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The principal aim of this course is to study the full range of Shakespeares dramatic and poetic works more closely and comprehensively than is possible at undergraduate level, while also allowing you to focus in depth on a single major play.
A distinctive feature of the course is its close engagement with the works themselves and with what they say now about our world as well as what they reveal about Shakespeares.The critical, historical and theoretical issues raised by his plays and poetry are allowed to emerge out of your direct encounter with them, rather than being prescribed in advance as avenues of approach.
The MA is designed to provide you with both breadth of coverage and depth of focus, and the course is ideal whether you wish to pursue research at PhD level or simply wish to develop your knowledge of Shakespeare and your critical skills.
You will study the two core course units and complete a dissertation under the supervision of one of the course tutors.
Core course units:
The Works: Plays & Poetry-
This unit spans Shakespeares entire career as a dramatist and poet. You will explore in detail, through close reading and class discussion, every kind of play he wrote and his greatest poetry, engaging throughout with the most important recent critical accounts of them. After focusing on the romantic comedies, the key history plays and the Sonnets, you will go on to explore the problem plays, the major tragedies and the haunting romances Shakespeare wrote at the end of his career.
King Lear: Critical Debate & Creative Response- This is an intensive study of Shakespeares supreme tragic masterpiece, the critical controversies it has provoked, and the diverse ways in which it has been adapted and transformed since Shakespeares time, on stage and on screen as well as in later fiction, poetry and drama.
The dissertation (12,00015,000 words) is designed to test your ability to handle a complex topic and to display research skills at greater length than the course essays allow. It may develop work done for any part of either course unit, or be on any Shakespearean topic approved by your dissertation supervisor.
On completion of the course graduates will have:
* a detailed, critical understanding of a wide range of works written by Shakespeare
* an advanced understanding of the critical controversies produced by King Lear from the eighteenth century to the present day; and its creative afterlife in fiction, poetry, drama and film
* evaluated relevant critical, theoretical and contextual research at the forefront of Shakespeare studies
* experience of independent literary research at an advanced level using traditional and electronic resources
* confidence in deploying the appropriate critical and technological skills required in this field of study.