MA Modern and Contemporary Writing (Part time)

"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.

Read It
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. 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). Contemporary Fiction, 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. 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 Fiction after Modernism,  Criticism/Critique, 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. 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 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 20 credits:

Name Code Credits

LIVING MODERNISM

This core module will introduce you to the MA in Modern and Contemporary Writing. Living Modernism will consider a range of modernist texts in relation to aesthetics, politics and transnationalism. The course asks you to investigate the historical conditions of transnational cultural production, particularly in relation to the venues of textual publishing, dissemination, translation and reception. We will also explore modernist writing as a product of cosmopolitan metropolitan centres - of London, Dublin, Paris, New York and Berlin - and read modernist texts as thematic and formal engagements with cosmopolitan - and metropolitan - subject positions and styles. Finally, you will be encouraged to consider modernism in relation to post-First World war political internationalism and to investigate the adoption and twisting of modernist cosmopolitan literary techniques to disclose the intellectual implications of enforced exile, estrangement and persecution. Authors discussed might include James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, Jean Rhys, T. S. Eliot and Mina Loy.

LDCE7007A

20

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

CONTEMPORARY FICTION

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. Much of this writing will be Anglophone but you should be prepared for adventures in reading translations. We will also have the opportunity to 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

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 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 the ways in which it has been transformed by the work(s) of art it encounters? Criticism which recognises that it cannot rest on received concepts and categories? In this module you'll explore these 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, inventive 'theoretical' writing, and diaristic writing. Your assessed work for the module will be in two parts: a piece of creative-critical writing of your own and a critical reflection on a particular aspect of the theory and practice of creative criticism.

LDCE7004B

20

LUDIC LITERATURE

The aim of this mixed creative-critical module is twofold: both to explore together some of the major works of playful or 'ludic' modern literature across various languages, and to develop our appreciation of style and form by practising various forms of writing that are themselves ludic: creative imitation, parody, transposition from one style and form to another, creative translation. In play, we will find, the boundary between the 'creative' and the 'critical' becomes unclear. The module is generally taken by a mix of students from the various critical and creative writing MAs, as well as by students in Literature and Philosophy. On the 'critical' side, the module traces the evolution of leading postmodernist styles and themes, especially ludic ones, back to their origins in Dostoevsky, Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov. Using these enormously influential authors as a starting point, we read a range of ludic authors, passing back and forth between languages, nations, and genres. Each week we usually pair two authors. In previous years we have studied, for example, Dostoevsky against Nabokov, Kafka against Borges, Perec against Queneau and Calvino, Carter against Coover, Muldoon against Heaney, Pynchon against Barthelme, and Ashbery against Mallarme. There is also a strong philosophical element of the module, you will be encouraged to explore the philosophical theory of aesthetic play in Kant, Schiller, and Nietzsche, and later in Huizinga and Derrida. On the 'creative' side in previous years we have, for example, read Kafka's short tales against Borges's re-writings of them, tried to write like Kafka or Borges, turned a Kafka story into a Dostoevsky paragraph or a Nabokov poem, explored the various translations of these authors, and played with re-translating them. We have taken a story by Coover and re-written it as a sestina, two kinds of sonnet, and a villanelle. In doing all this, we are asking fundamental questions not only about play but also about style and form, how they shape meaning and make possible certain kinds of writing and thinking. We are also returning to the way in which literature was studied, and creative writing engendered, before the invention of professional literary criticism and creative writing courses in the twentieth century. 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

Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits

ENGLISH LITERATURE DISSERTATION

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

LDCE7015X

90

RESEARCH AND METHODOLOGY TRAINING SEMINAR

This module introduces you to some of the challenges, possibilities, and productive practices of independent graduate research in preparation for your work on the dissertation. It is tailored to the distinctive approaches and emphases of your particular MA programme.

LDCE7009B

10

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Criticism/Critique (LDCE7010A) and Fiction 'After' Modernism (LDCE7012A) are recommended Autumn Modules for students on the Modern and Contemporary Writing MA.

Name Code Credits

BRITISH CINEMA: REALISM AND SPECTACLE

What is British Cinema in the 21st century? A succession of global blockbuster successes such as the Harry Potter and James Bond franchises - or smaller, home-grown films that are aimed at a domestic market? The key to understanding the current state of the British film industry lies in the unique history of that industry, and the films, genres, and movements it has produced. It is an industry caught between different roles: wanting to speak to the world, but also producing films that speak to the 'British' character; aesthetically torn between European artistry and Hollywood commercialism. You will study how two different aspects of British cinema - described as 'realism and tinsel' (or spectacle) - move between claims of "quality", emotional restraint, and documentary realism and visually extravagant, excessive and generic pleasures. You'll focus on key genres and industry trends - heritage, social realism, comedy, the 1930s British documentary movement, the 1960s 'New Wave' - that recur in the modern era, and exert a powerful hold on how British cinema is imagined. The consideration of realism alongside spectacle will allow you to consider why one has been privileged over the other, to explore those 'other' (potentially more potent) visual alternatives, and give you a better understanding of how claims of 'realism and tinsel' have clashed and co-existed within aesthetic and critical debates around British cinema. Using individual case study topics from the wealth of British cinema history, you will explore concepts of genre, authorship, class, and stardom. You'll also investigate the British response to technological innovations such as sound, colour, widescreen/3-D, and special effects, creating an alternative heritage of what counts as 'British cinema'.

