Ewch i’r prif gynnwys

Yr Athro Carl Plasa

BA (Oxon); MA, PhD (Southampton)


+44 (0)29 2087 5013
2.13, Adeilad John Percival , Rhodfa Colum, Caerdydd, CF10 3EU
Ar gael fel goruchwyliwr ôl-raddedig


I am part of the School's English Literature and Critical and Cultural Theory research groups.

Additional publications


Slaves to Sweetness: British and Caribbean Literatures of Sugar (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009). Viii + 184pp

Charlotte Brontë (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2004). Xvi + 190pp

Textual Politics from Slavery to Postcolonialism: Race and Identification (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 2000). Vii + 172pp

Edited collections

Ed. and intro., Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea, Icon Readers’ Guides Series (Cambridge: Icon Books, 2001), 176pp

Ed. and intro., Toni Morrison: Beloved, Icon Critical Guides Series (Cambridge: Icon Books, 1998), 167pp. Second edition in 2000

Ed. and intro. with Betty J. Ring, The Discourse of Slavery: Aphra Behn to Toni Morrison, Foreword by Isobel Armstrong (London and New York: Routledge, 1994). Xix + 226pp

Articles and essays

Ekphrastic Poetry and the Middle Passage: Recent Encounters in the Black Atlantic’, Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, 24.2 (2014 / 2015): 290-324

‘Poetry in the Archive: Reimagining Amistad in Kevin Young’s Ardency, in African American Culture after Rodney King: Provocations and Protests, Progression and ‘Post-Racialism’, ed. Josephine Metcalf and Carina Spaulding (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 83-106

‘Prefigurements and Afterlives: Bertha Mason’s Literary Histories’, Brontë Studies, 39.1 (January 2014): 4-11

‘“Mainly Story-Telling and Play-Acting”: Theatricality and the Middle Passage in Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger’, Postcolonial Studies across the Disciplines, ed. Jana Gohrisch and Ellen Grünkemeier (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2013), pp. 151-66

‘“The Object of His Craving”: Loss and Compensation in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon’, Treasure in Literature and Culture, ed. Rainer Emig (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2013), pp. 117-32

‘Doing the Slave Trade in Different Voices: Poetics and Politics in Robert Hayden’s First “Middle Passage”’, African American Review, 45.4 (2012): 557-73

‘“Tangled Skeins”: Henry Timrod’s “The Cotton Boll” and the Slave Narratives’, Southern Literary Journal, 45.1 (Fall 2012): 1-20

‘Saccharographies’, Commodifying (Post)Colonialism: Othering, Reification, Commodification and the New Literatures and Cultures in English, ed. Rainer Emig and Oliver Lindner (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2010), pp. 41-61

“Conveying Away the Trash”: Sweetening Slavery in Matthew Lewis’s Journal of a West India Proprietor, Kept during a Residence in the Island of Jamaica’, RaVoN: Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, 50 (2008), 19 paragraphs

‘“Muse Suppress the Tale”: James Grainger’s The Sugar-Cane and the Poetry of Refinement’ (2007), 31 paragraphs

‘“Stained with Spots of Human Blood”: Sugar, Abolition and Cannibalism’, Atlantic Studies: Literary, Historical and Cultural Perspectives, 4 (2007): 225-43

‘George Eliot’s “Confectionery Business”: Sugar and Slavery in “Brother Jacob”’, LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory, 16 (2005): 285-309

‘Charlotte Brontë’s Foreign Bodies: Slavery and Sexuality in The Professor’, Journal of Narrative Theory, 30.1 (2000): 1-28

‘Reading “The Geography of Hunger” in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions: From
Frantz Fanon to Charlotte Brontë’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 33.1 (1998): 33-45

‘Tennyson Revised: Influence and Doubling in Four Quartets’, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations, 2.1 (1998): 1-21

‘“To Whom Does He Address Himself?”: Reading Wordsworth in Browning’s Pauline’, Varieties of Victorianism: The Uses of a Past, ed. Gary Day (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan. 1998), pp. 161-78

‘Revision and Repression in Keats’s Hyperion: “Pure Creations of the Poet’s Brain”’, Keats-Shelley Journal: Keats, Shelley, Byron, Hunt and Their Circles, 44 (1995): 117-46

