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Professor Carl Plasa

BA (Oxon); MA, PhD (Southampton)


School of English, Communication and Philosophy

+44 (0)29 2087 5013
2.13, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


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

I have written numerous essays and articles on British, American, Caribbean and African American Literature, as well as three monographs: Slaves to Sweetness: British and Caribbean Literatures of Sugar (Liverpool UP, 2009); Charlotte Brontë (Palgrave, 2004); and Textual Politics from Slavery to Postcolonialism: Race and Identification (Macmillan, 2000). At the moment, I am completing a further monograph titled Literature, Art and Slavery: Ekphrastic Visions, to be published by Edinburgh University Press in its “Critical Studies in Atlantic Literatures and Cultures” series. 



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










  • 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 current teaching portfolio includes first-year lectures on Transforming Visions: Text and Image, together with a second-year module on African American literature from Frederick Douglass to Toni Morrison. I also teach an MA option entitled Postcolonial Brontë.

I am currently working on a monograph called Literature, Art and Slavery: Ekphrastic Visions for publication by Edinburgh University Press as part of its “Critical Studies in Atlantic Literatures and Cultures” series.

The book provides the first full-length account of the relationship between ekphrastic literature written since the mid-1990s and images of Atlantic slavery produced in Britain and the United States in the period from the 1770s to 1940—primarily paintings, but also engravings, daguerreotypes and early photographs. Part One addresses work that responds to images bearing witness to the horrors of the Middle Passage, the enforced transatlantic voyage that brought almost eleven million enslaved Africans to the New World between the late-fifteenth and late-nineteenth centuries. Part Two focuses on texts engaged in dialogue with visual representations of the manifold situations, experiences and histories to which that catastrophic voyage gave rise.

Additional publications include: 

“Race and Gender: Inkle, Yarico, Intertextual Revisions and the Problem of Female Vengeance,” in A Cultural History of Race, vol. 4 (Reformation and Enlightenment), ed. Nicholas Hudson (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), pp. 127-43. ISBN 9781350067516. In press.

“Charlotte Brontë’s Mythic Figures: Prometheus and Medusa in ‘The Death of Napoleon,’ The Professor and Jane Eyre,” in Edinburgh Companion to the Brontës and the Arts, ed. Deborah Wynne and Amber Regis (completed September 2020; currently with the editors).

Please see "Publications" for a fuller list of published works.

Research interests

  • Literary and visual representations of slavery
  • African American literature 
  • Caribbean literature
  • Ekphrasis
  • Victorian literature (especially Charlotte Brontë)


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
  • Ekphrasis

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. Details are given below:

2016: Caleb Sivyer, “The Politics of Gender and the Visual in Virginia Woolf and Angela Carter” (finishing supervisor)

2014: Jayne Thomas, “From Allusion to Intertext: Reading Wordsworth in Tennyson, Browning and Hopkins”

2014: Mohamed Maaloum, “The Loss of the Referent: Identity and Fragmentation in Richard Wright’s Fiction”

2013: Phillip Roberts, “Cinema and Control” (finishing supervisor)

2013: Theresa Wray, “A Reappraisal of the Short Stories of Mary Lavin” (finishing supervisor)

2011: Anthony Austin, “‘The Great Dread of Our Age’: Reading Alzheimer’s and the Gothic”

2009: Renée Chow, “Postcolonial Hauntologies: Creole Identity in Jean Rhys, Patrick Chamoiseau and David Dabydeen”

2008: Jodie Matthews, “Reading the Victorian Gypsy”

2004: Dale Duddridge, “‘Ein Anderer Schauplatz’: Theatrical Visions in Freudian Psychoanalysis”

2002: Sean Purchase, “Dickens’s Silent Empire”

2001: Adam Woodruff, “Walter Benjamin and Modernism: Towards a Poetics of Urban Representation”

1999: Tiffany Atkinson (currently Professor of Creative Writing, University of East Anglia), “The Dissenting Flesh: Corporeality, Representation and Theory”

1998: Simon Lee-Price, “Racial Hybridity and the Harlem Renaissance: History, Literature, Theory”

1996: Alan Grossman, “‘Things Welsh’: Identities on the March(es)”