AMAM7012A

20

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE BOOK: 1500-1700

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? You will be equiped with the skills in early-modern archival studies that are necessary to tackle these questions. In particular, you will 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.

LDCE7019A

20

FILM AND TELEVISION BUSINESS: CREATIVITY, FINANCE, AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT.

Unlike some other art forms, film and television drama productions are significantly influenced by the marketplaces in which they operate. The study of film and learning to be a film-maker is not complete without an understanding of how the film business works. In this module you'll be provided with a thorough and practical understanding of the processes of creative script and project development; the workings of the independent film business; the difference between studio films and independent films; the influence of the marketplace on project development; the importance of genre and different types of film; the skills of identifying and pitching a good story idea; and how producers deal with the organisations responsible for commissioning or financing films and television drama. By the end of the module you'll know how films and TV dramas get dreamt up, how they get pitched, and how they get financed. You will learn how the industry actually works. 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

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 contemporary writers, to be read alongside a range of poems. You will be encouraged to contribute texts from their own reading for discussion. Short formative exercises will also be set in class, in preparation for the final 5,000-word coursework essay or portfolio coursework of 2,000-word book review and 3,000-word 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 20th century fiction by restoring significance to a critically awkward phase of 20th century writing. Focusing roughly on the thirty years either side of 'mid-century', we examine what it means to read these writers work in the wake of modernism. 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. This module offers you an opportunity to participate in - and indeed contribute to - a still emerging critical conversation that is redefining 20th- century literary studies. Some 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 20th century scholarship in new directions, and creating new debates and dialogue about how we read the 20th century, we join the conversation.

LDCE7012A

20

FILM STUDIES: HISTORY, THEORY, CRITICISM

How can different theories and approaches change the way we understand film? This module provides you with a firm grounding in key theoretical and historical approaches to studying cinema and film, allowing you to navigate the complex networks of competing and intersecting debates that must be considered in undertaking postgraduate research. There will be extensive emphasis on the use and analysis of primary archival documents, equipping you with the skills to undertake your own analyses. At the end of the module the you will undertake independent research that poses new questions and offers new perspectives in an area of film studies that interests them.

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.

PPLX7004A

20

LANGUAGE, CULTURE AND THOUGHT

Do you want to understand the relations between language, culture and thought? This module will give you an insight into some aspects of Linguistic Anthropology, Psycholinguistics, and Applied Linguistics. You will look at language and linguistic issues from different perspectives in relation with culture and mind. You will be able to understand aspects of cross-cultural variation in verbal and non-verbal communication, acculturation and culture shock, multilingualism and second language acquisition, and differences in the encoding of meaning. You will take part in classroom-based activities in pairs and small groups. You will be assessed at the end of term with an essay. This module will provide you with intercultural awareness and a deeper understanding of the differences among languages and cultures.

PPLC7010A

20

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE HUMANISMS: FROM CHAUCER TO SURREY

This module aims to introduce you to the rich and important complexity of medieval humanism and to the distinctive turns that mark the beginnings of a new Renaissance humanism. Such an aim, of course, at once implies a series of attendant questions: what is humanism (and what was medieval humanism)? In what ways was Renaissance humanism different from medieval humanism and what is the relationship between the continuities and the new departures? And why orient an approach to medieval and Renaissance culture about 'humanism' at all? These questions, then, also lie at the heart of the module. We start from the central proposition that 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 constitute one of the most important achievements of the Renaissance. They defined the terms by which Renaissance 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. What, though, did medieval humanism really look like and what precisely did Renaissance humanism bring that was new? Our focus will be on five vernacular English and Scottish writers: Chaucer, Lydgate, Henryson, Douglas, and Bellenden (Surrey's translation of Books 2 and 4 of the 'Aeneid' offers a neat terminus and foil to Chaucer's earlier Virgilian versions, but we shall find that the translations of Douglas and Bellenden more richly reward our attention). From the freer reworkings of Chaucer and Henryson to the translations and scholarly excavations of Douglas and Bellenden, perhaps. Or from the classical past as an emblem of tragic self-destructiveness in Chaucer's Troy and Thebes to new and revitalising political possibilities found within Livy's Republican Rome by Bellenden? We focus on the period from the 1380sto the 1530s, but it will take us often to France and, more often still, to Italy. It will require us to open windows onto the medieval reception of the classical legacy from the 5th century to the 16th (as well as onto the classical works themselves), we bring together disparate materials, placing poems and plays alongside university syllabi and the book-lists of late-medieval libraries.

