English and Modern Languages
Dr Paulina Kewes, Fellow and Tutor in English, teaches English literature from the Renaissance to the Romantics, including Shakespeare. Paulina’s research interests are in early modern literature (especially drama), history, and politics. Her publications include Authorship and Appropriation: Writing for the Stage in England, 1660-1710 (1998) and three edited or co-edited volumes: Plagiarism in Early Modern England (2003), The Uses of History in Early Modern England (2006), and The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed’s Chronicles (2012), as well as numerous articles on Shakespeare, Dryden, early modern drama, translation, plagiarism, historical writings, and royal iconography. Her current projects include a monograph on the Elizabethan succession for Oxford University Press, and two edited volumes: The Question of Succession in Late Elizabethan England (with Susan Doran) and Ancient Rome and Early Modern England: Literature, History, and Politics. She is currently a Co-Investigator on a major AHRC-funded project on ‘The Stuart Successions’ (2012-15).
Dr Marion Turner, Fellow and Tutor in English, teaches the Old and Middle English papers (roughly the 7th to the 16th centuries), and has particular interests in late-medieval secular literature, especially Chaucer. Her first book - Chaucerian Conflict - was published by Oxford University Press in 2007 and she has also published many articles on Chaucer, Usk, and late-medieval political texts. Marion is currently editing a volume for Blackwell’s on the relationship between theory and Middle English literature, and is also working on literature and medicine, and on place and literary production in the late fourteenth century.
Professor Thomas Charles-Edwards is Emeritus Jesus Professor of Celtic. He works on medieval Ireland and Wales, and to a lesser extent Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England. He is mainly an historian but he has also written about medieval Irish and Welsh narrative literature. His books include The Welsh Laws (1989), Early Christian Ireland (2000), Wales and the Britons, 350-1064 and The Oxford History of Wales, vol. 1 (2012). He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy.
Professor Katrin Kohl is the Fellow and Tutor in German. She teaches German literature from 1750, with a particular interest in the way literature interacts with the society and culture of its time and communicates with the reader. Her current research focuses on eighteenth and twentieth century poetry and poetics, and on the theory and practice of metaphor as a means of shaping concepts of literary communication. She also has a strong interest in language teaching and has published language courses from beginner to university level.
Dr Caroline Warman is the Fellow and Tutor in French. Her main research interests lie in the literature, history of ideas and medical discourses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her first book was on Sade and materialism (2002); she is now working on Diderot and theories of consciousness in the 1790s. She is also translating the novels of Isabelle de Charrière. She mainly teaches literature and thought in the modern period but also offers (and enjoys!) the span of first year texts, from medieval to modern. Her language teaching specialises in translation into and out of French.
Mr Tim Smith-Laing is a Career Development Lecturer in English at Jesus and a DPhil candidate at Merton College. Tim is completing a thesis on mythographical writing in late-medieval and early-modern Europe. His research focuses on the influence of Italian and French writers on English poets from the fourteenth through to the sixteenth century, and their role in mediating the classics to English readers. He also has research interests in sixteenth-century tragedy and twentieth-century literary theory.
Dr Julie Curtis, a Fellow of Wolfson College, is a Lecturer in Russian for Jesus. Her research interests lie in twentieth-century Russian literature, especially Mikhail Bulgakov and Evgenii Zamiatin. She has also published on the literature of the Gorbachov era.
Dr Nicola Gardini is a Lecturer in Italian for Jesus who teaches on Renaissance and the classical legacy and XIX- and XX-century poetry. His research interests lie in the Renaissance, poetry and translation. He writes poetry and fiction and co-edits the monthly magazine "Poesia", based in Milan, and the online magazine "Il Calzerotto Marrone", based in Padua.
Dr Jonathan Thacker, a Fellow of Merton College, is a Lecturer in Spanish for Jesus who teaches mainly in the literature of the Golden Age, or early-modern period. He writes principally on the drama produced by Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca and their contemporaries, and on the works of Cervantes.
Dr Alderik Blom is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at Corpus Christi College, and teaches Celtic for Jesus College. He works on Germanic and Celtic philology, with a focus on medieval multilingualism and the emergence of the early vernaculars, and textual criticism in Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the nineteenth century.
About the Course
English and Modern Languages is a course designed to give students the opportunity to investigate and reflect on the literary and linguistic relations between Great Britain and the continent. Professor Kohl is the overall co-ordinator for English and Modern Languages. In this role she discusses subject choices with each undergraduate in order to ensure that the two sides of the course complement each other in accordance with the student's interests.
NB English and Modern Languages is a four year course including a compulsory year abroad during the third year. It is important that you advise your LA or other funding body from the outset that you will be taking a four-year course.
Both the English and the Modern Languages Faculties at Oxford are among the largest in the country, and include major scholars in all areas of the respective subjects. Students thus have the opportunity to receive teaching from a range of expert tutors. Library provision at Oxford is excellent: all students have access to the English Faculty Library, the Taylor Institution Library (for modern languages), the Bodleian Library and their own college libraries. Both faculties have well-equipped computer rooms and all colleges have computing facilities.
Teaching takes the form of tutorials and classes, which will usually be organized and taken by the Fellows and Lecturers of the College (although those pursuing some of the more specialized options may receive tutorials from an outside tutor). Attendance at, and production of work for, tutorials and classes is compulsory, and must be given priority over all other activities. The University organizes courses of lectures which cover the syllabus, but which are not compulsory. Tutors will, however, be happy to advise undergraduates concerning which lectures are likely to prove most beneficial.
