English Literature

Why study English Literature at Brookes?

Our English Literature course allows you to explore classic works and contemporary texts side-by-side. There are Creative Writing options in all three years of study. You can study English Literature as a single honours degree or combine it with another subject.

Study English Literature

Students' perspective

Meet the staff

Module choices

Readings skills

Field trips

You can't study theatre without experiencing it, and we run regular theatre trips to see shows. In 2019, all first year students taking the Shakespeare module got to see Measure for Measure at the Barbican in London.

Students are pictured with staff members Cato Marks, Laura Higgins, Alex Goody. Lis Jay, Cheryl Birdseye, Sarah Waters and Russell Anderson.

Shakespeare-Field-Trip

Guest speakers

Ishion Hutchinson visits Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre

Philip Pullman

Hilary Mantel

Facilities

ignitionpress logo

ignitionpress

Established in 2017, ignitionpress is an award-winning poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets. Pamphlets published by the press have so far received four Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice selections (for A Hurry of English, Hinge, Ripe, and Sargam / Swargam). Hinge by Alycia Pirmohamed was also shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award, 2020 and the press won the Michael Michael Marks Publishers' Award in 2021. You can find out more about the press and how we work in this interview on the Friday Poem website with our Managing Editor, Les Robinson, or watch this short video that we produced for the Michael Marks Awards, 2021.

Staff

Dr Carina  Bartleet

Dr Carina Bartleet

Senior Lecturer in Drama

Carina Bartleet works on modern and contemporary theatre and drama in the UK and the rest of Europe. She has particular research interests in the following areas:

  • women writing for the theatre
  • theatre, science and medicine
  • gender and performance
  • drama, theatre and intertextuality.

Carina has worked with students on a wide range of productions ranging from Kane’s 4: 48 Psychosis to Ibsen and adaptations of Pinter, Ionesco and Angela Carter as well as on devised pieces. Before coming to Oxford Brookes, Carina worked at the University of Reading where she taught a wide range of theatre and drama courses from renaissance drama to contemporary British theatre. She is excited by the prospect of working on a range of Brookes’ drama and performance modules that mix theory, text and practical elements of theatre.

Areas of expertise

  • Theatre and science
  • Gender and performance (feminist and LGBTQ theatre)
  • Contemporary theatre writing
Professor Katharine Craik

Professor Katharine Craik

Research Lead and Professor in Early Modern Literature (1500-1750)

Katharine completed her BA, MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge, and held lectureships at Worcester College (University of Oxford) and University College London before arriving at Oxford Brookes in 2005. She specialises in Shakespeare and early modern literature, with particular interests in the history of emotion and sensation, textual criticism and editing, and the interface between critical and creative writing.

Katharine is currently working on a study of vividness and artificial life entitled Lifelike Shakespeare (under contract with Oxford University Press). She has published two collections of essays: Shakespeare and Emotion (Cambridge University Press, 2020); and, with Tanya Pollard, Shakespearean Sensations: The Experience of Theatre in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her monograph Reading Sensations in Early Modern England (Palgrave, 2007), explored the power of literature to affect readers’ minds, bodies and souls. Her archival work on the sources of Ben Jonson's masques was published in The Cambridge Works of Ben Jonson (Cambridge University Press, 2014). 

Katharine was Principal Investigator on Watching, a project funded by an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust to explore the Renaissance history of sleep (www.watching.eca.ed.ac.uk). A collaboration between academics, scientists, theatre practitioners and schools, Watching culminated in March 2015 with four full-scale promenade performances by twilight of Katharine's new opera on sleep in the landmark Glasshouses of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden. Watching was profiled on BBC Radio 3 (Free Thinking) and on Radio Scotland (The Culture Show). With Ewan Fernie (Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham), Katharine has developed and co-written Marina, a new play based on Shakespeare's Pericles, which was adopted for Research and Development with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2018.