LDCE7013A

20

THE ART OF SHORT FICTION

What is a short story? Is it more than a story that is short? And if it is, what is the more and how might it be written? These are just some of the questions you'll grapple with, in the course of a semester studying one of the most alluring and elusive of literary forms. On this module we'll explore the short story's intoxicating power together . Of course, there's no single 'correct' way of writing a short story, but there are things worth knowing about, not least because the short story is such a particular form: it both asks for and gives very different things, both to the writer and to the reader. You'll be exposed to a wide range of work by writers from across the world. In the course of your reading and your discussions, you'll uncover some of the form's many shapes, its technical challenges, its limitless potential. In so doing, you'll sharpen both your creative and your critical faculties. While this is predominantly a practice-based course - intended to improve your ability to write short fictions - such is the nature of the form that an understanding of its history and its theory is unquestionably beneficial, not to say generative - as you will discover, short stories are very often in conversation with themselves. Although most of the stories you read will be relatively contemporary, the module will also attempt to historicise the form, attempting to sketch a sense of its development. In the end reading and writing are the best ways to 'learn' to write short stories and you'll be encourage to do this as much as possible, with time set aside for writing and/or workshopping throughout the semester, enabling your thinking and theorising to be put into immediate practice. All of which is done to enable you to write the best short fiction you're capable of writing at this time. By the end of the course, not only will you have developed a significant body of work in the form of sketches and drafts, but you'll have developed a grounding in short fiction theory, enabling you to articulate a sense of your understanding of this most intoxicating literary form.

LDCC7013A

20

THE WRITING OF CRIME/THRILLER FICTION

This module provides you with critical and creative knowledge of modern crime/thriller fiction, and is designed to complement the Creative Writing MA programme. 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. In the module you will analyse the developments and characteristics of the modernisation of the genre, through a symptomatic approach to authors such as James M Cain, Patricia Highsmith, Tana French, and Marlon James, 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. Your creative work will also concentrate on how to craft a convincing plot, creating believable characters, building narrative drive and suspense, and generating voice. There will be a chance for you to workshop work-in-progress, as you produce your original crime/thriller fiction.

LDCC7011A

20

TRANSLATION THEORY AND HISTORY

You'll explore key issues in the history of the theory and practice of translation in the West. You'll 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 you'll focus on a range of contemporary debates in translation studies. You're encouraged to explore your own theoretical interests and present your findings in class. There is no foreign language requirement, and all materials are read in English.

LDCE7008A

20

WOMEN AND FILM

Why are women still under-represented within film? Why are women filmmakers still struggling to get their creative visions on screens? Our intention is 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. We 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:

Contemporary Fiction (LDCC7020B), Creative-Critical Writing (LDCE7004B) and Ludic Literature (LDCE7006B) are recommended Spring Semester modules for students on the Modern and Contemporary Writing MA.

Name Code Credits

ADAPTATION AND INTERPRETATION

Critical reading and creative writing collide when adapting a text for performance in another medium. The very process forces a string of questions: Is it possible to separate a story from its expression? What, if any, are the obligations owed to the source text? Must the adaptation always be 'secondary'? Can we define a 'good' adaptation? The questions only grow more interesting if we consider changes in reception and more complex when we alter era or cultural setting. This module focuses on key questions in dramatic adaptation, establishing a foundation in basic theory and then focusing on readings of source works and screenings or performances of adaptations. Seminar discussions probe the choices offered by original texts and explore the possibilities and limitations inherent in different forms. In the later sessions, you will have the opportunity to workshop an adaptation for a final project. Writers are expected to produce scripts, while theatre directors will have to option to produce a script or a performance. The module is a must for scriptwriters, but no prior scriptwriting experience is necessary as the seminars teach the basic techniques of dramatic writing. Class workshop will further develop skills in the specific dramatic forms.

LDCC7010B

20

CONTEMPORARY FICTION

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. Much of this writing will be Anglophone but you should be prepared for adventures in reading translations. We will also have the opportunity to 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

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 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 the ways in which it has been transformed by the work(s) of art it encounters? Criticism which recognises that it cannot rest on received concepts and categories? In this module you'll explore these 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, inventive 'theoretical' writing, and diaristic writing. Your assessed work for the module will be in two parts: a piece of creative-critical writing of your own and a critical reflection on a particular aspect of the theory and practice of creative criticism.

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. You will explore 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 ask whether there was a specifically East Anglian cultural tradition. You will explore 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.

