Early Modern English Literature taught with the British Library; a unique opportunity to study early modern literary works, including Shakespeare, in light of recent critical approaches and as print and manuscript material artefacts. Ideal foundation for doctoral work and careers in the arts, education, curatorship and broadcasting.
- A strong tradition of Shakespeare and early modern literary studies at King's.
- Unique access to unparalleled collections at the British Library and to the expertise of world-class curators, who will teach the core module and supervise some dissertations.
- Close links with the London Shakespeare Seminar, the London Renaissance Seminar, and with the Institute of English Studies.
- Located in the heart of literary London.
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.
Dr Sonia Massai, Department of English Language & Literature
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.
Year of entry 2013
School of Arts and Humanities
Department of English
Applicants may apply until 31 August 2013 but are strongly advised to apply by the end of April.
Please note that applicants wishing to apply for funding (e.g. AHRC) must submit their application by the relevant funding deadline, which is usually early in the year. Please see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/pg/funding/sources/index.aspx
for information on the available funding opportunities and deadlines.
No set number.
PT Home: £3950 (2013)
PT Overseas: £8125 (2013)
FT Home: £7900 (2013)
FT Overseas: £16250 (2013)
Postgraduate Officer, Centre for Arts & Sciences Admissions (CASA)
tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 2765 / 2232 / 7232
fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200
Taught with the British Library offering the unique opportunity to study early modern literary works (including Shakespeare) in light of recent critical approaches and as material artefacts (print and manuscript). Ideal foundation for doctoral work or for careers in the arts, education, curatorship or broadcasting.
This MA programme reflects an innovative and exciting partnership between the Department of English at King's and the British Library.
Its focus on the transmission of key early modern literary texts makes it unlike any other programme of its kind. Transmission is understood both as the circulation of literary texts in manuscript and print and their reception. Students will therefore learn to read early modern handwriting, to transcribe neglected literary manuscripts and rare printed texts and to edit them for the modern reader.
By focusing on transmission, this MA programme will also make students aware of the impact of the materiality of the text and of the material conditions of its (re)production on its interpretation. The specific process whereby a literary text reaches its readers or its audience is always central to its interpretation.
The core module taught at the British Library is specifically designed to teach students how to search collections of early modern manuscripts and rare books held in major research libraries worldwide and how to identify the agents involved in their production, transmission and preservation in libraries and private collections.
Core programme content
Indicative non-core content
- Working with Early Modern Literary Texts - taught at King's
- The Material Legacy of Early Modern Literary Texts - taught at the British library.
Students must take two option modules. Recommended options may include:
- Family Politics in Early Modern England
- Global/Local Shakespeares
- Middleton's Drama
- 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. For further information on the programme structure (for full-time and part-time study) and modules, please visit:
FORMAT AND ASSESSMENT
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.
Module code: 7AAEM664
Credit level: 0
Credit value: 20
Semester 2 (spring)
Teaching pattern: 1 two- hour weekly seminar (Subject to change)
1x 4,000 word essay (Subject to change)
In 1595, the Jesuit poet Robert Southwell was gruesomely executed for adhering to Catholic practices, in defiance of his family who begged him to save his own life by conforming – as they did – to the new Protestant doctrine. In a letter addressed to his father on the eve of his execution at Tyburn, Southwell denounced his parents and rejected their beliefs in damning terms. He would rather die than recant, and felt nothing but shame at what he perceived as his father's lack of courage. It is difficult to imagine a more striking, or deadly, example of inter-familial conflict.This course will look at issues that bring about conflict in Early Modern families, ranging from marriage, education, religion, and politics to incest, scandal and rebellion.
Semester 2 (spring)
One two-hour weekly seminar and one two-hour weekly viewing
1 x 4,000 word essay
This module focuses on the roles played by recent theatrical and cinematic appropriations of Shakespeare in an increasingly globalised cultural market. Students will be introduced to the history of Shakespearean reception within a selection of localities and cultures and will be asked to consider whether the steep rise in the number of recent Shakespearean appropriations and their significant role in mass-culture have transformed Shakespeare into a successful global logo or brand-name. Students will also be invited to establish whether Shakespeare has become a universalising force, through which the values of Western dominant localities are imposed on other cultures, or whether those who still choose to 'mean by Shakespeare' produce creative and radical intercultural exchanges.
