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Research in English Literature and Critical Theory

We engage in innovative research that explores the dynamics of English literature within its diverse social, cultural and political contexts. We believe that imaginative writing plays a crucial role in negotiating the past, positioning ourselves in the present, and projecting multiple futures.

We offer a distinctive articulation of historical, critical, editorial work across a broad range of periods and cultural forms. Many members of the Literature research group are also part of the CENTRE FOR CRITICAL AND CULTURAL THEORY and the CENTRE FOR EDITORIAL AND INTERTEXTUAL RESEARCH (CEIR).


Our research covers all periods of literature, from Old English and Norse to Contemporary experimental, and all genres, from fiction to poetry and drama.


With specialisms including crime fiction, Gothic, literature and the environment, literature and the law, Neo and Counter approaches to literature, gender and women’s writing, and book history, our research theorises the cultural impact of literature in past and present worlds.


A strong team of published creative writers of fiction, poetry and drama leads a vibrant community that includes many postgraduate researchers.

We host regular research seminars with presentations by staff, postgraduates, guest speakers, and visitors. Current programme.

Staff expertise

To see which staff have specialisms in which period and genre click here.

To see which staff have specialisms in which thematic areas click here.

Academic visitors

Each year we host selected visiting scholars from the UK and overseas, for periods between two weeks and one year. Some of them are participants in our popular Advanced Research Residencies programme. For details of the options please click here.

PhD Programmes

The School offers PhD programmes in English Literature, Creative and Critical Writing, and Critical and Cultural Theory. We are also one of the partners in the AHRC-funded  South, West and Wales Consortium’s Doctoral Training Programme. Click here to find out more about this prestigious programme.

A view from Professor Ann Heilmann, Director of Research for Literature

Professor Ann Heilmann

“Cardiff’s reputation for cutting-edge research in literary studies, bibliographical scholarship, cultural history and critical theory is sustained by our strong commitment to innovation and interdisciplinarity.”