An MA English Update

Recently, I haven’t been feeling myself. Writing anything is a labour, so forgive me if this doesn’t make sense at any point. The job hunt is getting me down.

But what has me soaring on Cloud Nine?

I started my MA last week. My first class is on Tuesday, and I can’t wait! We got our module descriptors, and we’ve had everything explained to us. I feel prepared for this new year. I’ll be doing four modules, and three of them are perfect for me! The last one, I’m still optimistic about. The best way to discover a new love is to try new things.

On Tuesday, we’ll be doing Critical Approaches. The idea behind the module is clever, but it can be confusing if you’re not on an English-based degree. Bear with me for a moment.
In literature, you can apply theories to a text to focus your criticism and interpretation. There’s psychoanalysis, feminist, queer, Marxist, postcolonial, new historicist… There’s a plethora of possibilities. I’m prone to feminist and queer readings myself, but I try to use other kinds as often as possible.

The idea of Critical Approaches is that we learn about these theories and how to apply them to a text. What I really like about it is that we’ll be learning about them by applying them all to the same text: Dracula by Bram Stoker. I love Dracula to begin with, but having it all centred around one text is a great idea!

On Thursday, the class is Gothic. If you’re new to my blog (welcome!) then you should know that I’m a fan of Gothic literature. I run a blog on Gothic fiction, and I get involved every year with Spectral Visions. So having an entire module dedicated to it is going to fun.

We did something similar during undergrad studies, but I’m expecting this to be more in-depth and complicated.

I’m really excited to be revisiting Frankenstein. We only spent a week on it last year, and Mary Shelley is something of an icon to me. I love her rebellious life and feminist streak. She authored The Last Man, possibly the best piece of post-apocalyptic literature.

Next semester will be my most challenging I think. The module I’m most excited for is Irish Literature and the Supernatural.

This one is unique because it fuses literature and creative writing. One week is a look at an aspect of Irish literature, and the next we learn how to use the tropes to write our own pieces. Since my MA is purely literature, the creative element is exciting to me. I’m so used to having that creative outlet that I think I’d be lost without it. I’m thinking of posting some of my portfolio on here at some point. Colin clearly enjoyed it, but sharing it… It feels weird.

The module I’m unsure on is Modernism and Postmodernism. Neither are my favourite eras, and James Joyce leaves me wallowing in hate with an intense distrust in punctuation.

Still, I have to approach it with an open mind. Maybe I’ll enjoy it.

Obviously the big worry is the dissertation. 16,000 words dedicated to whatever I want. That much freedom is overwhelming. I have a vague area of interest, but not much of a direction to go in. As it stands, I’ll be looking at the werewolf in non-adult fiction. Expect me to dissolve in to posts about Remus Lupin and Jacob Black in the future. The process of deciding will be long, writing it will be even longer, and I will be sharing it with you. Hopefully it’ll be of use to you when it comes to deciding on your dissertation titles in the future.

And so, dear readers, we reach the end of another post. This is more of a secondary Update from Wonderland post than something more substantial. I’m sorry about that.

Let me ask you this: do you have a class or module this year that you’re dreading? Do you have any you can’t wait for? And is there something in your future that you’re unsure about?

Let me know your thoughts!


About Stephanie Gallon

I'm an author, a blogger, and a zealot of all things written. I work as an English teacher in England, and have a PGCE PCET, a distinction in MA English studies and first class honours in BA English and Creative Writing. I have more degrees than friends
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2 Responses to An MA English Update

  1. Sounds exciting, Stephanie! Do consider submitting a paper for our forthcoming conference on werewolves and related themes–CFP coming up when we’ve sorted out the dates.


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