Semester 2 (spring)
One two-hour weekly seminar
This module surveys Middleton's whole career as a playwright and his changing reputation over time. It focuses in particular on three key thematic areas: commercial London, in his comedies of city life and business; the court, in tragedies and other works on the ruling powers of his era; and gender politics, as attested by his distinctive cycle of plays whose titles advertised women as their subject. And it traces the many versions of his public identity: as a writer who enjoyed increasing popular success during his lifetime and was ultimately author of the greatest stage hit of his day, A Game at Chess; posthumously, as a writer whose works were scattered and neglected until the first collected editions in the nineteenth century; as a figure with a gradually resurgent profile since then, particularly after interventions by Lamb, Lowell, Swinburne, and Eliot; and now, as a playwright claimed again as a precursor by some writers of our day.
Semester 2 (spring)
One two-hour weekly seminar
1x 4,000 word essay
This module focuses on the rich and diverse range of literary and non-literary texts written in England during the early modern period (1500-1700). Textual production in the period was deeply affected by new printing technology and the establishment of the London book trade. While co-existing alongside scribal culture well into the seventeenth century, the production of printed books provided a living for a new breed of professional writers and created new reading markets for new types of texts, including plays written for the commercial stage, news pamphlets, non-conformist writing and translations of foreign and classical texts.
Semester 2 (spring)
1 two-hour weekly seminar
1 x 4,000 word essay
This module explores the relations of theatre, gender and culture in London in the reign of James I (1603-1625). We will read plays from the London stage as anatomies of Jacobean urban culture, reflecting on the shape and growth of London at this time, on the significance of the locations of the theatres, on patterns of exchange and credit, on religion and superstition and their dramatic ramifications, on particular year-long periods in Jacobean history and the ways in which the theatre dealt with current affairs, on the varieties of tragedy both in their Jacobean context and in the context of current critical theories, and on the ways in which Jacobean Protestant, patriarchal culture addressed a range of 'others' from women to Muslims.
ACADEMIC ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
General entry advice
Minimum 2:1 BA honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in English or in a subject in which English plays a significant part; other well-qualified candidates may be considered.
APPLYING TO KING'S
To apply for graduate study at King's you will need to complete our graduate online application form. Applying online makes applying easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.
King's does not normally accept paper copies of the graduate application form as applications must be made online. However, if you are unable to access the online graduate application form, please contact the relevant admissions/School Office at King's for advice.
Your application will be assessed by at least two academics. We do not interview all applicants, but you are welcome to call the programme leader to arrange a visit. We aim to process all applications within four to six weeks, although this may take longer in February and March, and over holiday periods.
PERSONAL STATEMENT & SUPPORTING INFORMATION
Please provide a personal statement as part of your application.
AHRC, Graduate School and School of Arts & Humanities scholarships, self-funded
Early Modern English Literature: Text & Transmission MA
During my undergraduate study at the University of California, Los Angeles, I had the excellent opportunity to study abroad for a term at King's College London. During that time, I was exposed to the university's first-class faculty, highly intelligent peer cohort, and the endless cultural resources that the historic city of London has to offer. As a result of this positive experience, I decided to return to King's for postgraduate study of Early Modern English Literature.
I cannot speak more highly of my course and the incredible learning opportunities it affords – as it is in conjunction with the British Library, my programme at King's offers my classmates and I hands-on access to the primary literature from the Renaissance that we could only discuss in theory before. Additionally, the small size of my cohort makes it very easy to receive one-to-one attention and academic guidance from our outstanding tutors.
Lastly, as I am an international student, and am required to pay a different fee class than home/EU students, King's accommodated this by awarding me postgraduate taught funding. The bursary I received from King's is exceedingly helpful, in that it allows me to make the most of my experience in London by easing the financial burden that higher education inevitably brings about.
After my programme, I plan to work in the publishing or digital communications industry, using the practical training on the book trade acquired by my course module taken at the British Library. I am confident that King's College London’s world renown will significantly bolster my accreditations, whether I remain in the UK or return stateside.