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Dr Will May 

Associate Professor

Dr Will May's photo

Dr Will May is an Associate Professor in English at the University of Southampton.

I completed my doctoral thesis at Balliol College, Oxford in 2007 and went on to lecture at Bath Spa University and St Anne's College, Oxford before joining Southampton as a teaching fellow in 2008. I was made a research fellow in 2009, a lecturer in 2010, and a senior lecturer in 2013.

I am a member of the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing (CMCW), and am committed to projects that use writing to bring different communities together. I helped set up the F.T. Prince Memorial Lecture, an annual English lecture which celebrates the work of the poet F.T. Prince, a former Professor of English at Southampton, and was part of the Leverhulme-funded project Story Places. This year I will be helping run Peripeteia, a website to support A-Level English students, and working on arts initiatives across the city. I also run the Department's Visit Days.

I am on the executive of University English where I represent the UK to the European Society for the Study of English.

Research interests

I am the editor of Stevie Smith’s Collected Poems and Drawings, and am currently writing a study of poetry and whimsy. I enjoy thinking about the reception of 20th-century poetry, and also have research interests in contemporary British fiction, and music and modernism. I would be interested in supervising students working in any of these areas.

I have recently edited a book of essays on the poet F.T. Prince; other publications include Stevie Smith and Authorship (Oxford University Press, 2010), which won the CCUE 2011 book prize, and Postwar Literature: 1950-1990 (Longman, 2010).

I guest edited a special issue on text-setting and libretti for Contemporary Music Review (Routledge), and have written articles on Emily Dickinson, Edward Lear, Elizabeth Taylor, and the pianist Harriet Cohen.

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Book Chapters

Creative Media and Artefacts

  • May, W. (Composer), Williams, L. (Other), & Frowde, R. (Performer). (Accepted/In press). The Night Dances. Performance



I am Head of English at Southampton University, and contribute to the undergraduate modules The Act of The Essay and Poetic Language.

I also convene the third-year teaching module Creative Writing in Schools

I supervise or co-supervise a number of doctoral students, including Sophie Cavey, who is working on the figure of the single mother in Olive Moore’s work, Krystyna Wieszczek, who is exploring George Orwell's reception in communist Poland, and Bevil Luck, who is completing a thesis on the work of F.T. Prince.

Dr Will May
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2027

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