Two main courses are available for the English section of the syllabus. Course I (which most candidates will take) offers the usual range of literary options, while Course II allows more specialization in early periods of languages and literature.
The Preliminary Examination is taken after three terms. On the Modern Languages side, candidates are required to offer two language examinations (‘papers’), and two literature papers on prescribed books. On the English side, two papers must be offered. The first of these is An Introduction to Language and Literature. For the second paper, candidates may choose Victorian Literature, Modern Literature or Early Medieval Literature. All papers are taught through a mix of tutorials, small classes, and faculty lectures.
The third year of the course is spent abroad, with most students taking a posting as an 'assistant' in a foreign school. On your return, you may choose from options including special author papers and special topic papers in both English and your modern language.
The Final Examination, taken at the end of four years, allows great flexibility on both sides of the course. On the Modern Languages side there are compulsory papers in translation from and into the language, as well as an oral examination. Two further Modern Languages papers must be offered, again chosen from a wide range of literary and linguistic options. Candidates also select three subject papers from the English side; one of these may be an interdisciplinary paper. All candidates also complete a dissertation, which can be on an interdisciplinary topic.
Cultural and Intellectual Life
Students at Jesus find themselves welcomed into a serious, lively, and good-humoured academic community with every opportunity to discuss their thoughts in tutorials, seminars, and College events. All English and Modern Languages students are, by default, members of the Herbert English Society and provides a forum for exchange of ideas and discussion of literature, criticism, and the arts. The Society invites poets, playwrights, novelists, academics, journalists, and cultural historians. Our recent speakers have included Marina Warner, Philip Pullman, Bernard O’Donoghue, Craig Raine, Hermione Lee, Sally Shuttleworth, William St Clair, Blair Worden, and the acclaimed poet Geoffrey Hill.
Written tests: Candidates will be required to take written tests in schools on 7 November 2012. All candidates are required to take the English Literature Aptitude Test (ELAT) For further details please see www.elat.org.uk. Candidates may also be required to take a language-specific test on the same date (if currently studying the language to A2 level or equivalent). For details see www.admissions.ox.ac.uk/tests and click on ‘check the requirements for your course’ in the Modern Languages section. The language tests consists of a monolingual exercise and a number of non-consecutive sentences for translation from and into the language, and are primarily intended to test knowledge of basic grammar rather than vocabulary. Registration for both the ELAT and the Modern Languages tests is via Cambridge Assessment and the deadline is 15 October 2012.
Written work: Candidates are required to submit one recent essay on an English literature topic. This should be a marked essay produced in the normal course of your school or college work. It should not be rewritten and it should not be a short timed essay, piece of creative writing, or critical commentary. Candidates are also required to submit one piece of school or college work written in the language they are applying for (if currently studied).
Candidates are selected on the basis of academic record (e.g. GCSEs) and potential, as shown by their UCAS reference, submitted written work, performance in written tests and in interviews if shortlisted. In a total College entry of about 100 undergraduates, 6 are offered places in a typical year to read English or English and Modern Languages. It is essential to study A2 Level English Literature (or English Language and Literature), or equivalent in other qualification systems. Offers made to pre-A level candidates will be conditional upon A2 level results (normally AAA, with an A in English Literature and an A in the language to be taken, if currently studied). Offers made to post-A level candidates will usually be unconditional.
Deferred Entry: Applications for deferred entry to Jesus College are welcomed. You must apply for deferred entry at the time of application to Oxford: you cannot change your mind after an offer has been made. Please refer to departmental web sites for subject-specific advice. You should be aware that applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will generally be among the strongest of the cohort for their subject. We would not usually offer more than one or two deferred places per subject in order not to disadvantage the following year's candidates. In some cases, an applicant for deferred entry may be offered a place for non-deferred entry instead. If you require any further advice, please contact the Admissions Officer.
Postgraduate Studies and Careers
The Graduate School of the Oxford Faculty of English is large and dynamic. The following degrees are offered at postgraduate level:
- MLitt or DPhil in English Language and Literature
- MSt English Language and Literature (650-1550)
- MSt English Language and Literature (1550-1700)
- MSt English Language and Literature (1660-1830)
- MSt English Language and Literature (1800-1914)
- MSt English Language and Literature (1900-present)
- MSt English and American Studies
- MPhil Medieval Studies
Oxford has a large, varied, and active teaching and research community in Modern Languages. There are over ninety members of the Faculty, with research interests spread across the full chronological range of the languages and into most areas of linguistics and literary study. The College welcomes applicants for the following degrees in Medieval and Modern Languages:
- MSt, MPhil or DPhil Medieval and Modern Languages
- MSt, MPhil or DPhil Celtic Studies
- MSt or MPhil Slavonic Studies
- MSt Women's Studies
- MSt Yiddish Studies
Beyond the subject-specific aims, the undergraduate course trains students' critical faculties and gives them a wide range of other 'transferable skills'. Students learn to organise their time and cope with working under pressure, and the course provides intensive training in communication skills: weekly essays demand quick assimilation of material and foster writing skills, while discussion in tutorials and classes develops confidence in presenting an independent view clearly and comprehensibly. Graduates in English and Modern Languages go on to a great variety of careers, including broadcasting, publishing, teaching, journalism, acting, administration, management, advertising, translation, librarianship and law.
Preliminary Reading and Further Information
Further information about English and Modern Languages at Oxford can be found on the Faculty of English and Faculty of Modern Languages websites. Information about admissions is available on the University's Undergraduate Courses pages.
Last updated May 2012