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The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of Humanities


From discovering the secrets of the earliest English manuscripts, to exploring the cultural influence of Dickens, to interrogating literature’s response to genetic science, our research encompasses the entire range and diversity of contemporary literary studies. We write about the most well-known of writers in literary history, from Shakespeare to Austen to Morrison, as well as newer voices in Anglophone writing from across the globe. As researchers, we are excited by topics as various as the literatures of oceans and seas, Shakespeare and post-truth politics, interactions between literary and visual cultures, performances of royal power past and present, the history of ambiguity, and so much more.

Our research is at the core of how and why we teach. Our students explore and discover literature with us, as we transform the understanding of our specialist fields. Our influential books, on topics as diverse as medieval travels, Enlightenment gardens, the poetry of Victorian scientists, avant-garde American poetics, and the politics of postcolonial terrorism, inform the modules we offer students to study. Conversations and collaborations with our students, from first-years to PhDs, animate, challenge and inspire our thinking.

As well as leading debates within literary studies, our research makes a difference in the real world. We are currently working with local governments to interpret medieval heritage and drive regional development, curating arts events that help us understand money and the economy, building new kinds of poetry and arts communities in the city, and challenging policy-makers with provocative new drama. Our research goes beyond the walls of the university, and we take our students with us as we work with archives, museums and galleries, and engage with the wider community.

We are active in a number of research centres within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities - the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing, the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture, the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-century Research, and the Parkes Institute for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations - as well as working with Chawton House Library.


Join the Debate

We organise conferences, postgraduate colloquia, and research seminars which are open to academics, students and the general public.


Research Projects

From medival mapping to financial literacy, our collaborative research projects influence life outside the university.

Key Research Facts

English at Southampton prides itself on the quality and recognition of its research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework:

Postgraduate Research Degrees

We offer MA and PhD across the full range of literary studies. Click to find out more

Postgraduate Study
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