Katharine writes creatively, and a selection of her poems appeared in The Harvard Review in 2019. Her poetry was longlisted for the National Poetry Prize in 2020, shortlisted for the international Bridport Prize in 2013 and 2014, and for the Dermot Healy Poetry Competition in 2014. With colleagues at Oxford and UEA, she is a commissioning editor of beyond criticism, a new series of books with the independent Boiler House Press which sets out to explore the interface between critical and creative writing: beyondcriticism.net. Katharine also has extensive experience as a librettist. An opera based on Wagner’s Das Rheingold, written in collaboration with composer David Knotts, was commissioned by English National Opera to celebrate the opening of the new Clore Studio at the London Coliseum and premiered in a full-scale professional production in April 2004. Katharine has also collaborated with David on operas for the Youth Group at Glyndebourne and London’s W11 Opera. Her opera entitled The Quicken Tree, based on Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and written in collaboration with composer Dee Isaacs, was performed in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens in March 2011.

Outside Oxford Brookes, Katharine is Executive Secretary of The Malone Society (www.malonesociety.com). Since its foundation in 1906, the Society’s purpose has been to make more accessible the materials essential for the study of English Renaissance drama.

Katharine is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. She has recently examined PhD dissertations at the University of Sydney, the Shakespeare Institute, University College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of St Andrews and Loughborough University. She served from 2016 - 2020 as External Examiner for BA programmes in English at the University of Bristol, and for MA programmes (including Shakespeare and Creativity) at the Shakespeare Institute.

Professor Alex Goody

Professor Alex Goody

Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture

I studied for my BA at the University of York and for my MA at the University of Leeds. My PhD on 'Mina Loy’s Modernist Aesthetic’ was awarded at the University of Leeds. My teaching career has taken me from Leeds, to Falmouth University in Cornwall, before arriving at Oxford Brookes University. I teach primarily on modern and contemporary literature, media and culture, and American literature and culture. From 2014-2020 I was on the Executive Committee of the British Association for Modernist Studies. I am currently the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead (Academic) for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr Laura Higgins

Dr Laura Higgins

Senior Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Drama

Laura did a BEd Hons in Drama at Saint Luke’s College (University of Exeter) and an MA in Theatre: Text and Production at the University of East Anglia. She completed her PhD at Royal Holloway University of London.

Before joining the Drama team at Oxford Brookes in 2013, Laura worked for seven years as an Associate Lecturer and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway University of London. She has also taught courses in Shakespeare: Text and Performance in the Drama Department of Kingston University and at Arcadia University, London.

Professor Elisabeth Jay

Professor Elisabeth Jay

Professor Emerita of English Literature

Dr Tatiana Kontou

Dr Tatiana Kontou

Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature

I am originally from Athens, Greece and I came to the UK to study English Literature as an undergraduate. I received my MA and DPhil from the University of Sussex where I also taught before joining Brookes in 2011.
My first book, Spiritualism and Women’s Writing (Palgrave, 2009), examined Victorian spiritualism and psychical research in a variety of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century texts. I have edited a collection of essays on Women and the Victorian Occult (Routledge, 2010) and co-edited The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult (Ashgate, 2012). I have also published a volume of primary sources on Anti-Spiritualism for the series Victorian Spiritualism, 1840-1930 (Routledge, 2014).
 I am particularly interested in sensation fiction and the ways supernatural occurrences were mediated in such novels that were considered by the Victorians to provoke a particularly immersive reading experience. To this end, I have published chapters on Wilkie Collins and Florence Marryat (this latter a fervent advocate of spiritualism besides her career as a popular and prolific sensation novelist). Marryat’s encounters with her dead children during seances have led to my current project on lost children, psychical research and British psychoanalysis. For this book manuscript, I was awarded a Research Excellence Award from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Another research interest I am pursuing is nineteenth-century material culture. I co-organised a one-day symposium on Victorian Things in 2013 and I have recently completed a multi-volume series on Victorian Material Culture (Routledge, 2022), co-edited with Vicky Mills. For this series I co-edited a volume on Fashionable Things taking as a case-study the middle-class Victorian lady and fashions such as false hair, tiny boots, hair jewellery, mourning-wear and taxidermized hats.
I am also associate investigator of the research project ‘Representations of Greece in Victorian Popular Culture’, funded by the Hellenic Association for Research and Innovation. Alongside colleagues and early-career researchers from the University of Athens, I explore the representation of the modern Greek state in Victorian popular culture, periodicals, ephemera and material culture. I am currently writing on Victorian Greek women artists of the diaspora related to the London-based art collector Constantine Ionides and I have presented papers on this work in webinars and conferences.
I like to bring my research interests into the classroom where possible. Examples of undergraduate modules informed by my book projects are a second-year module on Victorian sensation fiction, a third-year module on the Victorian Supernatural and a postgraduate module on Victorian childhood.
I welcome inquiries from potential MPhil and DPhil candidates on any of these areas of research.

