MPhil/PhD English Studies

Research areas

A summary of our main areas of research focus is provided here. The English research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the English staff profiles pages.

Research groups

Please note: Bold name in the following staff list indicates members of staff based at the Cornwall Campus; all others are based in Exeter.

20th Century, Creative Writing and Film Studies

Professor Tim Kendall, Professor Steve Neale, Andy Brown, Dr Jo Gill, Dr Helen Hanson, Dr Joe Kember, Dr James Lyons, Dr Alex Murray, Sam North, Dr Maeve Pearson, Dr Jane Poyner

The diverse work of this large group includes specialist research on African-American writers; the American South; autobiography and life-writing; American and British modernism; postcolonial literature; Irish poetry; Conrad; Joyce; Lawrence; war poetry; Plath and Hughes; writing the city; South West writing; US cinema; early cinema; digital cinema and animation; film genres; film style, film sound and film history; US TV series and serials. We have creative writing staff working in poetry, screenwriting and fiction.

In 2009 we are hosting the British Association for American Studies Postgraduate Conference, and in 2011 the William Golding Centenary Conference.

19th Century

Professor Regenia Gagnier, Dr Jason Hall, Dr Joe Kember, Dr Joanne Parker, Dr John Plunkett, Dr Maeve Pearson, Dr Angelique Richardson, Dr Paul Young

Our 19th-century research includes specialist work on the fin-de-siècle; social and feminist theory; the New Woman; Victorian psychology; Queen Victoria; Darwinism and eugenics; Victorian poetry; Charles Dickens; and William Morris. Members of the research group have a strong record of attracting large grants for internationally distinguished projects and events. We take part in the University of California Dickens project, sending staff and postgraduates to its annual international events.

The Centre for Victorian Studies runs its own Visiting Speaker series that has included long-term collaborations with distinguished international visitors and it hosts regular international conferences, normally co-sponsored with the British Academy, other universities, professional organisations, or other Exeter research groups. 

18th Century

Professor Jane Spencer, Professor Nick Groom, Dr Robert Mack, Dr Corinna Wagner

Members of the 18th-Century research group specialise in: women poets of the Romantic era; the eighteenth-century novel; epic poetry; transatlantic relations; the development of the literary canon; feminist literary history and theory; oriental tales; Jane Austen; Aphra Behn; Frances Burney; James Fenimore Cooper; Oliver Goldsmith; Thomas Grey; Anna Seward; and Mary Wollstonecraft.

The group hosts the Eighteenth-Century Narrative Project, which focuses on the social, economic, political, sexual and colonial aspects of narrative and which regularly hosts conferences and workshops, including most recently on ‘Narrating the 18th Century’ (2007), ‘Romantic Animals’ (2008) and ‘Reconciling Reform and Revolution in an Age of Reaction’ (2008).

Medieval and Renaissance

Professor Andrew McRae, Professor Gerald MacLean, Dr Pascale Aebischer, Dr Karen Edwards, Dr Marion Gibson, Dr Eddie Jones, Dr Elliot Kendall, Dr Nick McDowell, Dr Henry Power, Dr Philip Schwyzer

The work of this group includes specialist research on the Middle English religious tradition; hermits and anchorites; literature and nationalism; Renaissance drama; satire; witchcraft and magic; politics and patronage; literature of the English Revolution; literature of foreign and domestic travel; science and literature; archaeology and literature; Renaissnace drama in performance on film; Shakespeare; Spenser; Marvell; and Milton. We organise the medieval Exeter Symposium and regularly host conferences and workshops.

Research Centres

Centre for Victorian Studies

The Centre for Victorian Studies (CVS) covers all areas of Victorian Britain and the Empire: culture (high Victorian and fin de siecle literature, gender, and sexuality); science (biology and economics); technology (print, optical and sound media). CVS is an institutional member of the University of California Dickens Project and annually sends one staff member and one advanced research student to California, where they share a week’s academic activities with international Victorianists.  CVS is also active in regular collaborations with the Nineteenth-Century Studies Centre at Birkbeck, the Victorian and late 19th and early 20th-century Divisions of the Modern Language Association of America, the North American Victorian Studies Association, the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, and the British Association for Victorian Studies. We have staff on the editorial boards of every significant Victorianist journal in Britain, North America and Australasia.

18th-Century Narrative Consortium

The 18th-Century Narrative Consortium aims to provide a focus for research activities and publications centred on the cultural phenomenon of eighteenth-century narrative. The period that saw the dawn of the novel also witnessed the exponential development of a market for print culture and huge social change.

Centre for South West Writing

The Centre for South West Writing exists to promote the appreciation of the region’s many important creative writers. Located in the College of Humanities, it brings together expertise from both the Streatham and Cornwall campuses of the University of Exeter.

Exeter Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place and Sustainability

Based at the Cornwall Campus, the aim of the Exeter Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place and Sustainability is to facilitate interdisciplinary research into literary representations and constructions of identity and place, dealing with literatures of myth, memory and history, and developing a ‘new’ eco-criticism for the 21st century.