MA Modern and Contemporary Writing

"My year at UEA was one of the best of my life"

In their words

Ian McEwan, Creative Writing Graduate and Booker Prize winner

Article

UEA has announced the launch of the British Archive for Contemporary Writing (BACW), which contains the extensive personal archive of the Nobel Laureate, Doris Lessing, and literary material from other prominent authors such as Naomi Alderman, Tash Aw, Malcolm Bradbury, Amit Chaudhuri, J.D. Salinger, Roger Deakin, Lorna Sage, WG Sebald and the playwright Snoo Wilson.

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This MA draws on UEA’s strengths as one of the largest and most distinguished departments for 20th-century literature in Britain and as the leading programme in Creative Writing. It offers a solid grounding in major works of 20th-century writing, while having two main focuses: the relation between the major writers of high modernism and contemporary literature, and between creative and critical writing. There are also opportunites to develop additional interests in neighbouring disciplines such as philosophy, film, anthropology and American studies.

We believe that the critical study of literature can also be creative, and that creative writing is always in itself an act of criticism. At UEA, literary critics and theorists rub shoulders and exchange ideas with practising poets, novelists, dramatists and biographers. As part of this course you will also benefit from access to the UEA-based British Archive for Contemporary Writing and the British Centre for Literary Translation.

Overview

The School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA has a long and distinguished history for its role not only in the study of modern and contemporary literature, but also in fostering its creation. Famous for its courses in creative writing, which since the late 1960s have educated many leading novelists and poets, the School has been home to many leading writers, critics and scholars, such as Angus Wilson, Malcolm Bradbury, W. G. Sebald, Lorna Sage, Denise Riley, Paul Muldoon and Angela Carter. It also hosts the British Centre for Literary Translation, founded by Sebald and Clive Scott. Alongside our continuing world-leading role in the teaching of creative writing and literary translation, we also boast one of the largest and most diverse groups of scholar-critics working on 20th- and 21st-century literature of any university in the world. 

Our course on Modern and Contemporary Writing is designed to draw on all these distinctive strengths. Through two core modules, Living Modernism and Contemporary Fiction, we place a special emphasis on the ongoing dialogue between modernism and contemporary literature, making this an ideal course if you wish to explore contemporary literature’s origins in high modernist writers such as Joyce and Kafka. It is also the perfect academic environment in which to discover modernism’s ongoing and problematic life in later writers, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Toni Morrison, Roberto Bolaño and Giorgio Agamben.

One of the optional modules on offer, Ludic Literature, will allow you to explore the origins of postmodernist writers such as Pynchon, Muldoon, Ashbery, Carter, Perec, Borges and Calvino in modernist and pre-modernist writers, such as Dostoevsky and Rimbaud. Another, Fiction after Modernism, draws attention to the critically neglected fiction of the period from 1945 to 1970, when novelists in Britain were working through the immediate aftermath of modernism. It includes well-known writers such as Woolf and Beckett as well as less well-known figures such as Elizabeth Taylor, Rosamond Lehmann, Ann Quinn and Anna Kavan. Our innovative optional module on creative criticism places modern theorists such as Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick in the context of contemporary writers including Anne Carson, Geoff Dyer and Denise Riley.

You will also be able to choose optional modules from among UEA’s rich offerings in translation, philosophy, American literature, film and creative writing, though we cannot guarantee that creative writing modules will always have free spaces, and you will not have access to the workshops in creative writing.

This course is unique in inviting you to explore criticism and creation through each another. At UEA we believe that reading and writing are or should be one, and distinctive optional modules such as Creative-Critical Writing and Ludic Literature will offer you the chance to develop your critical writing in ways that are themselves creative and artistic, through formal and linguistic experimentation, and through the modes of literary understanding such as parody, imitation and transposition that preceded the invention of literary criticism in the 20th century. You will also find yourself in seminars where your fellow students will be novelists, poets, playwrights, biographers and translators, as well as students of philosophy, film, and American literature. 

As a postgraduate here, you will be part of a vibrant mix of MA and PhD students who are engaged in modern and contemporary literature in a variety of ways, whether it be through producing critical studies of novels, poetry or plays or through writing their own. As well as being taught by prize-winning scholars and authors, you will also – through the UEA Literary Festival – encounter the foremost figures in contemporary writing today. Norwich is England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and there are poetry readings almost every week, as well as a vibrant culture of practising novelists and poets.

Course structure

This course takes one year of full-time or two years of part-time study.

At the heart of this course are two innovative core modules, one taken in the autumn semester, the other in the spring. The first of these is Living Modernism. The focus here is on the extraordinary experiments of the early decades of the 20th century (in writers such as Joyce and Kafka) and on the living legacy their inventive works bequeath to contemporary critical and creative writing (in the work of writers as diverse as Samuel Beckett and Walter Benjamin, Kazuo Ishiguro and Theodor Adorno, Denise Riley and Mladen Dolar). In the spring, the core course is Contemporary Fiction, a module which explores contemporary writing in its engagement with the literary conventions, cultural heritage, philosophical traditions and political ideologies it interrogates. The authors you will study on this module are likely to include some, though not all, of the following: Doris Lessing; J. G. Ballard, Lorna Sage, Tash Aw, W. G. Sebald, Ali Smith, David Mitchell, Salman Rushdie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, J. M. Coetzee, Michael Ondaatje, Hari Kunzru, Michel Houellebecq, Jáchym Topol, Aleksandar Hemon, Jenny Erpenbeck, A. M. Homes and Edmund de Waal.

