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Please suggest to me some interesting literary topics (from English Literature) on...

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ksanjay | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:05 PM via web

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Please suggest to me some interesting literary topics (from English Literature) on which I can do my research work.

Please suggest to me some interesting literary topics (from English Literature) on which I can do my research work.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 20, 2009 at 5:01 AM (Answer #2)

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I think you will need to narrow down your focus a bit before you begin research.  English Literature is an expansive field and to merely suggest topics with such a wide scope is very challenging.  I would engage in some refining before any choice is made.  This can be done with some elemental questions, whose answers should allow you to identify a topic.  The first question would be which time period/ literary period fascinates you the most in English Literature?  If you were to make a list of the books/ works you most enjoy in English Literature, what are they and where do they appear in English Literature?  For example, if you love the writings of Keats and Wordsworth, you would probably enjoy doing study of the Romantic period, to which both artists belong.  If you liked Beckett and Woolf, Modernism would be a good choice for you.  Identifying works and the period to which they belong would be an excellent start.  The next question would be what you would like to prove with these works.  Do you want to analyze their similarity in style of writing?  Would you want to analyze the critical and public appreciation of these works at the time?  What would you like to do with the works in your study?  Identifying what you love and what you would like to do with it will be critical steps in establishing your research topic.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted August 20, 2009 at 5:37 AM (Answer #3)

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I know that we would all love to help you more, so here are some ideas I hope will allow you to ask a more specific question of your audience:

I see you are a teacher, but I cannot tell whether you are getting a degree in English literature or a degree in education.

I also want to be clear on your use of the term "English literature."  Do you mean literature written in English or do you mean literature from the British Isles?  Sometimes people use the term in the first sense, but properly, it should only apply to the second meaning.

In your previous excursions into research, have you noticed any deficiencies in the literature in a particular area? Often, that is an excellent opportunity to do something new and different.  For example, when I was trying to decide on my thesis topic, I noticed that there was very little research in the area of teaching the history of the English language, a topic that is usually neglected in the high school classroom.  Ultimately, I decided on another topic, a topic which seized my attention even more, but still, it was a topic on which there had been little done in the area of education. 

I hope these ideas help you to come closer to your inquiry.  If you can refine things a bit more, we will be happy to help you again.  Good luck!

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 20, 2009 at 3:52 PM (Answer #4)

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Both posts here have given you some excellent suggestions. In my own graduate research, I  incorporated much of what Post #1 and Post #2 suggested. I focused my research on an author and a time period I most wanted to read about. This was a very important decision since I spent two years reading and studying while writing my thesis. I never lost interest and can only imagine how awful the whole experience would have been if I had been locked into a study that I did not enjoy. Also, before finalizing my area of research, I surveyed literary publication for the previous fifty years and discovered that nothing at all had been written about my area of inquiry. When I had these two bases covered, I was ready to begin. Good luck with your research.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 19, 2010 at 9:40 AM (Answer #5)

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The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley started out as a ghost story challenge. Shelley, her husband Percy Byshe Shelley, and some other noted writers of that time were friends. The challenge was issued that over the long winter months they should each write a ghost story. Frankenstein was Mary Shelley’s contribution, and it’s rumored that she won the contest.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 17, 2011 at 12:35 PM (Answer #6)

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There are so many things I would need to ask you before I could really help you with this question!  However, I suggest you choose a book you really like, one that you feel has been masterfully written.  Then ask yourself what you like about the book.  Choose that topic, do some research, include quotations, and you're off!

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