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MA - Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District

Our Master's in English Literature offers a unique opportunity to study a rich body of literary and non-literary texts within the geographical landscape which inspired them. This course is offered at the University of Cumbria's Ambleside campus, which is located in the very heart of the Lake District National Park - a UNESCO world heritage site.

For generations, the stunning landscape of the English Lake District has been a source of inspiration for poets and writers alike. We look forward to welcoming you onto our unique MA, to study a body of writing which explores our deep relationship with place and the natural environment, all within this awe-inspiring backdrop of this magnificent landscape.

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Course Overview

Here you will explore critical ideas about the relationship between the creative imagination and place, and have the opportunity to visit some of the specific locations which have inspired and which continue to inspire writers. The course also offers opportunities to engage with partner organisations such as Brantwood and the Wordsworth Trust, and to work with related and unique manuscript resources.

More than just an MA in English literature, the course can enhance prospects in a range of careers that demand high-level analytical and interpretative skills as well as advanced skills in written and oral communication. Specific career pathways might include work in publishing or the creative and cultural heritage industries; the course can also support students wishing to go on to study at MPhil/PhD level.

On this course you will...

  • Study surrounded by the stunning and inspiring scenery of the Lake District, which has inspired many of the UK's greatest writers
  • Take part in field trips to explore how the Lakes have influenced literature
  • Be involved in Cumbria's thriving literary scene and get the opportunity to work with local cultural heritage organisations
  • Benefit from small class sizes so we can help you to personally develop and flourish throughout your MA Programme
  • Be taught by literary experts and published academics
  • Have opportunities to develop real-world projects relating to the contemporary cultural heritage industry
Apply (Full-time)

Course Structure

What you will learn

The MA develops high-level analytical, interpretative, written and oral communication skills. Time-management, research skills, team-working, and independent working are also developed during the programme.

Students are encouraged to respond to assessment briefs and other tasks both critically and creatively. As well as engaging analytically with representations of place and landscape in the written word, you will develop an advanced understanding of the complex relationship between nature and culture. You will explore a range of ethical and environmental debates through the lens of literature, and will consider the key role played by the Arts in helping to shape responses to such debates.

Via work with partner organsations in the region (e.g. Wordsworth Grasmere, the National Trust and the Brantwood Trust) you will gain understanding of the 21st Century cultural heritage industry, and will explore the work and activities of this industry within a UNESCO world heritage site context.

Year one
  • British Romanticism and the Lake District
    Develops an advanced critical understanding of the central philosophical and aesthetic ideas, and political and cultural events which influenced literary responses to the natural world and especially the English Lake District during the Romantic period.
  • Literature and the Environment
    Explores literary responses to ecological issues, real and imagined, such as anthropogenic climate change, over-population, ecological and agricultural catastrophe and ecological sustainability.
  • A Natural Education: Children's Literature and the Lake District
    Explores features of literature written for children which is set within Cumbria and reflects on the ongoing influence of Romantic ideas about childhood and nature on the development of literature for children and considers the impact the text relating to the moral influence on the developing child.
  • Contemporary Cumbrian Writing
    Explores recent texts from genres including new nature writing, the novel and journalism, to consider their engagement with issues such as Cumbria's UNESCO World Heritage status, rewilding, regenerative agriculture and the nuclear industry, as well as how these local issues can inform global debates
  • Poetry and Place
    Explores the relationship between poetry and place; it looks at the ways in which a range of poets have been influenced by place, with a particular emphasis on poets writing about Cumbria.
  • Literary Tourism and Cultural Heritage in the Lake District
    Seeks to develop understanding of the influence of key writers (e.g. Wordsworth, Ruskin) on the development of the ‘place myth’ (Urry) of the Lake District and awareness of the role played by literary texts in first the formation of the Lake District National Park.
  • Dissertation
    Gives you the opportunity to produce an in-depth and substantial piece of work on an appropriate topic, thereby gaining knowledge and skills that will be invaluable for future careers or further postgraduate study.

Attend an Open Day at Cumbria

An Open Day is your opportunity to explore one of 5 campuses, meet your lecturers, and find out how the University of Cumbria could become your new home.

Take the next step towards achieving your dreams.
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