In addition to this, you take two optional modules, one in the autumn and one in the spring. Those most frequently taken by students of Modern and Contemporary Writing (though frequently also taken by students on other MAs, such as those in Creative Writing, Literature and Philosophy, and Translation) are, in the autumn, Fiction after Modernism and Criticism/Critique, and, in the spring, Ludic Literature and Creative-Critical Writing. As a student on Modern and Contemporary Writing you will also be able, subject to limitations on numbers, to choose optional modules in related subjects: translation, philosophy, American literature, film and creative writing, though please note that you will not have access to the creative writing workshops in prose fiction; on occasion students have joined the workshop in poetry writing. You may choose from among the range of optional creative writing modules, including The Art of Short Fiction, Describing Poetry, The Writing of Crime/Thriller Fiction, The Theory and Practice of Fiction, and Adaptation and Interpretation. Two new modules being introduced this year, The Poetics of Place and The Non-Fiction Novel, are creative-critical and will appeal to those interested in reading and writing of these kinds.

If you are interested in working with translation and across languages, you can take seminars from the MA in Literary Translation, such as Translation Theory and History, or Process and Product in Translation. The course also offers optional modules that emphasize theoretical and philosophical concerns, such as Criticism/Critique and Philosophy of Literature, while students interested in American Literature can take modules from the American Studies MA offering, such as the new module on American Word and Image, which deals with literature and visual culture in America since 1945. There is also scope within this MA programme for students who wish to do an MA combining the study of 20th-century and Renaissance literature.

The programme concludes with a dissertation, which you will begin in the spring and complete at the start of September. You will work one-to-one with a tutor on a topic of your own choosing. This extended research project serves as the culmination of the work, both literary-critical and theoretical, you have conducted over the course of the year. Many students have used the dissertation as a testing ground for further study at PhD level.

Assessment

For each module, you will submit a 5,000-word piece of work; the MA dissertation is 15,000 words. You may also be asked to do occasional un-assessed pieces of writing over the course of each module.

Course tutors and research interests

Of all university departments of literature, UEA has one of the largest groups of critics working on modern and contemporary writing in the world: the scholars, critics and theorists working and teaching here include tutors such as Stephen Benson, Tom Boll, Jo Catling, Clare Connors, Thomas Karshan, Duncan Large, Anshuman Mondal, Jeremy Noel-Tod, David Nowell-Smith, Rachel Potter, Petra Rau, Cecilia Rossi, Karen Schaller, Jos Smith, Bharat Tandon and Matthew Taunton. You may also be able to take courses from novelists, poets and playwrights, including Tiffany Atkinson, Giles Foden, Jean McNeil, Rebecca Stott, Henry Sutton and Steve Waters.

Where next?

A number of graduates of this MA go on to PhD study, at UEA or at other universities in Britain and internationally. Other students have found the course helpful in developing their own writing in fiction and poetry, while some see the MA as a pleasure and an end in itself, and go on to a range of other careers.

Frequently asked questions

Can I do creative writing on this MA?

A strength of this MA is its interest in the relation between creative and critical writing. The two core modules are literary-historical and critical, but several of the optional MA modules, such as Creative-Critical Writing, Ludic Literature, The Poetics of Place, and The Non-Fiction Novel, are specifically designed to encourage work that bridges the distinction between the creative and the critical, while others make this possible. For the MA dissertation you may, if you wish, do creative-critical work. Please note that creative-critical work is work in which the creative elements are in some way advancing a critical project or in which the criticism is creative with respect to its form and language. This is not a creative writing course, though it may help you develop as a creative writer. If you wish to focus on writing fiction, poetry or biography, you should apply to the MA programmes in those subjects.

Is there any possibility to vary the course profile?

In exceptional circumstances we have sometimes allowed students to vary the course profile, as for instance where they wish to take two creative-critical optional modules in one semester. If you are interested in doing this you should get in touch with the course convenor, Thomas Karshan.

Can I audit modules in addition to those which I am taking for credit?

This depends on how many students are in the module. If the module is full, we do not permit auditors. Otherwise, it is at the discretion of the module convenor, and we do frequently have auditors.

How will I be taught?

For each module you will have one three-hour seminar each week. You will also have occasional one-on-one meetings with the teacher of that module. Before writing your MA dissertation, you will have four two-hour training sessions. To supervise your dissertation, you will be assigned a member of staff with whom you will meet over the course of the summer. (Please note we cannot guarantee supervisions throughout August of the vacation period.)

How many students are there in a seminar?

The seminar cap is 16, though in rare cases we have sometimes extended this slightly. Most seminars have between ten and 16 students.

How is the course different for part-time students?

You will do the two core modules in your first year, and the two optional modules and dissertation in the second year.

I have not done an undergraduate degree in English Literature, or not for many years. Will you consider me?

