MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture

Convenors: Richard Walsh (Autumn Term), Adam Kelly (Spring and Summer Terms)



The Modern School offers a broad range of options in the literature and culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries within the structure of its MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture.

The courses I have taken in my MA in Modern Literature and Culture have all been thought-provoking, but very importantly, pertinent to my research interests and philosophical concerns

MA in Modern Literature and Culture

These options enable individual graduate students to construct a distinct, individually chosen MA programme, yet build on the critical, theoretical, and historical contexts that are established in the core course. Students can design a course that will suit their wish either to acquire a general knowledge of the period or to specialise in a particular area.

You will develop an understanding of:

  • the engagement of modern writing with a range of cultural issues
  • the cultural meanings and associations of important developments in literary technique in the twentieth century
  • the development of ‘modernity’ in association with particular genres and writers
  • some of the ways in which modern historical and technological development affected notions of writing
  • the importance of political movements such as feminism and the formation of gay identities to modern writing.


  • Four assessed essays of approximately 4,500 words each
  • A 14,000-16,000 word dissertation, written in consultation with a supervisor on an agreed topic

Introductory reading

You can get a flavour of the criticism, anthologies, and core texts featured on this course by downloading a reading list compiled by members of staff:



The programme is fully modularised and divided into 4 taught modules (one compulsory, three option), a research skills training programme, and a research dissertation.


An introduction to some of the key critical and theoretical debates in the study of modern literature and culture. It offers students the opportunity to examine a number of issues that are central to the period, such as: the relation of modern aesthetic practices to historical and social change; the inter-relation of literature with other art forms; the relationships between literature and theory; and the development of film as mass art and as radical aesthetic practice.


Available option modules may include:

Option modules will vary from year to year according to staff availability, and will run subject to minimum numbers. Option modules may also be taken in other arts and humanities departments.

Walter Benjamin at the card catalogue of the Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, 1937

Who to contact

For more information on this MA, please contact:

Adam Kelly (MA Convenor)

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.