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Queen Mary University of London: English Literature: Literature and Culture 1700-1900

Institution Queen Mary University of London
Department English and Drama
Telephone +44 (0)20 7882 5511
Study type Taught


This new MA pathway examines the transformation of English literature across a two-hundred-year period which saw the emergence of a modern public culture in the eighteenth century, the rise of Romanticism at a time of revolution and war, and the social and cultural changes of the Victorian era. The pathway combines the close reading of a wide range of male and female authors with interdisciplinary study of the broader culture, examining literary innovation and experiment alongside developments in philosophy, politics, science and commerce. Topics studied may include the popular culture of the coffee house and tavern, the history of the senses, periodical culture, Gothic, the impact of Continental aesthetics, genre theory, the culture of religious dissent, representations of gender and selfhood, media technology and the book trade, and the urban spaces of London. Literary and cultural turning points are set against historical developments such as the growth of the British Empire, the French Revolution and its aftershocks, the Peterloo Massacre, the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the trial of Oscar Wilde. The pathway offers new perspectives on neoclassical and Romantic poetics and on later movements such as Aestheticism and Decadence, while analyzing the productive diversity of British culture in one of its most dynamic phases.

The pathway combines specially-designed core and elective modules with the opportunity to select further options from across the whole range of MA modules on offer in the Department of English. You may also opt to take a cognate elective module offered by other Schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and by other Colleges of the University of London. A special feature of the pathway is London Panoramas, a programme of staff-led, extra-curricular excursions to sites of literary and historical interest in London and its surroundings.

The Department of English has exceptional research and teaching strengths in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, with the highest concentration of staff in these fields anywhere in London and one of the highest in the UK.

Staff working on eighteenth-century topics include Markman Ellis, author of The Coffee-House: A Cultural History and The History of Gothic Fiction; Matthew Mauger and Richard Coulton, co-authors (with Markman Ellis) of The Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World and (with Chris Reid) of Stealing Books in Eighteenth Century London; Tessa Whitehouse, author of The Textual Culture of English Protestant Dissent 1720-180; Isabel Rivers, founder of the Dissenting Academies Project; and Barbara Taylor, author of Mary Wollstonecraft and the Feminist Imagination.

Specialists on Romanticism include James Vigus, author of Platonic Coleridge and series editor of the Henry Crabb Robinson Project; Pamela Clemit, an authority on William Godwin and Mary Shelley; David Duff, author of Romanticism and the Uses of Genre and editor of The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism; Paul Hamilton, a leading scholar and theorist of British and European Romanticism; Will Bowers, author of The Italian Idea: Anglo-Italian Radical Literary Culture, 1815-1823; and Michael Gamer, our British Academy Global Professor, currently researching the history of melodrama.

Victorian specialists include Catherine Maxwell, author of the award-winning Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture; Matthew Ingleby, author of Nineteenth-Century Fiction and the Production of Bloomsbury: Novel Grounds and other work on London literature; Matthew Rubery, an expert on the history of media technology and author of The Untold Story of the Talking Book; Nadia Valman, author of The ‘Jew' in late-Victorian and Edwardian Culture: Between the East End and East Africa; and Margaret Reynolds, co-editor of Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology.


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