Yes; we regularly accept students from a wide range of unusual backgrounds. In these cases we may interview you, will look carefully at written work submitted and may ask for an additional piece of written work to be done as part of the application process.

How do you decide whom you admit?

In the cases of recent graduates in English literature, we expect at least a 2:1 and look carefully at your marks. For all applicants, we look carefully at your written work, your cover statement and your references. We do not have a fixed number of places to offer and consider each application as it is submitted; usually we take between eight and 16 students.

When should I apply?

We encourage you to apply between January and March of the year in which you wish to study, but it is possible to apply later than this. The University has its own deadlines for MA scholarships and if you wish to be considered for these you should be aware of them. The later you apply, the more you may find that we have already awarded places.

If I have other questions, whom should I ask?

You should email the course convenor, Thomas Karshan (t.karshan@uea.ac.uk).

Course Modules 2017/8

Students must study the following modules for 140 credits:

Name Code Credits

CONTEMPORARY FICTION

A COMPULSORY MODULE FOR STUDENTS ON THE MA IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY WRITING: Various attempts at (sub-)categorising contemporary fiction interpret it as a departure from previous aesthetics or a response to political or historical events or movements: post-modern; post-colonial; post-feminist; post-communist; post-9/11; post-millenial; post-national; even post-post-modern etc. As a prefix, "post-" suggests supersedence rather than novelty; at worst it is merely an aspirational syllable. Its proliferation co-exists with more conventional attempts at temporal taxonomy such as monographs and student guides dedicated to specific decades. One way of reading "post"-something-or-other is to think of it as an engagement with, and critical reassessment of, the past it so assiduously hyphenates: its literary conventions, cultural heritage, philosophical traditions, political ideologies, and - paradoxically - its long shadows way beyond the present moment. The manifestations of these engagements and reassessments can be rather contradictory. The memory boom of the 1990s put paid to claims about "the end of history" or skepticism over Grand Narratives. The renewed popularity of the (neo)historical novel and period drama also chafes against the recent turn towards trauma studies. The effects of new market forces, media and digital technology on the form of writing and the construction of the "author" could also be seen as one of the legacies of modernism. A focus on mindfulness, ethics and affect sits uneasily alongside the necessity for art to provoke and push boundaries. Expressions of the regional contend with an increasing awareness of transnational subjects, diasporic identities and global issues, and some of the most interesting writing today comes from 'the East' or writers with hybrid origins and hyphenated identities. Can fiction still be formally inventive and how might it enter into dialogue with other art forms (photography, sculpture, painting, cinema)? In the light of the critical and commercial success of 'creative non-fiction' we might also want to ask precisely how narrative can perforate disciplinary and generic categories. On this module we will attempt to construct a (naturally provisional, selective and incomplete) genealogy of the contemporary by examining some of the discernible trends and tensions of relatively recent writing (relative, that is, to the age of the convenor and the age of the students!). Much of this writing will be Anglophone but you should be prepared for adventures in reading translations. We will also do some work in UEA's newly founded Archive of Contemporary Literature: what and who is being archived according to which criteria, and what do archivists, academics and critics consider archival about the contemporary?

LDCC7020B

20

ENGLISH LITERATURE DISSERTATION

Students are required to write a dissertation of a length as specified in their MA Course Guide on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person.

LDCE7015X

90

LIVING MODERNISM

A COMPULSORY MODULE FOR STUDENTS ON THE MA IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY WRITING. This core module will introduce students to Modern and Contemporary Writing. It does so through the idea of 'Living Modernism', highlighting the worldliness of modern writing and exploring modernism's continuities in contemporary culture. After an introductory session focusing on some recent critical attempts to assert modernism's continuing relevance, students will spend five weeks reading James Joyce's Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse alongside critical essays exploring the texture and the worldly contexts of these modernist experiments. The second half of the semester will consider the living legacy of worldly modernism. Starting with a consideration of the 1930s and 1940s as key decades in literary-historical accounts of the 'end' of modernism, we will consider Djuna Barnes' Nightwood and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as different responses to the radical energies of modernist culture. This is partly a question of literary influence: Has modernism degenerated into a 'host of distinct private styles or mannerisms' as Fredric Jameson argued? And what is its significance for the critical theory of Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Giorgio Agamben and others? The other focus is on the persistent 'worldliness' of modern writing, as it continues to tarry with ideas of law and justice. With this in mind, we end the module by turning to Roberto Bolano's epic 2666, a contemporary novel with ambitions to compare with those of Joyce. The questions of whether, how and where modernism continues to live--which have elsewhere been posed as drily academic questions about where we draw the boundary lines between literary periods or movements--are taken here to have an urgent aesthetic, ethical and political significance for our contemporary moment. Authors explored will include James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, George Orwell, Jacques Derrida, Roberto Bolano, and Giorgio Agamben.

LDCE7007A

20

RESEARCH AND METHODOLOGY TRAINING SEMINAR

LDCE7009B

10

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

LDCE7012A - Fiction 'After' Modernism and LDCE7010A - Criticism/Critique are recommended to students on the Modern and Contemporary Writing MA course.

