About This Course
Bangor University's MA in Arthurian literature, the only one of its kind in the world, explores insular (Britain and Ireland) and Continental medieval traditions of Arthurian writing from the inception of the legend (perhaps as early as the 6th century) to the present day. Students may engage in deep comparative study of Latin, Welsh, Irish, Breton and English/French texts, with the additional advantage of studying other linguistic traditions, if necessary in modern English translation.
Our experts teach on such subjects as Welsh and ‘Celtic’ mythology, including its dissemination and reception in modern mystical traditions and wider thought (Aled Llion Jones, Jerry Hunter, Peredur Lynch); the adaptation of Welsh material in modern fiction (Jerry Hunter, Andy Webb); the representation of women, sex and death in medieval literature (Sue Niebrzydowski); medieval English and French romance and chronicles and the medieval manuscript, and the adaptation of medieval motifs in the 19th c and beyond, including editing texts (Raluca Radulescu); Shakespeare, myth in the early modern period (Andrew Hiscock); adaptation of Welsh legend from the 16th to the 19th c. (Jerry Hunter), Romantic medievalism (Carol Tully), Victorian medievalism (Karin Koehler); and modern and contemporary literature (Andy Webb), and film (Greg Frame). Applicants may also work with one of our creative writers to include creative writing in their portfolio of work.
Arthurian Literature is an established area of expertise in the School of English at Bangor University and has been taught here for over three decades. A long-standing record of teaching, research and publication attests to its vitality; the main specialists in the field are Prof. Raluca Radulescu, whose work has focused on Malory, Arthurian romances and chronicles, especially through a cultural approach, and Professor PJC Field, currently President of the International Arthurian Society, and world-renowned for his work on the Arthurian legend through the centuries. However the course also draws upon the expertise available in other periods of literature within the School of English and other schools in the College of Arts and Humanities, ranging from post-medieval approaches in the School of English, or medieval Welsh, History and Archaeology, and Music. Staff in these areas contribute regularly to the teaching of Arthurian topics ranging from the medieval period to the present, including music and modern film adaptations.
Why Bangor for Arthurian Studies?
The attractiveness of the MA in Arthurian Literature at Bangor lies in its flexible, though comprehensive, approach to the study of this area. Students may choose to specialise in either the medieval or the post-medieval period but they will be required to take both modules with these titles in order to benefit from the wide coverage of the Arthurian legend they provide. At the same time they can enjoy all the benefits of one-to-one supervision in the Open Essay options, while also developing their research skills in the Introduction to Literary Theory, Scholarship and Research Module (shared with the MA in English). Moreover, in-depth introductions to the study of medieval palaeography and codicology are available by collaboration with other relevant schools and disciplines, as a preparation to PhD level.
Students are encourageed to participate in the activities of the Centre for Arthurian Studies, including the annual international postgraduate conference, ‘Medievalism Transformed’ and the bi-monthly Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies seminar series .
MA: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time; PGDiploma: 9 months full-time (also available part-time) PGCert: 8 months full-time; 1 year part-time.
A collaboration with the tourist attraction ’King Arthur’s Labyrinth’ at Corris has led to fully funded Access to Masters MA places on this degree programme. The course also maintains links with people and organisations beyond Bangor: these might include guest speakers and visits to sites of literary interest.
What will you study on this course?
The MA in Arthurian Studies offers a carefully chosen programme of modules to guide you through this rich, interdisciplinary field of investigation and to prepare you for research at an advanced level. The programme consists of two parts: Part One (taught) must be successfully completed before proceeding to Part Two (the dissertation).
The programme typically includes the following compulsory taught modules:
Introduction to Literary Theory, Scholarship and Research (30 credits), which develops knowledge of literary theory and research methods.
Medieval Arthur (30 credits), exploring the Arthurian myth from the earliest archaeological evidence to the end of the fifteenth century, with a view to examining its evolution in a variety of the socio-political and cultural contexts, as well as material culture. Genres studied on this module will include historical documents, chronicles, romance, genealogy, written in Latin, Welsh, English, French, German, Dutch, Norse, Italian, Spanish (in translation, as needed), that is, all the languages in which Arthurian material was created and circulated.
Post-Medieval Arthur (30 credits), addressing the adaptations of Arthurian myth and legends from the sixteenth- to the twenty-first century, paying attention to the way the story was shaped in different genres, from popular romance, pastoral, drama, epic, and satire to modern fantasy, the graphic novel, video games and film.
Students will also select a further Optional Modules from a list that may include:
- Open Essay (30 credits): Supervised essays on topics of the student’s own choice (Please note: Students interested in developing a Creative writing portfolio for their Open Essay will need to demonstrate prior degree-level experience of Creative writing (or equivalent), and discuss this option with the course director).
- Manuscript and Printed Books (30 credits): An introduction to the study of medieval and early modern palaeography and codicology, in co-operation with the Bangor University Archives and Special Collections, which include the library of Bangor Cathedral.
- Material Texts & Editing (30 credits): This module explores the rich field of working with texts - from manuscripts in the early medieval centuries to screenings in the digital age. Students have the opportunity to meet for seminars in the University archives department and to work with a team of practising academics showcasing their research experience with writings from the eighth to the twenty-first century.
- Welsh Writing in English (30 credits): this module showcases the wealth of Welsh writing in English in the modern period and ranges across a complete range of genres. Students are welcome to choose this and/or another module relevant to their interest(s), with the only requirement that one of the texts included in their research reflects an engagement with /adaptation(s) of Arthurian legend(s).
- Subject to availability, students may choose relevant modules in medieval Welsh literature/Welsh Arthurian literature offered in the School of Welsh and Celtic Studies, such as 'The Mabinogion', or in medieval history, offered in the School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences.
- Dissertation (60 credits): a substantial piece (20,000 words) of scholarly research, on a subject of your own choice and discussed in detail with a chosen supervisor. It will involve a series of one-to-one supervisory meetings during the summer, once Part 1 has been completed successfully. (Please note: Students interested in developing a Creative writing portfolio for part or all of their Dissertation will need to demonstrate prior degree-level experience of Creative writing (or equivalent), and discuss this option with the course director.)
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Arthurian Literature Modules page.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
Applicants should normally hold a 2(i) undergraduate degree in a relevant area, demonstrating high achievement in elements relevant to the proposed research or equivalent experience. In their applications, students should outline the area in which they wish to specialise.
International students whose first language is not English: An IELTS score of 6.5 with no element below 6.0 is required.
Current and past research students have engaged in higher degrees, teaching, research and librarianship in higher education, publishing, and a range of related activities. Kevin Whetter is now Associate Professor at Acadia University, Canada, and has co-edited Re-Viewing Le Morte Darthur (Cambridge: DS Brewer, 2005); Dr Takako Kato is Research Associate at the Centre for Textual Scholarship, De Montfort University, and her study Caxton’s ’Morte Darthur’: The Printing Process and the Authenticity of the Text, was published at Oxford in the Medium Aevum monograph series, in 2002; Professor Yuri Fuwa teaches at Keio University, Japan; Dr Michael Cichon is Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr John Joseph Doherty works in a US university library, and Dr Mark Adderley is Professor of English at Missouri Valley College.