects of the body of theory about the relation of the West and the rest of the world that has come to be known as ‘postcolonial theory’.Some would prefer the term ‘world’ or ‘transnational’ literature, for reasons we will discuss.Beginning with the examination of shifting ideas and theories of the ‘literary’ in the module of the discipline’s development, it goes on to explore ten key thinkers and tendencies, starting with Nietzsche.These will include Freud, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Benjamin and Adorno, Structuralism, Blanchot, Derrida, Gender and Postcolonial Theory. Auden, Walter Benjamin, William Faulkner, Primo Levi, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Virginia Woolf.We will be reading the novels alongside both literary-critical constructions of postmodernism(s) and broader theoretical accounts of postmodernity.The aim of the module is not to isolate a definition of ‘postmodernist fiction’ through which the novels should be read, but rather to explore a range of sometimes contradictory theoretical paradigms and textual practices.In each seminar we will compare texts from both periods on the basis of genre and theme, and examine the ways in which individual texts relate to, derive from, or influence other texts.We will study the intense reactions to the deaths of the Romantic poets in the 1820s, shaping the early careers of writers who would later be read as Victorian; responses to the textual and material relics of the Romantic poets as a cliché of Victorian tourism; Wordsworth’s insistence on portraying simple people and rural life, and his influence on the novels of Eliot and Hardy; a revolution in literary language; gender and class identities and conflicts; versions of social and political radicalism in the wake of the French Revolution; publication in a changing literary marketplace; popular genres such as Gothic and sensation fiction.