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Course content

Our department offers a distinctively comparative approach to the study of literature; at Essex you don’t just study English literature, you study world literature in English. You explore literature across time, geography, and genre, combining scholarly research with innovative, practical ways of engaging with texts.

You grapple with the challenges of conducting research into Shakespeare and other early modern literature, acquiring specialist skills in archival research, palaeography, and the study of rare and antiquated books. You study materials on 18th century drama and literature, visiting the UK’s only surviving Regency Theatre to investigate how architecture affected the content of drama, and how drama reflected Georgian society. You have the opportunity to explore the history of genres such as the novel and lyric poetry, and study a truly extensive range of work; your reading takes you from African American literature, through Caribbean literatures, to the literature and performance of New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and London.

Our department is ranked Top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

At Essex, we have an impressive literary legacy. Our history comprises staff (and students) who have been Nobel Prize winners, Booker Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Our Department is a vibrant conservatoire of scholars and practitioners who are committed to unlocking creative personal responses to literature. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights, as well as leading literature specialists.

Our academic staff specialise in a range of areas including modernism, comparative and world literature, Shakespeare, the Renaissance, modernism, travel writing, nature writing, translated literature, cultural geography, Irish and Scottish writing, U.S. and Caribbean literatures, and the history of reading.

Specialist facilities

-Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society or at our department’s Myth Reading Group
-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
-Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at weekly research seminars
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting and performance skills at our Lakeside Theatre Workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

A good literature degree opens many doors.

We offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Dissertation
-Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis
-Georgian and Romantic Literature and Drama
-Early Modern to Eighteenth Century Literature
-The New Nature Writing (optional)
-Writing the Novel (optional)
-Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography (optional)
-Dramatic Structure (optional)
-Literature and Performance in the Modern City (optional)
-Adaptation
-Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital
-Film and Video Production Workshop
-Advanced Film and Industry: Production and Industry
-US Nationalism and Regionalism (optional)
-African American Literature (optional)
-Sea of Lentils: Modernity, Literature, and Film in the Caribbean (optional)
-Writing Magic (optional)
-"There is a Continent Outside My Window" : United States and Caribbean Literatures in Dialogue (optional)
-Literature and the Environmental Imagination: 19th to 21st Century Poetry and Prose (optional)

Visit the Literature - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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