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MA English Studies: Writing in the Modern Age

Course Description

Our MA in English Studies invites you to choose from a number of distinctive pathways through the programme.

Our Writing in the Modern Age pathway explores 20th and 21st century literature and culture. Its core module, ‘Modernism and After’, tracks the central debates that run through modern writing and criticism. What is ‘modern’ and what comes after it? What counts as ‘art’? How have relations between ‘high’ and ‘low’ altered over time? How does writing relate to racial or gendered ‘otherness’? How has writing rethought the politics of freedom and containment? How does literature change with new recording and distribution formats? How can criticism deal with creativity? These questions open up the last 120 years or so of literary and cultural innovation, and frame all the other modules you choose to take.

Writing in the Modern Age is a literature MA with an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural mindset. Our optional modules don’t just examine London or New York modernism, but consider how modernism looks from Cape Town, or Dublin, or Kingston, Jamaica. It offers a long view of the modern age, with modules from the fin-de-siècle to the very contemporary. Other modules on psychoanalysis, form, war legacies, and critical theory examine how intimately modern literary innovation has been bound together with the disciplines of modern self-understanding and group identity. All will help you shape your particular question for the dissertation, which you’ll work on one-to-one with academic staff during the final third of the year.

Visit the MA English Studies: Writing in the Modern Age page on the Queen Mary University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Martin Eve

1013.jpg Studied: MA in English Studies: Writing in the
Modern Age, graduated 2009

Currently: PhD candidate at Sussex University

Why did you choose Queen Mary?

Having previously completed my undergraduate
studies at Queen Mary, I was already assured of
the administrative and academic structures of the
department; they are excellent! I was also
fortunate enough to know, before I began, that I
wanted to continue in academia to write a PhD
on Thomas Pynchon but that, if I took the same
academic path as most studying this author,
I would likely end up with the same conclusions;
hardly innovative scholarship. Therefore, I opted
for a background in Modernism at Queen Mary,
an unusual path in my field, but one which has
allowed me to work with a different perspective to
others. The staff at Queen Mary were supportive
of this idea and supremely capable at every
stage of the course. Queen Mary is also a great
place to work. You have a beautiful campus
environment with all the benefits of Senate
House and the British Library right on your

What did you gain from your time at Queen Mary?

Postgraduate study greatly enhanced my research
methodology. The training in techniques for the
systematic study of literature in context has
contributed immensely to both my critical
thinking and research practice. The staff were
knowledgeable and dedicated. Without their
support throughout, I would not have succeeded
in my application for AHRC funding at doctoral
level, with which they were more than willing to
help. The MA environment is also highly
stimulating in social terms. The people on the
course are all there because they love the subject
and the common ground prepared by this shared
passion makes for an unparalleled learning, and
social, experience. In the end, I look back on my
time at Queen Mary as the ideal preparation for
my ambitions to enter an academic career.
Perhaps, if I'm lucky, I'll end up back there
one day – on the teaching side!

What are your career plans in the next five years?

I hope to complete my PhD in approximately
three years time and, at that stage, apply for
research and teaching posts in higher education.
In the meantime, I have just had my first
invitation to speak at an international conference
and am involved in the establishment of an
interdisciplinary online journal.


Entry Requirements

Most applicants will have an undergraduate degree with a first or good upper second class honours (or the equivalent) in English or such related fields as History, Cultural Studies and Media Studies.Where a North American marking scheme is used, applicants should have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.2. Promising applicants who do not meet the formal academic criteria but who possess relevant credentials and who can demonstrate their ability to produce written work at Master's level will also be considered. Applicants may be invited to interview or asked to submit examples of written and/or creative work.

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