Professor Daniel Lea

Professor Daniel Lea

Interim Head of the School of English and Modern Languages

Dan completed his PhD, J.G. Farrell: Towards a Postmodern Fiction at Royal Holloway College, University of London in 1996. After taking up posts at Kingston University and Liverpool John Moores University, he joined Brookes in 2002 as a specialist in contemporary writing. He teaches in all aspects of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century literature and convenes the Contemporary Literature and Dissertation modules. He has published widely in the area of post-1945 British writing and is general editor of the Contemporary British Novelists series (published by Manchester University Press).

Dr Eleanor  Lowe

Dr Eleanor Lowe

Interim Programme Lead for English Literature, Drama and Creative Writing

I studied at the University of Durham before taking an MA in Shakespeare Studies and PhD at The Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham) in Stratford-upon-Avon. Prior to working at Oxford Brookes I was post-doctoral research fellow for the Richard Brome Online project based in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance at Royal Holloway, University of London.

My research interests are divided between two main strands: editing and material culture. I worked on the Royal Shakespeare Company Complete Works of William Shakespeare (2008) and have published editions of George Chapman's An Humorous Day's Mirth (online with Digital Renaissance Editions, 2013), Richard Brome's A Mad Couple Well Matched and The Love-Sick Court (online, as part of Richard Brome Online, 2013), John Ford's The Fair Maid of the Inn (with Martin Wiggins; OUP, 2017), as well as 'Accounts and Inventories of the Revels Office, 1541-1546' (The Malone Society, 2016).

My interest in material culture largely focuses on clothing, linen and cleanliness. I have written on this topic with reference to humours comedy (especially An Humorous Day's Mirth), and in relation to plays by Shakespeare, Jonson and Middleton. I have also written about bookbinding and marriage in Brome's The Love-Sick Court and discussed Viscount Montague's 'Household Book', in particular the role of the steward in household management and its relevance to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. I am currently working on a monograph on Cleanliness and Early Modern Drama as well as writing about Fletcher and genre.

Dr Andrea  Macrae

Dr Andrea Macrae

Principal Lecturer in Student Experience and Stylistics

My research, consultancy, teaching and pedagogical projects all have communication and storytelling at their core. 

I teach, research and publish in the areas of stylistics, narratology, world literature and cognitive poetics, with a specialism in deixis and deictic shifting. I also teach performance poetry, flash fiction, short stories and twentieth and twenty-first century literature more broadly. Most recently, I have been developing modules which bring together literature and sustainability, and English studies and entrepreneurship.

I also research the language of charity fundraising communications, with a focus on attention, absorption, empathy and authenticity. I am currently writing a research monograph on these areas and working on some related empirical projects. 

I am also interested in student skills literacy, employability and enterprise within HE English, and run several projects on these issues. For example, from 2017-2021 I led the Oxford Brookes Student Research Launch Pad, a university-wide project which supports undergraduate and post-graduate taught students in sharing and publishing their research. With Dr. Shirley Shipman I co-run the Humanities and Social Sciences Assessment and Skills project, which supports staff in developing assessment formats and related teaching, to help enhance students' skills development and skills literacy. 

I also co-lead the Integrating English project (www.integratingenglish.com), promoting stylistics and its place in English education. I have worked with the AQA in developing aspects of the Language and Literature A level specification and in producing teaching and learning resources for teachers and students. 

