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English literature

Our reputation for cutting-edge research in literary studies, bibliographical scholarship, cultural history and critical theory is sustained by our strong commitment to innovation and interdisciplinary work.

We focus on the critical articulation of texts across a broad range of periods, genres and themes, and with reference to many cultural forms. We have notable expertise in editorial and digital humanities research. PhD applications are welcome in all areas of our specialism


Our research covers all periods of literature, from Old English and Norse to Contemporary experimental:

  • Arthurian and medieval literature (Old and Middle English; Old Norse)
  • Shakespeare and Renaissance studies
  • Seventeenth-century studies
  • Eighteenth-century and Romantic literature
  • Nineteenth-century and Victorian literature
  • Twentieth-century and contemporary literature


We undertake research across all genres, from fiction to poetry and drama:

  • Contemporary fiction
  • Creative writing
  • Crime fiction
  • Drama, film and music
  • Historical fiction
  • Poetry and Poetics

Research areas

Our research theorises the cultural impact of literature in past and present worlds and covers a range of 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:

  • Cultural and literary history
  • Digital humanities
  • Editing theory and practice
  • Gender and literature, women’s writing
  • Gothic
  • Historicism (neo-medieval, neo-Gothic, neo-Victorian, counter-Romantic)
  • Irish studies
  • Literary and critical theory
  • (Literary) Translation, Literature in translation
  • Literature and the environment
  • Literature and the law
  • Postcolonial studies
  • Welsh writing in English

Research centres

Many of our staff members working on English Literature are also part of our Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, or our cross-disciplinary research groups, Image Works and Science Humanities.