12 Interesting Ideas That Can Help Your Choose A Dissertation Topic In Literature

Several years of hard work working towards a literature master’s degree has led to the final project: the dissertation. With so many subject-areas within this large discipline, it can be hard to narrow down and choose a great topic you find interesting enough to encourage your momentum and keep you moving forward through the long process of researching and writing. We’ve come up with a list of 12 really good dissertation topics for you to consider:

  1. Choose a work of modern literature and compare it to a work from ancient literature. Which characteristics such as themes, symbols, imagery, etc. are similar?
  2. Compare and contrast two of Shakespeare’s major works with two of Marlowe’s major works. How do the two Elizabethan playwrights differ in their use of satire and irony?
  3. Provide an analytical history of American theatrical drama in the 20th century. How has each work been influenced by the decade in which it was written?
  4. Compare two works of modern popular fiction (e.g., Michael Crichton and Stephen King) and provide an analysis of the common elements that resonate most with mainstream readers.
  5. How important a role have editors played in altering authors’ intent in modern literature where the ability to sell a work of literature outweighs creative integrity?
  6. Compare and contrast Japanese literature of the early 20th century with that of the early 21st century. What elements or characteristics are constant in both eras of literature?
  7. Consider the works of Homer and compare them to those Ovid. How are these two epic writers of ancient times similar in their approach regarding mankind’s relationship with the divine?
  8. Provide a critical analysis of the role of women in society from the perspective of a major male literary figure of the 19th century compared to one in the 20th century.
  9. What are the major themes explored by modern popular fiction authors? Is this fiction considered low-brow or high-brow?
  10. What are the major contributions to literature made by the Romantic Poets of 19th century England to the fabric of 20th century modern literature in terms of love?
  11. Richardson’s Pamela is considered the first English novel. How does this compare with Cervantes’ Don Quixote?
  12. How have Dante’s images of Hell from the Inferno remained prevalent throughout literatures of different modern cultures around the world?

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