English Literature MA

Reading Periodicals ENGLIT4126

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores British and North American magazines and newspapers from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. It centres on the question: how is reading a periodical different from reading a book? The course will examine the periodical as genre and as material object. It will also ask how we encounter literary texts differently when they appear in the context of a serial publication.


1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Research Report (1500 words) - 25%.

[This is a research report on a single periodical from any country or period, to include commentary on method used and challenges encountered in gathering information.]

Essay (3000 words) - 50%

Seminar presentation of 7 minutes - 15%

Seminar contribution - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ introduce students to a range of popular and high-culture magazines and newspapers from a broad historical period (1700-present);

■ introduce the key critical terms and debates in the field of Periodical Studies; 

■ relate literary texts to the periodical contexts of their first publication;

■ develop individually selected areas of specialised enquiry in the field of Periodical Studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ articulate ways in which reading a periodical is different from reading a book;

■ critically analyse periodicals of different cultural levels;

■ consider literary texts in relation to their periodical contexts;

■ understand a range of arguments about the periodical as genre and as material object;

■ use a range of digital and print archives of serial publications;

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.