About Popular Literature, MPhil - at Trinity College Dublin
Contemporary literary culture is built on a paradox: that which most people read is that which critics value least. The novels of Michael Crichton, Stephen King, and Patricia Cornwell, for instance - to say nothing of J.K Rowling's Harry Potter books - have long attracted many more readers than the winners of prestigious prizes such as the IMPAC or Man Booker. When readers were asked to name their favorite books in a recent BBC poll, they placed Tolkien's Lord of the Rings at number 1. And yet, such popular literature receives little critical attention, and wins few major prizes. How did this curious separation of popularity and value come about?
This course offers an opportunity for the advanced study of popular literature and its strange place within modern culture. It will trace the history of such popular genres as horror, science fiction, romance, and detective fiction, and offer a comprehensive introduction to contemporary theories of the popular. Participants will also choose from a range of specialist options on particular aspects of the popular, and study research methods. This M.Phil. will provide an invaluable base for those who wish to do further graduate study, but will also appeal to those who wish to develop their critical skills and knowledge in relation to an important aspect of contemporary culture.
The School of English has a large and active cohort of research students (some 50 in the current session), and two other taught Master's courses. Participants in this new M.Phil., the only one of its kind in these islands, will be part of a long-established and vigorous academic community. A weekly staff-graduate research seminar offers a lively forum for debate and the exchange of ideas. Postgraduates of the School of English routinely go on to further research and successful careers, in the academy and other fields. Course Structure:
The course will comprise 3 elements: (1) a core course meeting twice a week for 2 hours over 2 terms; (2) option courses meeting once a week for 2 hours - participants will take one per term; (3) the research methods course.