Name Code Credits

American Word And Image, Post-1945

American culture is powerfully visual. From the 'eyes of the world' judging Winthrop's City upon a Hill and Emerson's 'transparent eyeball' to advertising, art, TV and movies America is a culture of the image. But how do we read such a culture? This team-taught module examines the fecund intersection of word and image in post-war American literary texts, visual art, and popular culture in order to explore ways of reading postmodern America. The module will cover key phases, figures and texts of late twentieth-century American writing (poetry, comics, autobiography) in conjunction with contemporaneous art practices (Abstract Expressionism, Performance Art, Conceptualism, and Pop art). It will examine works that challenge the historic separation of visual and verbal, instead reading poetry, illustrated texts, artists' books, philosophy, conceptual art, painting, comic books, photography, digital media, installations and exhibitions as places where images and texts meet and are mutually enhanced. Students will learn about, and critically negotiate, key philosophical, literary, art historical, and art critical debates concerning post-modernity and post-war visual art in order to assess the powerful sway of word and image on America's imagining of itself in the late Twentieth Century. The module's overall aim is to investigate how correspondences between verbal and visual disciplines and practices affect both constructions of and reflections on modern American experience. The module will be taught in a number of two-week-long units with regular round-up sessions for the teaching team and students to consolidate and develop overarching themes and issues

AMAS7015A

20

BRITISH CINEMA: REALISM AND SPECTACLE

Discussions around the structure and aesthetic nature of British cinema often rely on claims of "quality", emotional restraint, and documentary realism. The influence of the 1930s British documentary filmmaking movement is seen as infusing elements of national visual production, including (but not limited to) narrative, style, acting, genre and industrial promotion. Applied across the history of British cinema, this approach has privileged only one strand of production and ignored other (potentially more potent) visual alternatives, notably ideas around the spectacular. This module will challenge the primacy of realism in British cinema by examining the ways that spectacle has been at the forefront of the British film industry for over a hundred years, despite its neglect within the critical establishment. Individual films, directors and movements within British cinema history will form specific case studies that offer further exploration of these concepts. There will be a consideration of the close relationship of the British film and television industries, and how aspects of realism and fantasy have moved across these different screens. Crucially, the module will also investigate the often disregarded trend towards British technological innovation (specifically colour filmmaking, widescreen, 3-D, video and digital production), creating an alternative heritage of British film spectacle.

AMAM7012A

20

CONCEPTUALIZING THE MEDIEVAL AND THE RENAISSANCE

This module introduces you to the ways in which material texts (both in manuscript and print) were transformed during the vital era from the emergence of print at the end of the middle ages to the close of the seventeenth century. How did the ways in which books were published change? How can we use the evidence of annotated books to reconstruct readers' habits and interests? How far did print transform the nature of the book? What happened to books as they started to become absorbed and classified within modern libraries? And how did manuscript documents -- especially letters -- enable the enormous boom in communication characteristic of the seventeenth century? How did the transformation of material texts create new possibilities for writing and thinking? The module equips you with the skills in early-modern archival studies that are necessary to tackle these questions. In particular, we spend a portion of each seminar learning how to read the handwriting of sixteenth and seventeenth century documents. The module culminates in visits to two archives in Norwich -- the Norfolk Record Office and the Norfolk Heritage Centre -- and your summative assessed work will take the form of a study of document(s) from these archives. The module is a requirement for those taking the 'Medieval and Early-Modern Textual Cultures' MA, but will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the most vitally important era of the transformation of the book.

LDCE7019A

20

CREATIVITY AND DEVELOPMENT IN FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCTION

The module is designed to introduce students to key skills in film and television development practice. It will provide an understanding of the processes of creative script and project development, including film and TV business, the activities of the market and dealing with bodies responsible for commissioning films and television programmes. Priority for places on this module will be given to students taking the MA in Film Studies.

AMAM7007A

20

CRITICISM/CRITIQUE

This module tracks the notion of 'Critique' in philosophical and political thought, as well as literary criticism and artworks' own self-reflection, from the late 18th century to the present. 'Critique', from the Greek term krinein ('to discern'), brings together questions of philosophical method, from the relation between concept and intuition to the project of understanding a historical moment through its cultural artefacts and practices; however, it also engages the 'criticality' of artworks: how they reflect on their own processes and socio-economic conditions. But if these various intellectual projects converge around a shared sense that they are doing 'critique', then it is not clear that political critique and aesthetic critique aspire towards the same thing; the concept of critique thus also permits us to grasp discrepancies and points of dissensus between different forms of intellectual, and 'critical', praxis. The module starts by providing a historical grounding in debates around 'Critical Philosophy', linking Immanuel Kant's 'critical' distinction of concept and intuition to German Romanticism's model of a 'literary absolute' in which literature actualises itself as 'critique', such that through its ironic relation to its own linguistic medium, it assumes the place of philosophy itself. We consider Hegel's responses both to Kant's critical philosophy and to the literary theorising of the Schlegels and Novalis, with readings from the Phenomenology of Spirit, the Logic and the Aesthetics, before turning to the development of Hegelian thought in Marx. Having established this basic historical narrative, we then trace the different intellectual projects and problematics that the notion of 'critique' opens up, from the 'critical theory' of the Frankfurt school through thinkers including Althusser, Fanon, Foucault, Braidotti, and Ranciere. Against this we encounter an alternative series of responses to 'critical' philosophy, notably via Heidegger, Deleuze, and Simone Weil. At the crux of these different approaches to 'critique' is the relation between different philosophical, political and literary intellectual movements, and central to this module is the question of how 'critique' extends beyond scholarly activity, whether it is the ways in which avant-garde art and poetics incorporate self-critique into their understanding of support, medium, process, etc., or whether it is in practices of political resistance. To this end, the module is overtly forward-looking, not only charting a contested history from Kant to the present, but also asking what forms future attempts at critique can, and should, take.

