English Literature

Our English Literature specialists publish at the highest level on a wide range of topics. You'll find a brief description of their research and the areas in which they supervise below.


Dr Anthony Howe

My main research focus is Romantic period poetry, but I have broader interests in literary theory and poetics, literary controversy, the connections between poetry and philosophy, and Romantic period letter writing.

My monograph, Byron and the Forms of Thought (Liverpool, 2013), offers a provocative re-reading of Byron’s philosophical thought through an analysis of the poet’s varied use of literary form. I’m also the co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley (OUP, 2013) as well as Liberty and Poetic License: New Essays on Byron (Liverpool, 2008). I have forthcoming essays in the Keats-Shelley Review and the Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism (ed. David Duff). I’m on the editorial board for The Byron Journal and the Keats-Shelley Review, and speak regularly at major conferences on Romantic poetry. I’m currently working on a monograph provisionally entitled Romantic Writing and the Epistolary Mode and editing a collection of essays entitled Romanticism and the Letter.

I welcome PhD proposals on any aspect of British Romantic period literature, especially relating to Byron, Keats and Shelley.


Dr Islam Issa

My research intersects cultural studies, reception studies, and history. I have a particular interest in the modern-day reception of Early Modern English literature in global contexts, as well as wider interests in censorship, disability studies, and translation.

I am especially interested in the poetry and prose of Shakespeare and Milton, and my publications include Milton in the Arab-Muslim World (Routledge, 2016) – winner of the Milton Society of America’s Outstanding Book Award – as well as the co-edited volume, Milton in Translation (OUP, 2017). In the process of exploring reception, my work touches on a number of disciplines including visual art, cultural studies, music, politics, sociology, and theology. Outside of literary studies, I researched and curated a high-profile exhibition on Muslims in World War One. My current projects include a book about cultural and historical perceptions of blindness in the Middle East and a volume on Milton and digital humanities.

I welcome enquiries about PhD supervision on topics such as Milton's writings, Shakespeare's international presence, literary culture in the Middle East, and in particular, the global reception of English literature.


Dr Peter Jackson

My research is in the area of Comparative Literature, and I specialize in the relations between English and Scandinavian literatures. My work is strongly informed by literary theory, especially deconstruction and psychoanalysis.

My monograph Troubling Legacies explores the works of Knut Hamsun, a Norwegian prose modernist whose early works influenced the likes of Kafka, Camus and Joyce, but who was later condemned as a Nazi sympathiser. Troubling Legacies uses Derrida and Freud along with a historically informed reading of Hamsun, and does so in order to read what Hamsun, in spite of his reductive politics, opens up in literature. My current research is on autobiographical narratives in J.M. Coetzee and Karl Ove Knausgaard, early modernism in George Egerton and Scandinavian letters, and the translation and reception of Milton in Norway.

I welcome enquiries about PhD supervision on topics such as literary modernism, world literature and recent autobiographical narratives. Any work informed by Freud, Derrida or theories of World Literature will be of particular interest to me.


Dr Gregory Leadbetter

My research interests are in English Romanticism, and the intellectual, political and imaginative traditions in which its literature participates. My research focuses principally on poetry – especially Coleridge and Wordsworth – and the relationship between poetry, philosophy and the numinous. My work on twentieth-century and contemporary poetry, especially Ted Hughes, is continuous with these themes.

My monograph Coleridge and the Daemonic Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) won the University English (formerly CCUE) Book Prize 2012, and presents a major new reading of Coleridge based upon his fascination with the 'transnatural' and its signature embodiment in the daemonic figure. I have recently contributed chapters for Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press on Wordsworth’s 1807 Poems, in Two Volumes, the significance of the Hunt circle and the ‘Cockney School’ in Keats’s creative life, and Ted Hughes and shamanism. In May 2016 my article on a largely unknown poem by Coleridge (‘Orpheus’) featured in the Times Literary Supplement. Over the last few years I have also published essays on Coleridge, Wordsworth, Charles Lamb and Ted Hughes in The Wordsworth Circle, The Coleridge Bulletin, The Charles Lamb Society Bulletin, selected proceedings of the Wordsworth Summer Conference, and The Ted Hughes Society Journal. I am Vice-Chair of the Friends of Coleridge. I am also a regular contributor to The Poetry Review. I am currently working on a monograph provisionally entitled Coleridge's Invisible Religion: The Poetics of a Post-Religious Order, and a book on contemporary poetry.

I welcome PhD proposals on any aspect of British Romanticism, its connections to prior literature and its legacies, Ted Hughes, twentieth-century poetry and contemporary poetry. I also supervise PhDs in Creative Writing: please see the Creative Writing page for further information.


Dr Gemma Moss

My research has three broad themes: literary modernism, critical theory and music. I have published on D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and Ford Madox Ford, and I am working on a monograph that analyses music through T. W. Adorno in the work of James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Sylvia Townsend Warner. Issues of gender and postcolonial approaches to literature are always close at hand.

I welcome enquiries about PhD supervision from students working on literary modernism, especially in connection with music, critical theory, postcolonial studies or gender.


Professor David Roberts

I have published extensively in the fields of 17th- and 18th-century drama and literature. My Oxford University Press editions of Defoe and Chesterfield are widely cited by scholars and my study of the actor Thomas Betterton, published by Cambridge University Press, was shortlisted for the 2011 Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Award. In 2013 I published the first scholarly edition of Thomas Betterton’s library catalogue for the Society for Theatre Research. A further monograph, Restoration Plays and Players, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. I also write books about teaching; this year, with Izabela Hopkins, I published Games for English Literature with Libri. Just now I'm working on a biography of George Farquhar.

I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the UK Higher Education Academy in 2013 and am a Fellow of the English Association. My work has appeared in numerous leading journals including Shakespeare Quarterly, The Review of English Studies, and The Times Literary Supplement, and I occasionally write programme essays for theatres including the Royal Opera House and the Bristol Old Vic.

I welcome the chance to supervise projects in late seventeenth-century literature.


Dr Serena Trowbridge

My research interests lie in 18th- and 19th-century poetry, Pre-Raphaelitism, Gothic and eco-criticism.

Publications include Christina Rossetti’s Gothic (Bloomsbury, 2013) and edited collections including Pre-Raphaelite Masculinities (Ashgate, 2014) and Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum (Pickering & Chatto, 2014). In 2013 I created The Virtual Theorist, an online resource for students about literary theory. I am Vice-President of the Pre-Raphaelite Society, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. You can also read my blog about these interests and more. I am currently preparing an edition of the poems of Elizabeth Siddall.

I would be interested to receive PhD proposals on nineteenth century poetry, Pre-Raphaelitism or Gothic.


Dr Sarah Wood

I publish on the problems posed for feminist criticism by an emerging canon of science fiction written by women. I am also exploring projects in African American literature and children’s fiction.