‘Fantasias of War: Language, Intertextuality and Gender in Dulce et Decorum Est’, Krieg und Literatur / War and Literature, 1 (1995): 61-78

‘“Silent Revolt”: Slavery and the Politics of Metaphor in Jane Eyre’, The Discourse of Slavery, ed. Carl Plasa and Betty J. Ring (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 64-93

‘Introduction’ (co-written) to The Discourse of Slavery, ed. Carl Plasa and Betty J. Ring (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. xiii-xix

‘“Qui Est Là?”: “Race”, Identity and the Politics of Fantasy in Wide Sargasso Sea’, Gulliver: Deutsch-Englische Jahrbücher, 34.2 (1993): 42-59

‘“Cracked from Side to Side”: Sexual Politics in Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott”’, Victorian Poetry, 30 (1992): 247-64

‘Lost in the Post-Miltonic: Reading Keats’s Letters’, Prose Studies: History, Theory, Criticism, 15.1 (1991): 30-48

‘Reading Tennyson in Four Quartets: The Example of “East Coker”’, English: The Journal of the English Association, 40 (1991): 239-58


Review of Tim Armstrong, The Logic of Slavery: Debt, Technology, and Pain in American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), Review of English Studies, Advance Access Publication (15 October 2013); doi:10.1093/res/hgt099

Review of Daniel G. Williams, Black Skin, Blue Books: African Americans and Wales, 1845-1945 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012), New Welsh Review, 99 (2013): 89-91

Review of Simon Gikandi, Slavery and the Culture of Taste (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2011), Review of English Studies, 63 (2012): 705-06

Review of Sue Thomas, Imperialism, Reform, and the Making of Englishness in Jane Eyre (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2008), Women's Writing, 16.2 (2009): 353-55


I am currently a Professor of English Literature at Cardiff, having worked previously at the Universities of Manchester and Cork.

My teaching portfolio includes first-year lectures on Literature, Culture, Place and Introduction to the Novel, together with second- and third-year modules on African American Literature and on the literary and visual representation of British Caribbean slavery, respectively. 

I also teach an MA option entitled Slavery and Nineteenth-Century Literature. I have supervised the successful completion of some thirteen PhDs to date, across a wide array of topics ranging from the Harlem Renaissance to Richard Wright and from Dickens and empire to Wordsworthian legacies in Victorian poetry.











  • Plasa, C. 2010. Saccharographies. In: Emig, R. and Lindner, O. eds. Commodifying (Post)Colonialism: Othering, Reification, Commodification and the New Literatures and Cultures in English. Cross/cultures Vol. 127. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 41-61.














My main research-project at present takes the form of a monograph provisionally entitled Following the Middle Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Contemporary Literary Imagination, under contract with Edinburgh University Press for publication in its Critical Studies in Atlantic Literatures and Cultures series.

Although the transatlantic slave trade was officially abolished by Britain and the United States more than two hundred years ago, the trauma of the Middle Passage retains a vital imaginative currency, prompting a rich array of literary responses, particularly in the period since the publication of Toni Morrison’s Beloved in 1987. 

This book examines some of the most compelling of these responses, showing how the imagination of the Middle Passage has developed over the last three decades or so, as poets and novelists enter into dialogue with one another and seek new and sometimes radical ways of engaging with the catastrophe that is their common ground. 

At the same time, the book explores the ways in which these writers, variously located in African American, Caribbean and British traditions, look back to and transform accounts of the Atlantic crossing from earlier historical eras (especially the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries).

Principal authors covered include: Barry Unsworth, Michelle Cliff, David Dabydeen, William B. Patrick, Dorothea Smartt, Marlene NourbeSe Philip, Kevin Young and Robin Coste Lewis.

Research interests

  • African American, Caribbean and British literatures of slavery

I would welcome applications from prospective doctoral students working in any of these fields.


I would welcome applications from students working in any of my main research areas:

  • Literary and visual representations of slavery
  • African American literature
  • Caribbean literature

Additional areas in which I offer supervision are:

  • Charlotte Brontë
  • Afred, Lord Tennyson

Past projects

I have supervised the successful completion of some fourteen PhDs to date, across a wide array of topics ranging from the Harlem Renaissance to Richard Wright and from Dickens and empire to Wordsworthian legacies in Victorian poetry.