This MA, offering Old English, Middle English, and Renaissance modules, explores the full variety and contexts of writing from the islands of Britain and Ireland across the period circa 700 to circa 1700. We concentrate on interactions between texts in English from these islands, examining the beginnings of Anglo-Irish writing, as well as the cultural transmissions and transformations between classical, European, and insular intellectual and literary traditions before 1700. We also have a particular interest in interrogating traditional period boundaries, such as medieval and Renaissance. Our work is stimulated by exceptional contexts and resources from medieval and early modern sites such as Spenser's Kilcolman Castle to the substantial early printed book collections of the Boole Library's Special Collections and other accessible early collections.
This one-year, intensive taught graduate course is designed to provide you with a greater awareness of the conceptual and critical issues involved in the study of Old, Middle and Renaissance English; some of the historical and cultural contexts that the study of this period involves, and also some sense of how early writing has been received, transmitted, and transformed in modern texts and media. Modern writers and filmmakers have a fascination with the medieval and early modern that goes far beyond rewritings of Shakespeare, or star-studded movie versions of his plays, and this course also aims to alert you to some of these recent cultural approaches.
The course lays the foundation of study at higher degree level. It introduces the subject-specific skills that are required for the primary study of earlier English (palaeography, codicology, analysis of the physical composition of printed texts together with use of databases and bibliographies), as well as developing generic skills (writing, referencing, presentation skills) that will be useful as you embark on a scholarly project or career.
The subject modules and the Literary Research Skills module comprise the taught element of the MA and run from October to March. The subject modules introduce students to the specific thematic area of their choice. The Literary Research Skills module aims to equip MA students for the development and implementation of their research strategy through the acquisition of a range of research skills.
Dissertation: the dissertation will be written between March and the end of September, and will be submitted in October. It will be supervised by a member(s) of staff, after consultation and agreement, and will be 15,000 to 17,000 words. Supervision will take place between March and the end of September.
Why Choose This Course
This course is unique in these islands in offering a specialist graduate course which covers the full range of the three linguistic and cultural phases of earlier English writing: Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) to c. 1100; Middle English (or later Medieval writing) to c. 1500; and Early-Modern (or Renaissance) writing (c. 1500-1700). Study in UCC also affords graduate students the opportunity (subject to approval) to enrol in courses in other languages and literatures of the European Middle Ages and Renaissance such as Latin, Irish, Italian, and the languages of the Iberian peninsula.