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MA (Res) Early Modern Literature and Drama

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  • Objectives
    This degree provides an in-depth investigation into Early Modern English literature and drama. The programme will introduce students to methods of research essential to the study of Early Modern literature, including history of the book, manuscript studies, databases, and editing.The initial stages of the MA will also require students to think critically about the "Early Modern" as a chronological category in relation to notions of periodisation in Modern English studies.The optional modules allow students to specialise in vibrant current research interests, both within the field and within the department.This will include such issues as the place of the stage; drama and the contexts of its performance; early modern reconfigurations of identity; negotiations of gender, class and race; and writing and reading practices.
  • Academic Title
    MA (Res) Early Modern Literature and Drama
  • Course description
    Students on the full-time course will take the two compulsory taught modules in the autumn term:

    Materiality and Textuality will introduce you to the methods of advanced study and research; this will include issues such as manuscripts and archives, palaeography, bibliography, databases, editorial practice, and how to choose and define a dissertation topic. The University of Reading is home to world-renowned collections – most notably the Beckett Archive – and this module will involve working with rare and valuable cultural documents of various kinds.You will have the opportunity to create your assessment for this module in line with your particular interests: this might involve, for instance, tracing the circulation and print history of an early modern text, or editing a Virginia Woolf letter.

    Modern English Studies  will focus on some of the key terms, ideas, and events that have been used to conceptualise English Studies in recent times. The module begins with thinking about the organisation of study into periods: what are the implications of organising study around such terms as "Renaissance," "Victorian," or "Modern"? What happens if we try to think around or against such categories, and how do these categories sustain or otherwise interact with ideas of class, sexuality, nation, race, or form? After a series of plenary debates on these issues with students taking other MAs, students on the Modern and Contemporary MA will take further seminars on histories and theories of modernity, postcolonialism, and trans- and post-nationalisms. The final seminar of this module takes the form of a study-visit to the Tate Modern.

    In the spring term, you will choose two options from:

    -Identity and Otherness in the Early Modern Period
    -The Unruly Stage in Shakespeare's London
    -Early Modern Reading and Writing

    We cannot guarantee that all modules will be available in any given year; availability will be determined to some extent by student choice. If you have a strong, longer-term research interest in a topic that is not available as a taught course in your year of study, you may be able to take the option as a "guided study" module.

    The final element of the MA is the Dissertation module. At the start of the summer term, and in consultation with the programme director, you will be assigned a dissertation supervisor. Your supervisor will guide you in researching and framing your dissertation project.

    Part-time students are also strongly encouraged to apply for this MA. On the part-time schedule, you will take Modern English Studies in your first term, and Materiality and Textuality in your third term. You will take specialised options in your second and fourth terms

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