LDCE7010A

20

DESCRIBING POETRY

This MA module is compulsory for students taking the poetry strand of the MA in Creative Writing. It is also offered as an optional unit for students taking other MA programmes. We often think of poetry as a descriptive art, representing our experience of the world. One of the most important things it describes, however, is the experience of language. This module will consider some of the ways in which poetic language has been described in philosophy and literary criticism, and some of the poems in which it has described itself. It offers a historical survey of some of the major texts in Western poetics, from Plato to the Language poets, to be read alongside a range of poetic treatises in verse. Students will be encouraged to contribute texts from their own reading for discussion. Short writing exercises will also be set in class, in preparation for the final 5,000-word coursework essay.

LDCC7009A

20

FICTION 'AFTER' MODERNISM: RE-READING THE 20TH CENTURY

Fiction 'After' Modernism: Re-reading the 20th Century responds to the current reassessment of critical narratives about twentieth century fiction by restoring significance to a critically awkward phase of twentieth-century writing. Focusing roughly on the years between 1930 and 1980, we examine what it meant for mid-century writers to work in the wake of modernism. By thinking about mid-century fiction in terms of its own historical and aesthetic awkwardness, we will challenge the formalist distinction between experimental and realist fiction that has dominated the most influential work on the mid-century novel, and which has also stamped many post-war writers as irretrievably minor. In a similar spirit, we will explore how writers worked in the 'between' of modernism and postmodernism. Rather than produce a cohesive narrative about the period, we will examine how our writers engage with, and disturb, their own literary, historical and critical inheritances. This module is an opportunity to participate in an emerging critical conversation that is carving out new directions in literary study. Working through the period with special attention to previously marginalized (and in some cases forgotten) writers, alongside a selection of critical and theoretical texts, we will examine the ways our writers accede to, challenge, and disrupt our critical understanding of fiction after modernism. By re-reading the 20th century, this module offers an opportunity to participate in - and indeed contribute to - a still emerging critical conversation that is redefining twentieth century literary studies. Recent critics have expressed an "invariable sense of disappointment" with the aesthetic failures of fiction written 'after' modernism: but it is precisely the fiction these critics have neglected to read critically that is leading other scholars to radically re-think the stories critics have told about the period. The critical re-evaluation of neglected writers is pushing twentieth century scholarship in new directions, and creating new debates and dialogue about how we read the twentieth century. In this module, we join the conversation.

LDCE7012A

20

FILM STUDIES: HISTORY, THEORY, CRITICISM

The module is designed to provide students with diverse intellectual backgrounds and skills with a firm grounding in key approaches to the study of film and, to a lesser extent, television. It therefore provides a broad coverage of the range of methods employed within the study of these two media. Using American and British cinema of the 1940s as its focal point, this module will provide students with an overview of the main debates over the shape of film history, the processes of production, mediation and consumption, and different techniques of textual analysis. This national and historical focus is intended to provide an insight into the complex networks of competing and intersecting debates and factors that must be considered in undertaking MA research. Furthermore, extensive emphasis will be placed on the use and analysis of primary archival documents, some included in the reading pack, others distributed before or during seminars. The module is not intended to be exhaustive but is intended not only to help students learn about existing research on film and television but also to undertake their own analyses. This can be focused on 1940s American and/ or British cinema, but students are encouraged to apply the approaches and debates encountered within this module to other media (particularly television), national cinemas and eras.

AMAM7002A

20

HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT

This MA module examines in depth the works of selected thinkers who are seminal to the Western tradition of political thought, including Plato, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill and Machiavelli. Their work will also be compared thematically, with a focus on themes such as the natural law and social contract traditions, and other schools of thought which have been influenced by these traditions. The module will be based on the study and interpretation of key texts and will enable students to develop skills of textual analysis and critique. This is a compulsory module for students studying for the MA in Social and Political Theory.

PPLX7004A

20

LANGUAGE, CULTURE AND THOUGHT

This module is an introduction to some of the fundamental concepts in the fields of linguistic anthropology, intercultural communication and psycholinguistics. Since norms of behaviour are culturally defined and varied, the beliefs and values which underlie a culture's worldview will be examined from a variety of perspectives. Indicative topics are expected to include how culture is defined; models of explanation of cultural difference; the relation between language and thought and language and culture; verbal and non-verbal communication; miscommunication and intercultural conflict etc. The module is relevant to students from a variety of backgrounds and with varied interests and will provide useful background for the module "Intercultural Communication in Practice".