Dr Cato  Marks

Dr Cato Marks

Teaching Fellow in English Literature and Widening Participation Officer

Dr Niall Munro

Dr Niall Munro

Senior Lecturer in American Literature & Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre

I am a Senior Lecturer in American Literature and also Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre.

I studied for my undergraduate degree at the University of St. Andrews, and completed a PGCE in English at Oxford Brookes. After teaching at secondary level for a number of years, I returned to Brookes to do an MA in English and then a PhD about the American modernist poet Hart Crane. My main area of research is twentieth-century American literature, particularly American modernist writings, but I have taught a wide range of courses about American, British, and European literature.

I am the Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, which conducts research into poetry, runs an international poetry competition, a new poetry pamphlet press called ignitionpress, poetry workshops for military veterans, and organizes poetry projects in the community, including a Weekly Poem initiative that I edit. In addition to the website, the Poetry Centre posts details of its news and events on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Dr Daniel O'Gorman

Dr Daniel O'Gorman

Vice Chancellor Research Fellow in English Literature

I am currently module leader for the third-year undergraduate module, 'Contemporary Literature', having taught it many times previously in previous roles at Brookes, including as a Lecturer in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature from 2016 to 2018. This module defines contemporary writing as that which has been published within the past ten years. As a result, the texts and topics on it change slightly every year, always making it an exciting module to teach.

I also lead the English and Modern Languages research cluster, Networks and Localities.

I have worked at Oxford Brookes previously in more teaching-focused roles, and have also taught extensively on contemporary literature, critical theory, study skills and many other topics at London South Bank University, Bucks New University, and Royal Holloway, University of London, where I completed my PhD in 2014.

I am an Associate Editor at the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Routledge).

Professor Nicole  Pohl

Professor Nicole Pohl

Professor in Early Modern Literature and Critical Theory

Nicole Pohl has published and edited books on women's utopian writing in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, European salons and epistolarity, and the Bluestockings. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Elizabeth Montagu Correspondence Online (EMCO) project: https://www.elizabethmontagunetwork.co.uk/

Nicole Pohl is welcoming MA/MRes/PhD projects that concern any aspect of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, utopias and utopianism.

Dr Dinah Roe

Dr Dinah Roe

Reader in 19th Century Literature

Dinah Roe received her BA from Vassar College. Funded by the Overseas Research Scholarship award, she received her PhD in English Literature from University College London in 2004 for a thesis on Christina Rossetti's devotional work. She specialises in 19th-century literature, but has taught across a variety of periods, including the 18th century, the Romantic period, Modernism, as well as contemporary literature.

Areas of expertise

Dinah's research is concentrated in 19th-century British literature, with a specific focus on poetry and Pre-Raphaelitism. Poets in whom she takes a particular interest are Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and Algernon Charles Swinburne. Her work is heavily interdisciplinary, and her research often explores connections between 19th-century art and poetry. She is also interested in 19th-century material culture, as well as the art and literary criticism of the period. 

Dinah would welcome research proposals in any of these areas.

Dr Eric White

Dr Eric White

Reader in American Literature

Eric White is Reader in American Literature at Oxford Brookes University, and his research specializes in transatlantic avant-garde writing and culture.

He pursued his BA at the University of British Columbia in Canada before completing his postgraduate work at the University of Cambridge, supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada doctoral fellowship. Before starting at Oxford Brookes, he taught at the University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, and the University of Edinburgh. He has been awarded fellowships by the Beinecke Library, Yale University, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Oxford.

Together with Dr. Georgina Colby, he is Co-Editor of the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Avant-Garde Writing and Edinburgh Foundations in Avant-Garde Writing Series. Complementing his literary research and editing work, Eric is also PI of the Avant-Gardes and Speculative Technology (AGAST) Project, a digital humanities collaboration that re-imagines modernists’ inventions with prize-winning writers such as Iain Sinclair and Jay Bernard using eXtended Reality (XR).  AGAST projects have been funded by CILIP/Arts Council England, the European Research Council and the Independent Social Research Foundation.

Dr Simon White

Dr Simon White

Reader in Romantic & Nineteenth-Century Literature

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