The MA pathway in Eighteenth-Century Studies is an interdisciplinary programme for the study of eighteenth-century British culture which draws on modules in literature and history, and has contributions from all subject-areas in the Faculty of Humanities.
The MA pathway in Eighteenth-Century Studies will give you the opportunity to specialise in the culture and history of the long eighteenth century. It is taught by world-leading experts in the period who are as passionate about the subject as you are, and is linked to Chawton House Library, a unique collection of women’s writing. It will empower you to conduct advanced-level research and independent critical thinking; to make effective use of archives, manuscripts, and research libraries; and examine how eighteenth- century literature and culture shaped our understanding of education, class, sexuality, nature, economics, and more. Not only will you emerge with an internationally-recognised masters degree from a top Russell Group university, you will also acquire the critical thinking and writing skills that will give you the competitive edge, either as a future scholar or as a professional in areas such as secondary school teaching, librarianship, publishing and roles in the heritage industry.
The Eighteenth Century pathway allows you to specialise in the literary culture and history of the long eighteenth century. It is taught by world-leading experts in the field and has a unique link to Chawton House Library .
Our MA English Literary Studies (Eighteenth Century) will enable you to work independently in the field; to explore how genres, authors, and texts participate in wider public discourses concerning gender, sexuality, and class; and to evaluate unique archival resources specific to eighteenth-century studies. It will develop your knowledge and understanding of critical and research methods appropriate to the period; raise your awareness of the historical and critical reception of literature in the long eighteenth century; and empower you to explore the nuances of literary meaning in the contested cultural field of eighteenth-century public culture.
An MA in English Literary Studies is excellent preparation for a career in teaching, publishing and arts administration. Graduates of our programme go onto professional careers in writing (from journalism to fiction), education, international PhD programmes, teaching, broadcasting, and varied work in the creative industries. Former graduates and alumni return to give talks throughout the year, and you will help you make the most of the opportunities here.
A number of our graduates have gone on to careers in teaching, journalism, media and found the year-long course invaluable in shaping and developing their voice.
This MA pathway combines close reading of texts by a wide range of male and female authors with interdisciplinary study of the broader culture of the 18th and early 19th centuries, examining the period’s dramatic changes in literature and literary theory alongside developments in philosophy, politics, history, and other art forms. We explore the popular culture of the coffee house and tavern, the political world on the street and in parliament, the vocations of women poets and polemicists, polite society and its management of the emotions, epistolary culture, religious dissent, and the metropolitan life of London. We also study the influence of the Enlightenment, the origins and impact of the Romantic movement, the role of literary manifestos and defences, generic innovation and experiment, periodical culture, Romantic science and medicine, relations between British and European Romanticism, the French Revolution and its aftershocks, and the literary and artistic culture of the Regency.
The pathway combines specially-designed core and elective modules with the opportunity to select further options from across the whole range of MA modules on offer in the Department of English. You may also opt to take a cognate elective module offered by other Schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and by other Colleges of the University of London.
The Department of English has notable research and teaching strengths in both the eighteenth century and Romanticism, with the highest concentration of staff in these fields anywhere in London and one of the highest in the UK. Recently appointed staff in Romanticism include Pamela Clemit, an authority on William Godwin and Mary Shelley, and David Duff, author of Romanticism and the Uses of Genre and editor of The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism. They join Paul Hamilton, a renowned scholar and theorist of British and European Romanticism, James Vigus, author of Platonic Coleridge and series editor of the Henry Crabb Robinson Project, and Shahidha Bari, author of Keats and Philosophy and a well-known broadcaster.
Staff working on eighteenth-century topics include Markman Ellis, author The Coffee-House: A Cultural History and The History of Gothic Fiction, Chris Reid, an expert on Burke, Sheridan and the history of oratory, Tessa Whitehouse, author of The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-1800, Isabel Rivers, founder of the Dissenting Academies Project, and Barbara Taylor, author of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination. Matthew Mauger and Richard Coulton both work on the cultural history of London, their joint publications including (with Markman Ellis) The Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World and (with Chris Reid) Stealing Books in Eighteenth Century London. For further details see individual staff pages.
You choose three modules from a list of options that changes from year to year (one can be from the range of modules offered across the MA English Studies curriculum). In 2017-2018 we hope to offer the following. If members of our specialist research staff win research funding it will mean that their module won’t run, so for that reason this list is indicative only.
You may, subject to availability and the approval of the School, take one of your option modules from across a range offered by other Schools in the Humanities and Social Science Faculty, or from other Colleges of the University of London.
In addition to taught modules, we run a range of research seminars to which all MA students are invited. Some of these are linked to our interdisciplinary Research Centres, such as the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Centre for Religion and Literature in English and the Centre for the History of the Emotions.