PPLC7010A

20

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE HUMANISMS: FROM CHAUCER TO SURREY

The new approaches to the studia humanitatis (the study of the humanities - art, literature, history, philosophy) pioneered by the self-styled humanists (umanisti) between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries are one of the most important and celebrated achievements of the Renaissance. They defined the terms by which humanists themselves most often distinguished their own work from the intellectual traditions of the medieval past and from the work of their (allegedly) more old-fashioned contemporaries. Humanism brought with it a new attitude to classical culture, to history, to the power and potential of literature, to the world and to our place within it, and yet it is characterised as much by rich continuities with older medieval traditions as it is by new departures. This module attends to these continuities as well as to the more well-known departures. It looks at the writings of the most influential Italian humanists (Petrarch, Boccaccio, Pico della Mirandola, Poliziano), at the medieval humanism of Chaucer and Henryson, and at the early-modern humanism of Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey, Gavin Douglas, and John Bellenden. Through close study of these authors' writings, the module probes the new intellectual and literary praxes of the medieval and early-modern periods: new and recurrent ways of approaching the past and of writing history, the differing imaginative and intellectual possibilities of anachronism and antiquarianism, shifts in practices of adaptation, translation and imitation and in the reception and transmission of ideas in manuscript and early print culture, and the tensions of 'Christian' and 'Civic' Humanism. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA but may also appeal to those with an interest in the classical reception or in practices of translation and adaptation.

LDCE7013A

20

THE ART OF SHORT FICTION

PLEASE NOTE: ENROLMENT PRIORITY IS GIVEN TO MA PROSE FICTION STUDENTS. Short fiction is too often defined in terms of what it is not - namely, a novel. Whether stories, novellas or experimental short fiction, short fiction is an art form in its own right. While acknowledging that there are no 'rules' as to what makes a good short story, we will look at the expectations and technical challenges created by the form, and in so doing to sharpen our analytical and critical faculties. This is predominantly a practical, workshop-based course oriented at writing short fiction, although students will also be asked to form critical opinions and perspectives on published short stories, the technical aspects of writing in the form, and on themes and trends in short fiction.

LDCC7013A

20

THE WRITING OF CRIME/THRILLER FICTION

This module will provide students with critical and creative knowledge of modern crime/thriller fiction, and is designed to complement the Creative Writing MA programme, but is open to students across the MA. Crime/thriller fiction, the world's most popular literary genre, is particularly subject to ever evolving conventions, expectations, precedents and sub-genres. Understanding the presiding logistical and thematic issues is fundamental to both the creation of and critical response to crime/thriller fiction. The module will analyse the developments and characteristics of the modernisation of the genre, through a symptomatic approach to authors, from Dashiell Hammett to Denise Mina, from police procedurals to psychological thrillers. Issues of literary worth, escapism and social context, particularly will be examined. A prior interest in the genre is not necessary, while there will be much focus on the structural aspects of the novel. Creative work will also concentrate on how to craft a convincing plot, creating believable characters, building narrative drive and suspense, and generating voice. Students will be required to make presentations on particular authors from the set texts, and to produce original crime/thriller fiction. Assessment by creative writing, fiction up to 5000 words, and/or an accompanying critical essay.

LDCC7011A

20

TRANSLATION THEORY AND HISTORY

This module explores key issues in the history of the theory and practice of translation in the West. We explore the changes in the cultural status of translation from ancient times to the present, analysing the ways in which translations have contributed to the reception of texts, and focusing on some of the political, theological and philosophical debates which translations have provoked. In the second half of the module we focus on a range of contemporary debates in translation studies. Students are encouraged to explore their own theoretical interests and present their findings in class. The module is compulsory for students on the MA in Literary Translation but can also be taken as an optional module by literature, drama and creative writing students, since there is no foreign language requirement.

LDCE7008A

20

WOMEN AND FILM

This module intends to explore and critically reflect upon the relationship between women and film whilst focusing on issues such as women's cinema as counter cinema; women's cinema as minor cinema; women filmmakers; international women's film festivals; the representation of women in film; female spectatorship, (fe)male gaze; sexuality; feminism and post-feminism in film; female subjectivity; female desire, feminist filmmaking. The module will focus on analysing contemporary films from a variety of national and transnational cinemas that may include Hollywood, British, Turkish, Japanese, Argentina, Palestine, India, Greece, Portugal, Africa and Brazil.

AMAM7008A

20

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

LDCE7006B - Ludic Literature, LDCE7004B - Creative-Critical Writing and LDCC7023B - Poetics of Place are recommended to students on the Modern and Contemporary Writing MA Course.

Name Code Credits

ADAPTATION AND INTERPRETATION

Critical reading and creative writing meet in the activity of adapting a text in one medium for presentation in another. The module focuses on dramatic adaptation, establishing a foundation in basic theory and then focusing on readings or original works and screenings. Discussions probe the choices offered by original texts and explore the possibilities and limitations inherent in different dramatic forms. In the later sessions, students will have the opportunity to workshop an adaptation for a final project.

