Modern & Contemporary Literature

The focus of the Modern & Contemporary Literature strand of the MA in Literature & Culture is writing in English from the Romantic period to the present. The strand is designed to foster the critical appreciation and understanding of the diverse forms of modern literature, and to address some of the most urgent and controversial themes in modern literature and culture, including globalization, capitalism, urbanism, gender and race theories, the body, memory, subjectivity, history and historicism, spatial and ecocritical perspectives. Authors studied may include such figures as William Wordsworth, Joanna Baillie, John Keats, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, J.G. Ballard, Iain Sinclair, Sarah Kane, and Patrick Chamoiseau.

It is for those who want to put a ‘capstone’ on their BA work in literature in English, but is also meant as a bridge for those who are considering a PhD in that area.  Largely taught through intensive small-group seminars, the MA is aimed at fostering subject-specific knowledge and skills, but also a range of transferable skills. In their core and optional seminars, participants explore the interaction between literary forms and social and political change, using a range of literary, historical and theoretical material; and they sharpen their skills in research methods. The minor thesis enables participants to bring the knowledge and skills they have developed to bear on a substantial piece of independent research.

Students who successfully complete this programme will typically have: 

  • Acquired a deeper knowledge of literature in English from the eighteenth century to the present.
  • Widened their sense of historical context and theoretical positions.
  • Enhanced their knowledge of literary and cultural analysis, including methodology.
  • Mastered advanced techniques in the use of archival and digital resources.
  • Strengthened their general abilities in argumentation and written presentation.
  • Further developed their general oral presentation abilities.
  • Learned to work autonomously and reflectively on research projects.


As well as the MA core Research Methods and Dissertation modules, students on this strand take the following specialist modules in modern and contemporary literature:

Core Modules (Semester 1)

ENG40720 Concepts of Modernity

ENG41650 Expressions of Modernity

Option Modules (Semester 2 - subject to change)

ENG41160 Approaches to Joyce

ENG41880 Reading Digital

ENG41760 Memory Cultures

ENG41860 Queer Frictions

ENG41850 Social Network Analysis & Fiction – Gender, Genre & Nation

More information and link to online applications HERE 

For further information, contact the Modern & Contemporary Literature MA strand coordinator, Professor Nick Daly (