Our Eighteenth Century Studies course is co- taught with the British Museum in London and by lecturers from eight different departments across Arts & Humanities, making it a truly multi-faceted degree, looking at all aspects of the eighteenth century.
You can explore the Enlightenment through race, gender, class, intellectual networks and material culture; analyse ideas, objects, texts and arts and have access to unique, diverse and rich collections in central London, all close to King’s, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Society, the Foundling Museum, and Sir John Soane’s Museum.
Our Eighteenth Century Studies MA is offered jointly by King’s and the British Museum. This collaboration means that we can draw on the expertise of scholars from eight Departments in the School of Humanities at King’s, and senior staff at the British Museum to offer exciting opportunities to explore 18th century textual, material and visual cultures. This MA consists of a required module, adissertation and (normally) four modules chosen from a wide range of options, including modules taught by the Departments of English, History, Comparative Literature, French, German, Music and Philosophy. The required module is taught in part by experts from the British Museum, with special reference to the Enlightenment Gallery and its history.
The required module Representing the Eighteenth Century explores constructions of Enlightenment, then and now, through frameworks such as race, gender, class, the body and intellectual networks. You will learn about the ideas of the Enlightenment and how it has been regarded subsequently. We will teach you how to analyse ideas, objects, texts and arts of the 18th century and, thanks to our unique collaboration with the British Museum, you will have the opportunity to research a wealth of 18th century materials under the guidance of world-leading curators and experts.
Provides teaching and research training in a wide variety of disciplines relating to the study of the 18th century. As the course will be offered jointly with the British Museum special emphasis will be placed on relevant collections held by that institution. Includes opportunities for training in any of the basic technical skills necessary for those who wish to go on to study for a PhD in 18th century subjects.
If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with six to eight hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week. We expect you to undertake an additional 34 hours of self-study each week.
If you are a part-time student, we will provide you with four hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week in your first year, and two to four hours per week in your second year. We will expect you to undertake 23 hours of independent study each week in your first year and 11 hours in your second.
Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
We assess our modules entirely through coursework, normally in the form of a 4,000-word essays. Your dissertation will consist of a 15,000-word essay.
King’s College London is regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England
The English Literature MA pathway is ideal if you don’t wish to be confined to a specific period or disciplinary area. It asks fundamental questions about our ideas of literature and how these might have changed over time.
The pathway’s compulsory module, ‘The Production of Texts in Contexts’, opens up these questions by looking at a broad array of literature from a variety of historic periods. It considers how innovations in printing and publishing have affected writing, and asks to what extent political and social change conditions and defines authorial identities and practices.
Apart from the compulsory core module briefly described below, students taking the generic English Literature pathway can freely choose their remaining three modules from all the other existing pathways and thus sample different topics from different periods. Below are additional links to those pathways that allow you to see the rich variety of staff research interests and specialisms.
The Production of Texts in Context
The Production of Texts in Context is a trans-historical module that ranges across many different literary periods from the early middle ages to the present day. The module is team-taught so students experience teaching by ten to eleven different staff members, each of whom presents a topic related to their own particular interests and period specialisms. The teaching team and the topics represented vary from year to year according to staff availability, with recent topics including Ballad and Carol (Alfred Hiatt), The Making of Paradise Lost (Joad Raymond), The Eighteenth-Century Newspaper (Chris Reid), Victorian Serialised Fiction (Matt Ingleby), Experimental Writing and Early Twentieth-Century Publishing (Scott McCracken), The Coming of Age Novel in Global Literature (Charlotta Salmi), Book Prizes and Literary Production (Huw Marsh), and Contemporary Graphic Narrative (Sam McBean). For the essay assignment students pick a subject relating to one of the topics and can seek advice from the relevant staff member. There is also a designated member of staff who acts as module convenor, sits in with students on the weekly seminars, and is able to offer general help and guidance.
You also choose one of the following
Researching Modern Culture; London Panoramas: Research, Culture and the Long Eighteenth Century, or The Material Text, 1300-1700
You choose three modules from a wide-ranging list of options that changes from year to year.
In 2017-2018 we hope to offer the following. If members of our specialist research staff win research funding it will mean that their module won’t run, so for that reason this list is indicative only.
Students may also opt to take a cognate elective module offered by the Schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and by other Colleges of the University of London.
In addition to taught modules, we run a range of research seminars to which all MA students are invited. Some of these are linked to our interdisciplinary Research Centres, such as the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Centre for Religion and Literature in English and the Centre for the History of the Emotions. Others are collaborations with other institutions, such as the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar. With visiting speakers from across the world, these seminars are an opportunity to meet other postgraduate students and members of staff and to learn about the latest developments in research.