LDCC7010B

20

CREATIVE-CRITICAL WRITING

Too often, academic critical writing seems to bring pre-packaged language to bear on works whose whole essence and aim is to change the ways in which we see and describe our world. And too often such writing fails to acknowledge the ways in which it itself necessarily participates in the literary 'creativity' it is also about. How, then, to write criticism? Criticism which responds inventively to the literature which it analyses? Criticism which registers, in its own form, language, method and thinking the ways in which it has been transformed by the work(s) of art it encounters? Criticism which recognizes that it cannot rest on received concepts and categories? This module aims to explore those questions. Over the course of the semester we'll read, ponder - and experiment with - a broad range of possible ways of practising creative-criticism, including the 'essay' form, auto-commentary, conceptual writing, criticism as performance, inventive 'theoretical' writing, and diaristic writing.

LDCE7004B

20

EAST ANGLIAN LITERATURE

Throughout the medieval and Early-Modern periods Norwich was one of England's most important cities - probably second only to London - and East Anglia one of the country's culturally liveliest and richest areas. This module explores the literature of these periods in its material contexts (the region's prosperity and power may still be seen in its architecture and in the rich holdings of its libraries and museums) and asks whether there was a specifically East Anglian cultural tradition. The module explores East Anglia's rich dramatic traditions, its devotional literature and practices (in orthodox forms and in those that brush against the heterodox), and, insistently, the manner in which its literature participates in its broader social and cultural worlds. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA but may also appeal to those with an interest in the cultural traditions of Norwich and East Anglia or, more generally, in the literature of place.

LDCE7002B

20

FANTASY GENRES

This module will develop students' engagement with genre studies through the analysis of a range of fantasy genres, focusing particularly on science fiction film and television, and its overlaps with horror, anime, blockbuster Hollywood franchises, etc. In the process it will require students to think about how these genres work in terms of their historical contexts of production and consumption, and analyse a range of texts in relation to a variety of social/cultural and political issues. In the process, the students will engage with a range of theories and methods, which will also be grounded through the examination of specific texts and historical case studies.

AMAM7001B

20

GOOD GOOD GIRLS AND GOOD BAD BOYS? AMERICAN FICTIONS OF INNOCENCE

Oscar Wilde wrote that 'The youth of America is their oldest tradition; it has been going on now for three hundred years'. Is this true? If so, why? This module will seek to account for the preoccupation with youth in America by focusing particularly on the concept of 'innocence', and by examining how various models of innocence are invoked and questioned in American literary texts. Drawing on a wide array of fictional and theoretical works, we will consider the following questions: What is at stake in America's investment in innocence? Major cultural events - such as the Vietnam War and 9/11, for example - are often described as representing a 'loss of innocence' in American culture. What power interests and ideologies are maintained by repeatedly describing America as 'innocent'? How is this investment in innocence revised in different historical moments? How is it challenged? With particular reference to fictions of growing up in America, how is innocence (and loss of innocence) depicted differently for male and female protagonists?

AMAL7000B

20

LUDIC LITERATURE

Play, or the ludic, is often listed as one of the main characteristics of postmodernist art, but what is meant by play is usually left no more clearly defined than what is meant by postmodernism. This course seeks to trace the evolution of leading postmodernist styles and themes, especially ludic ones, back to their origins in Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov. Using these enormously influential authors as a starting point, we will read a range of ludic authors, passing back and forth between languages, nations, and genres. Authors studied will include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, Raymond Queneau, Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Angela Carter, Paul Muldoon, and John Ashbery. We will examine these authors in relation to one another, and to their major pre-postmodernist sources, such as Carroll, Rimbaud, Mallarme, and Dostoevsky. We will also be reading theorists of play such as Schiller, Huizinga, Derrida, and Bakhtin. Central to the module is the exploration of play as a response to literature, and a way of creating new literature out of old, through the play of parody, imitation, transposition, and translation. We will be studying these ancient modes of literary response and performing them ourselves: all students will be encouraged to try their hand at parodying and imitating the texts we are studying, though this is not compulsory. Final assessment can take the form of a 5000 word critical essay or of a combination of a creative piece and a critical essay, to make up 5000 words.

LDCE7006B

20

PHILOSOPHY OF LITERATURE SEMINAR

In a collaborative seminar format, students explore together with the teacher a range of topics in the philosophy of literature. Topics studied typically include: the definition and purpose of literature; the status of fictional characters; the relevance of author's intention and the role of interpretation in fixing meaning; aesthetic evaluation, taste, subjectivity and objectivity; the value of fakes and copies; the emotional effect of literature; whether literature can convey truth and knowledge, and the relationship between aesthetic judgement and ethics. Students prepare a package of two essays relating to different parts of the course, preceded by formative drafts and essay tutorials.

PPLP7001B

20

PROCESS AND PRODUCT IN TRANSLATION

Throughout this module you'll produce translations in conditions that encourage and facilitate reflection on the process and product of translation. You'll be encouraged to think experimentally, not only about the forms a finished translation might take, but also about the ways in which process might be incorporated into the translation. The module will have a workshop format and will culminate in a series of presentations of the projects on which you and your peers have chosen to work. In a series of sessions preceding the presentations you'll devote your time to the discussion and hands-on tackling of practical problems connected with translation and the projects ahead. You'll attend one class meeting at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts and another at the Special Collections of the UEA Library. Throughout the semester you'll be encouraged to discuss a variety of texts, both critical and creative, that help illuminate the process and product of literary translation. You'll also be invited to circulate your own bibliographies (developed in relation to in-class presentations as well as the main project) to other members of the class, and to bring to our attention any text(s) you encounter that may be of particular relevance. Your final project will engage with the process of producing literary translation, and will comprise a scholarly discussion thereof illustrated by your own translations of a more or less experimental nature. The in-process project will be presented to the class for discussion and feedback in the second part of the semester.

