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Some essay titles are even more open, and instead of a question or instruction, they consist of simply a text or author, and a theme or issue to discuss. This type of title is often set in supervisions, negotiated between the student and supervisor, but may more rarely appear in an exam. Examples of this type of title might include:

  • Write on the significance of one of the following in the literature of the period, referring to the works of at least two authors. (a) natural philosophy; (b) empire; (c) education; (d) spiritual autobiography; (e) temptation; (f) blood; (g) Ireland; (h) monarchs; (i) echoes.
  • Sleep and sleep-walking in The Tempest.
  • Chrysogone and chastity in The Faerie Queene.

These titles offer broad scope for your own interests and approaches, but need to be interpreted carefully to avoid the pitfalls of overly broad, superficial, or descriptive writing without a central argument. These titles offer a broad topic, and you must decide yourself how you will focus and limit it, what research question or problem it raises for you and which cognitive skills you will bring to bear on it. The next page, and also the section on Developing your own title, contain some useful suggestions for doing so.