LDCE7002B

20

FANTASY GENRES

This module will develop your 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, epic fantasy and blockbuster Hollywood franchises. In the process, you'll be required to think about how these genres work in terms of their textual codes and conventions, their historical contexts of production and consumption, and to analyse a range of texts in relation to a variety of social/cultural and political issues. You'll 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 aims to account for the preoccupation with youth in America, focusing particularly on the concept of 'innocence'. Drawing on a wide array of fictional and theoretical works, you'll consider the following questions: What is at stake in America's investment in innocence? 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? How is innocence (and loss of innocence) depicted differently for female, male, white and non-white protagonists? At the end of this module, you'll have had the opportunity to reflect on these questions in seminars, and pursued your own interests in assessed work (presentation and essay). You will also have developed your communication, writing and research skills.

AMAL7000B

20

LUDIC LITERATURE

The aim of this mixed creative-critical module is twofold: both to explore together some of the major works of playful or 'ludic' modern literature across various languages, and to develop our appreciation of style and form by practising various forms of writing that are themselves ludic: creative imitation, parody, transposition from one style and form to another, creative translation. In play, we will find, the boundary between the 'creative' and the 'critical' becomes unclear. The module is generally taken by a mix of students from the various critical and creative writing MAs, as well as by students in Literature and Philosophy. On the 'critical' side, the module traces the evolution of leading postmodernist styles and themes, especially ludic ones, back to their origins in Dostoevsky, Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov. Using these enormously influential authors as a starting point, we read a range of ludic authors, passing back and forth between languages, nations, and genres. Each week we usually pair two authors. In previous years we have studied, for example, Dostoevsky against Nabokov, Kafka against Borges, Perec against Queneau and Calvino, Carter against Coover, Muldoon against Heaney, Pynchon against Barthelme, and Ashbery against Mallarme. There is also a strong philosophical element of the module, you will be encouraged to explore the philosophical theory of aesthetic play in Kant, Schiller, and Nietzsche, and later in Huizinga and Derrida. On the 'creative' side in previous years we have, for example, read Kafka's short tales against Borges's re-writings of them, tried to write like Kafka or Borges, turned a Kafka story into a Dostoevsky paragraph or a Nabokov poem, explored the various translations of these authors, and played with re-translating them. We have taken a story by Coover and re-written it as a sestina, two kinds of sonnet, and a villanelle. In doing all this, we are asking fundamental questions not only about play but also about style and form, how they shape meaning and make possible certain kinds of writing and thinking. We are also returning to the way in which literature was studied, and creative writing engendered, before the invention of professional literary criticism and creative writing courses in the twentieth century. 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 or group-study format, you'll explore (together with the teacher) a range of topics in the philosophy of literature. Topics that you'll study will 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. You'll 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. You will look at original non-fiction and also at contemporary 'realist' novels which are pushing boundaries and gaining attention in the wider literary culture. You will study the forms, techniques and thematics of both non-fiction and fiction, with an aim to experimenting with and improving your writing in both forms. Some writing in class and between classes will be required.

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? Our work will focus on the writings of Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus, and Michel de Montaigne, but there will be opportunities to read far more widely in the Renaissance literature of the period. Foreign language texts are all read in translation. The 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 will allow you to explore innovative and experimental forms of place writing, from the critical and theoretical to the literary and artistic. You'll study critical and theoretical approaches such as (though this may be subject to small changes each year) psychogeography, ecocriticism, critical heritage studies, deep mapping, animal studies, and literary activism. At the same time, you'll consider a number of original works of literature from recent years, thinking carefully about the relationship between theory, method and form. Some of the authors that you'll consider (though this may be subject to small changes each year) are: Richard Mabey, Alice Oswald, W.G. Sebald, R.F. Langley, Italo Calvino, Kei Miller, Sue Clifford and Angela King, Tim Robinson, Paul Farley, Kathleen Jamie, Iain Sinclair, and J.A Baker. During the module, you'll explore some of the following questions: how have different ways of 'framing' place influenced the sense of cultural identity associated with that place? What role might literature play in this? How might recent developments in theory and practice inform your own methods of place writing? How might they encourage you to experiment with new methods? What surprising literary forms might this lead to? And finally, what new ideas might this prompt about publication, exhibition and public engagement? On this module, you'll not only gain a strong foundation in debates concerning literature's relationship to the environment, to heritage, and to ideas of community but you'll engage with these debates following your own line of inquiry, and/or through your own developing practice, in ways that will equip you to take on similar projects after the MA as well.

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. You'll be provided 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. We'll also give 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. You'll examine fictional, critical and professional texts, and write exercises illuminating the issue at hand. Assessment is by creative writing coursework with a critical commentary and you'll also be expected to make presentations on topics of your choice.

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
  • ENHANCE YOUR CAREER CHOICES

    Whether you want to diversify or specialise – explore your options.

    Read it ENHANCE YOUR CAREER CHOICES

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) of up to 3000 words.

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