LDCE7014B

20

THE NON FICTION NOVEL

Some of the most exciting and innovative fiction of the moment is in fact a hybrid form of fiction, borrowing subject matter and techniques from traditionally non-fiction modes such as memoir, criticism, journalism, reportage and life-writing. These novels depart from the usual concerns with character, realistic dialogue and plot to focus on voice, place, time, employing strategies of literary craft to be formally innovative. This course looks at original non-fiction and also at contemporary 'realist' novels which are pushing boundaries and gaining attention in the wider literary culture. We will study the forms, techniques and thematics of both non-fiction and fiction, with an aim to experimenting with and improving students' writing in both forms. Some writing in class and between classes will be required. The second half of the module will include workshopping student work-in-progress. This is a practice-based module taught by a novelist and non-fiction writer and aimed primarily at students on the creative writing strands but is also open to students studying for critical MAs.

LDCC7022B

20

THE NORTHERN RENAISSANCE, 1500-1620

This module sets out to understand why and how humanism -- the advocacy of the study of the humanities, the Greek and Roman classics -- gave birth to the astonishing outpouring of literature that we call the Renaissance. We will situate English Renaissance literature within the wider context of the humanist literature of France, the Netherlands, and Italy. Questions we consider include: how did the rediscovery of classical texts generate new possibilities for literary writers? How did humanists understand the nature of poetic creation? How did their advocacy of rhetoric create new ways for writers to engage with public life? And what happened when humanists turned philological methods upon the most sacred text of their culture: the bible? Authors studied include: Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus, Edmund Spenser, Joachim Du Bellay, Philip Sidney, Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Jean Bodin, Michel de Montaigne, and Ben Jonson. Foreign language texts are all read in translation. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA, but might be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain an in-depth understanding of one of the most dazzling periods of European literary history.

LDCE7011B

20

THE POETICS OF PLACE

This module explores innovative and experimental forms of place writing, from the critical and theoretical to literary and artistic. Among the critical and theoretical approaches that the course takes in will be such subjects as psychogeography, ecocriticism, critical heritage studies, deep mapping, animal studies, and literary activism. At the same time, it will consider a number of original works of literature from recent years, thinking carefully about the relationship between theory, method and form.

LDCC7023B

20

THEORY AND PRACTICE OF FICTION

This module is designed to complement the prose fiction workshop but is open to students on related programmes. It is intended to provide students with creative and critical knowledge in a single experiential burst, by exploring as they are relevant to writing fiction such topics as time, place, dramatic structure, character and concinnity. The unit also gives consideration to professional issues confronting novelists, from writer's block to editing, contracts and dealing with the media. The module presents the writer as both artist and supplier of intellectual property to a market, while examining that and other tensions critically. Reading, writing and analysis happen alongside each other. Fictional, critical and professional texts are examined, writing exercises illuminating the issue at hand are undertaken. Students are also expected to make presentations on topics of their choice. Assessment by creative writing coursework with a critical commentary.

LDCC7015B

20

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • CREATIVE WRITING NEWS

    Find out all the latest news from UEA’s Creative Writing community.

    Read it CREATIVE WRITING NEWS
  • War of the Words

    The pen really is mightier than the sword. New research by UEA Professor Rachel Potter brings to light significant changes writers throughout the twentieth century have made to international legislation.

    Read it War of the Words
  • UEA Literary Festival

    The University of East Anglia's first literary festival took place in 1991 and over the last twenty five years we have welcomed a host of award-winning authors, journalists, illustrators, scientists, economists, broadcasters and more.

    Read it UEA Literary Festival
  • Unlocking The Past

    How can the study of dusty manuscripts lead to the creation of interactive digital mapping tools? How does digitising globally significant medieval and early modern letters lead to donning walking gear and creating heritage trails across Norfolk?

    Read it Unlocking The Past
  • Why children’s books that teach diversity are more important than ever

    Bedtime stories aren’t just lovely endings to the day or a way to induce sleep, they are also a safe way to experience and discuss all sorts of feelings and situations.

    Read it Why children’s books that teach diversity are more important than ever
  • #ASKUEA

    Your University questions, answered

    Read it #ASKUEA

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent
  • Special Entry Requirements Sample of work - see below

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in each section and 7.0 in writing)
  • PTE (Pearson): 68 (minimum 55 in each section and 68 in writing)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact intopre-sessional@uea.ac.uk

Special Entry Requirements

A sample of your academic writing (for example an essay from your undergraduate degree).

Intakes

The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the Admissions Office directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550
  • International Students: £15,800

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards:

There are a variety of scholarships and studentships available to postgraduate applicants in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For further information relevant to the School of Literature and Creative Writing, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515