Early Modern English Literature: Text & Transmission




Part Time, Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
Core programme content
Core module:
  • Dissertation

Indicative non-core content
Compulsory modules:
  • Working with Early Modern Literary Texts (taught at King's)
  • The Material Legacy of Early Modern Literary Texts (taught at the British library)

Option modules
Students must take two option modules.  Recommended options may include:
  • Family Politics in Early Modern England
  • Global/Local Shakespeares
  • Flatter and Fawn: Early Modern Drama and the Court
  • Professing Writing
  • Theatre, Gender & Culture in Jacobean London

Students may also choose from a wide range of option modules offered on other English Department MA Programmes, or modules from another departments in the School, subject to agreement by the programme leader.

NB This is an indicative list only.

Core and optional modules assessed by coursework, plus a dissertation.

More information on typical programme modules.
NB it cannot be guaranteed that all modules are offered in any particular academic year.

Module code: 7AAEM603
Credit level: 7

This module (taught by the British Library) introduces students to early modern manuscripts and printed books as physical artifacts and focuses on the main stages of their production, circulation and consumption. Special emphasis is placed on the agents involved in their transmission, including the authors, scribes, annotators, compositors and correctors, booksellers and bookbinders, who collaboratively produced manuscript and printed books, and the patrons, censoring authorities and the general book-buying public, who affected the way in which early modern books were written, published and distributed.

Although the primary theme of this module is the transmission and material legacy of early modern literary texts, this module considers a wider range of books, in order to help students establish how the publication and consumption of early modern literature related to other areas of the book trade. By the end of this course students will have learned how to produce and to interpret bibliographical descriptions of early modern manuscripts and printed books, how to identify and search major collections held at the British Library and other major research libraries worldwide, and how to reconstruct the transmission of literary texts in the early modern period and their afterlives in libraries and private collections since then.
Module code: 7AAEM641
Credit level: 7

This course makes students aware of the various forms of ‘publication’ through which early modern literary texts reached their target audience. Special emphasis is placed on the connotations, advantages and limitations associated with the medium of their transmission (manuscript, print, performance) and the influence of the ‘three houses’ – the great house (aristocratic patronage), the playhouse (the rise of commercial drama) and the printing house (the book trade and the rise of a literary market) – on their composition, their reception in the early modern period and their legacy for the modern reader/spectator.

Each class will focus on specific study-cases, which may vary from year to year, depending on staff research interest and availability. A representative list of dramatic texts may include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, King Lear and Henry VIII, Middleton’s Hengist, King of Kent; Or, The Mayor of Queenborough, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, and Ford’s ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Particular attention will also be paid to a range of early modern poets, including Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and Shakespeare.

Programme leader/s
Dr Sonia Massai, Department of English Language & Literature
Awarding institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
One year FT, two years PT, September to September.
Strand Campus and British Library.
Student destinations
We expect some students will pursue PhD level study in the area, leading to a teaching or academic career. Other students will be ideally placed for jobs in the arts, creative and cultural industries, curatorship and broadcasting.
Year of entry 2014
Offered by
Student studying