Trinity College Dublin
Modern & Contemporary Literary Studies
The study of literature is never just one thing. Modern literary culture is diverse, exciting, complex and rich. Trinity College Dublin's School of English is proud to offer a taught master's degree which grows out of and embraces this multiplicity, the M.Phil. in Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies. Here at Trinity, our School of English has internationally recognized strengths in national and international Anglophone literatures, in canonical and popular literary forms, and in material literary culture and book history.
The course offers graduates in English and related disciplines (such as History, Art History and Modern Languages) the opportunity to explore over two centuries of anglophone writing and literary history. You will be introduced to key texts, authors and ideas from the nineteenth century through to the contemporary moment. You will shape your own distinct programme of study through a variety of option modules. You will also undertake a substantial piece of independent research in the form of a dissertation. At Trinity you will join a supportive and dynamic community of students, scholars, and writers in a world-leading English department right at the heart of one of the world's great literary cities. You will also have access to the outstanding library and archival collections of our world-famous copyright library, which could form the basis for your own fundamental research.
The centrepiece of the course is the 'Perspectives in Modern and Contemporary Literature' module. Covering a range of texts and genres, contexts and concepts, this addresses some of the major trends in literary history and criticism from 1800 to the present. Further grounding in issues of importance to studying and researching English literature at postgraduate level is provided through the 'Research Skills for Postgraduate English' and 'Mapping the Literary Field' modules. Option modules reflect our commitment to cutting-edge research-led teaching. In recent year these have included: 'Lost Worlds: Victorian and Edwardian Adventure Fiction'; 'Caribbean Literature'; "Shedunnit: women and crime writing from the 19th to the 21st Century": The Woman in White in Serial Form' 'Contemporary Literary Non-Fiction' and 'Digital Textual Editing'. A range of complimentary option modules from our other M.Phil. programmes (including Children's Literature, Irish Writing, Cinema, and Gender Studies) will also be available to you. In the course's final phase you will complete a dissertation, allowing you to pursue in-depth research on a subject of your choice under expert supervision. A further exciting opportunity open to students is the chance to apply for participation in a creative writing workshop led by the visiting Writer Fellow each year at the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing.
This M.Phil. provides an excellent platform for moving on to doctoral research, as well as offering transferable skills for a variety of future careers, including in education, the arts, publishing and the media.
The course consists of six modules:
'Perspectives in Modern and Contemporary Literature':
This year-long compulsory module is the centre-piece of the course. Covering a wide range of texts and genres, contexts and concepts, the module addresses some of the major trends in literary history and criticism from 1800 to the present. It offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of texts from this period, across a variety of genres, including poetry, prose fiction, life-writing, the essay, and the graphic novel. It also provides students with a knowledge of key contextual, conceptual, and critical perspectives on modern and contemporary literature, centered around issues such as identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, popularity, and adaptation. Rather than a chronological survey, the year-long module is structured into four distinct thematic half-term blocks: Writing the City, Identities, Fictive Futures, and Cultural Afterlives.
'Research Skills for Postgraduate English'
This term-long compulsory module will introduce students to the skills required for the advanced study of English literature at postgraduate level. Sessions will be delivered on topics such as how to write an abstract, how to compile a bibliography, what it means to work with manuscript materials, and how to use contemporary physical and virtual resources. Drawing on resources available in the renowned Library of Trinity College Dublin, in particular, the module will also include training sessions on topics such as how to maximise use of the College Library's catalogues and databases; how to be aware of appropriate forms of bibliography and citation; how to use the College holdings in Early Printed Books and Special Collections. Other areas to be explored in the module include the requirements of different kinds of advanced academic writing and publishing contexts for English literary studies, as well as basic training in presentation skills (written and oral).
'Mapping the Literary Field'
This term-long core module will offer students a foundational grounding in a range of issues of key importance to the study of English literature. The module is 'topped and tailed' by sessions which engage with the crucial impact of new technologies in the formation of the literary field -- and of culture more generally. In the first of these sessions, students will consider how printing radically altered the way in which literature was conceived -- among other things, by making distinctive 'national' literatures possible. The final session will consider how contemporary concepts of literature are being re-formed under the impact of the latest technological forms and practices. Between these two poles, the module will consider a range of other related issues, including: how literary periods come to be defined and re-defined; the history of the development of literary studies within the academy (including considering the papers of Edward Dowden, one of the first ever Professors of English literature); the impact of modern re-examinations of gender roles, sexual identity, race, and imperialism on how we interpret the central texts of the literary canon.
Students take one option module in each of the two terms, choosing from the variety of research-led special subjects on offer each year. Specialist option modules offered by the School of English include: "Modern and Contemporary American Novels"; "Shedunnit: Women's Crime Writing from the 19th to the 21st Century"; "Opening the Book - Writing and Visual Art in a Postcolonial Context"; "Contemporary Literary Non-Fiction" and "Lost Worlds: Victorian and Edwardian Adventure Fiction". A range of complimentary option modules from our other M.Phil. programmes (including Children's Literature, Irish Writing, Cinema, and Gender Studies) will also be available to you.
In the final phase of the course, you will complete a dissertation (15,000 words), allowing you to pursue in-depth research on a subject of your choice under the expert supervision of an appropriate staff member. This work is undertaken in the third term (Trinity term) and in the summer months (April-August).
Creative Writing Workshop:
We encourage our MPhil students to apply for participation in a creative writing workshop led by the visiting Writer Fellow each year at our Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing (this will be available on a competitive basis and numbers will be capped). This workshop will be taken in addition to the above course modules.
Applicants should have an Honours Bachelor degree (at least of upper-second class standard or GPA of 3.3) or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject (such as English, History, Art History, Irish Studies, Modern Languages.
Closing Date: 31st March 2023
One year Full Time/Two years Part Time