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MA in Philosophy and Literature

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  • Objectives
    The MA is designed primarily for those with a BA in Philosophy and at least one of the principal classical or modern literatures who wish to consider the interactions of their undergraduate disciplines. It draws both on the University’s well-established strength in this area and on the widely acclaimed Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts.
  • Entry requirements
    A candidate is normally required to have graduated with at least an upper second class honours degree in Philosophy and one of the Classical or Modern Literatures. Other candidates will be considered if suitable, but may be required to follow appropriate Philosophy BA modules.
  • Academic Title
    MA in Philosophy and Literature
  • Course description

    Course Outline

    One Core Philosophy module, ‘Literature and Knowledge’, plus two other modules from those available in the Department of Philosophy.

    Two Literature modules. These shall include one appropriate graduate module from the Department of English and one from the Department of French Studies, specially designed for the MA. At the moment this module is:

    Derrida and Literature

    The purpose of this module is to allow students to examine critically, and in some detail, the writings of Jacques Derrida on the relationship between philosophy and literature. Seminars will focus on Derrida’s reading of a series of canonic philosophical, theoretical and literary texts (including those of Plato, Mallarmè, Kafka, Blanchot, Poe and Lacan, and Joyce) and will aim to clarify the methods, strategy relevance and importance of Derrida’s work. Specific essays by Derrida will be studied in relation of the literary texts they take as their object.

    Interdisciplinary module. At the moment this module is:

    Benjamin, Brecht, Luckács, Adorno; In search of Revolutionary Modernist Aesthetics.

    The module will explore the aesthetic answers of four key Marxist thinkers to the problems of modernity. The literary work of Bertolt Brecht will provide the focal point. Beginning with the mutally influential relationship between Walter Benjamin and Brecht, the module will examine their attempts to develop a political aesthetics both in their theoretical writings as well as in Brecht’s plays and poems. This will be followed up by a discussion of Georg Lukács’ concept of realism and the “realism debate” with Brecht. The module will close with Adorno’s essay On Enlightenment, which deals critically with both Brecht and Lukács.

    A supervised dissertation of not more than 10,000 words.

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