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Professor Irene Morra


+44 (0)29 2087 5662
2.20, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am currently Visiting Professor in English Literature at the University of Toronto.

Current book projects: 

  • Through a Fog Darkly: Britain Noir
  • Britain, Canada, and the Arts: Cultural Exchange as Postwar Renewal


  • Verse Drama in England, 1900-2015: Art, Modernity, and the National Stage (Bloomsbury Methuen, 2016)
  • The New Elizabethan Age: Culture, Society, and National Identity after World War II, ed. with Rob Gossedge (I.B. Tauris, 2016)
  • Britishness, Popular Music and National Identity: The Making of Modern Britain (Routledge, 2014)
  • Twentieth-Century British Authors and the Rise of Opera in Britain (Ashgate, 2007)

Please click on  'Publications' profile for a list of peer-reviewed articles and essays.

Primary research and teaching/supervisory interests :

  • drama (including music-drama), especially early modern, Victorian, and modern/contemporary
  • literature and music: 
    • intermediality and aesthetics
    • ideas of musicality in prose, fiction, and drama
  • opera studies
  • popular music and music culture
  • film and television studies (adaptation, film musical, dramatists writing for film)
  • cultural afterlives, especially Renaissance and medieval
  • Victorian intertextuality and cultural exchange
  • the modern and contemporary novel, especially American and British
  • twentieth-century English political and social history 
  • English cultural nationalism and class politics in art
  • British and Canadian artistic and cultural exchange 


Education and Qualifications

  • B.A. (English Literature, Musicology, and French Literature, University of Toronto)
  • M.A. (Queen's University)
  • PhD (University of Toronto)

Professional memberships

British Shakespeare Association (BSA)

British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS)

Modern Language Association of America (MLA)

Modernist Studies Association (MSA)

North American Conference for British Studies (NACBS)

Shakespeare Association of America (SAA)




  • Morra, I. 2021. Music. In: Kornhaber, D. and Loehlin, J. N. eds. Tom Stoppard in Context. Literature in Context Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 147-154., (10.1017/9781108303736.023)















I have designed and taught the following modules at Cardiff University:

  • Critical Reading and Critical Writing (team-taught module)
  • Drama: Page and Stage
  • Shakespeare’s Comedies
  • John Donne
  • The Victorian Novel (with Dr. Becky Munford)
  • Social Politics and National Style: American Fiction and Form, 1920-1940
  • The American South in Literature and Film
  • Literature and the London Blitz
  • Modern Drama I
  • Modern Drama II
  • Modern Drama: Page, Stage, Screen
  • The Film Musical
  • Music and Nation
  • Literature into Film
  • Shakespeare and the Victorians
  • Modern and Contemporary American Drama (MA)
  • Against the Law: Reading and Writing Homosexuality in Post-War England (MA)

I have supervised postgraduate dissertations on Renaissance drama, the Victorian novel, twentieth-century American fiction, 1920s experimental theatre, British interwar and postwar culture, opera, and modern and contemporary drama.

I welcome enquiries about supervision in any of the areas above or in the research areas listed on the 'Overview' and 'Research' pages.

My research is often interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary, and has ranged across literary periods and genres.

I am currently working on two book projects. Through a Fog Darkly: Britain Noir and Britain, Canada, and the Arts: Postwar Renewal and Cultural Exchange.

My publications on Victorian literature have included explorations of  the figure of the isolated musician in the Victorian novel; Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, and nineteenth-century opera; and the intertextual presence of Shakespeare, Milton, and Tennyson in the novels of Dickens and Twain.

Essays on modern and contemporary culture have analysed music and 'gay aesthetic' in the novels of Alan Hollinghurst; the Edwardian enthusiasms of David Mamet on film; intertextuality in Nella Larsen; the Anglophilia of Lerner and Lowe; the anti-theatricality of the contemporary English stage; and the relationship between artistic expression, social empowerment, and cultural nationalism in the reception of the London Olympics Opening ceremony.

Other essays have explored the New Elizabethan status of Hilary Mantel, the signifying theatricality of Greek drama in the work of Tennessee Williams, the influence of 1930s class politics on the drama of Terence Rattigan, and the dynamic, pervasive resonance of Shakespearean theatre in modern and contemporary politics, pageantry, and drama.

My books have focussed primarily on literature, the arts, and the social and political implications of cultural nationalism in modern and contemporary Britain, from a variety of perspectives and methodologies.