The course convenors are Marina MacKay (St Peter's College) and Laura Marcus (New College).
The Faculty includes numerous scholars and teachers working in the modern period, as can be seen here.
Within the modern period, particular areas of interest among faculty members include modernist poetry, fiction, and drama, the cultural contexts of literature, literature and science, life writing, modern drama and performance studies, contemporary poetry, post-colonial studies, and Irish literature.
The Bodleian Library, the English Faculty Library, the Taylorian, the History Library, and the Rothermere American Institute Library provide a great wealth of resources for the study of modern literature at Oxford . Students are welcome to attend lectures across related disciplines. The Faculty has a number of visiting lecturers and writers every year. The Professor of Poetry (Professor Simon Armitage), successor to figures such as Seamus Heaney, James Fenton, Paul Muldoon, Christopher Ricks and Geoffrey Hill, took up the post in October 2015.
A. Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)
The A course on ‘Literature, Context and Approaches' will give a wide overview of genres and critical approaches in the period, covering such topics as the concept of modernity, colonial space, modernist fictional form, literature and visual culture, theatre and revolution, metafiction, and late twentieth-century poetics.
The A Course is taught as a weekly seminar that runs over eight weeks in Michaelmas Term, and is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study.
B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies
This is a range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms designed to train students for research in English. Within this strand, there will classes on book history and theories of text, appropriate to the period.
C. Special Options
Special Option courses are one-term courses on specialist themes usually relating to the current research interests of the teacher(s).
C options for this strand - some of which cross period boundaries - may include (subject to availability and demand), ‘Literatures of Empire and Nation’, ‘Cinema and Modernism,’ ‘How New York Stole the Idea of the Avant-Garde,’ ‘Others and J.M. Coetzee,’ ‘Literature and Psychoanalysis,’ ‘African Literature: Testimony, Life-Writing and Literary Conversations,’ ‘Locating Contemporary Poetry,’ ‘Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot', ‘Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Life-Writing', ‘Women and Drama’, ‘Post-1945 Modern Drama', ‘Joseph Conrad', ‘Virginia Woolf, Society and Politics', ‘Contemporary Fiction', and ‘Policing Literature: 1780-1980'.
Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms.
The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop your research interests. You are not constrained to follow option courses within your designated period, and indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods.
All students write a 10-11,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, but related to the work they have been doing over the year. You will be assigned to a member of Faculty who will act as your supervisor.
In addition to the dissertation, you will submit three essays of 6-7,000 words – one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term – relating to the B and C courses that you have taken.
Students normally take all four components to fulfil the requirements of the degree. All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary Term), leaving the summer term (Trinity Term) for the writing of the dissertation, which is submitted in early June.