About the Faculty
Oxford’s English Faculty is the largest in Britain, and one of the most illustrious Schools of English in the world. Established in 1894, it has numbered among its members some of the most important critics and scholars in the field, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Edmund Blunden, Nevill Coghill, Helen Gardner, Richard Ellmann, Terry Eagleton, and many others. We are now home to nearly eighty Professors, Readers, and Lecturers, with about the same number again of Tutors and Research Fellows based in Colleges. At any one time, there are roughly a thousand students studying within the Faculty at undergraduate level, and another three hundred at graduate level in the largest English graduate school in the country. Traditionally teaching and research in the Faculty has covered the entire history of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, along with language studies. More recent growth areas include world literature and film studies.
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise we submitted 93 staff; 40 per cent of their research activity was ranked at the highest (4*) level - of a quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. We have consistently been voted the top university for English by the prestigious Guardian University Guide, with a score of 100 per cent. Our teaching has been graded ‘Excellent’ in every Quality Assurance Exercise.
Research within Oxford English is unsurpassed, with dozens of critical monographs, collections, and studies appearing every year. Recent widely-noticed work includes Robert Douglas-Fairhurst's Becoming Dickens: The Invention of a Novelist (winner of the 2011 Duff Cooper Prize); Helen Small’s The Long Life (winner of the 2008 Truman Capote Award and the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay prize); Shakespeare in Parts (winner of the David Bevington Award for Best New Book in Early Drama Studies), jointly written by Faculty members Simon Palfrey and Tiffany Stern; Hermione Lee’s Edith Wharton (shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award); and Paul Giles’s Atlantic Republic. We also continue a long tradition of textual scholarship, reinvigorating English studies by new editions of great writers: editions of Bacon, Coleridge, Donne, Gibbon, Hutchinson, Jonson, Milton, Swift, Shakespeare, and Wordsworth are all currently underway within the Faculty. Several leading journals are based here, including Essays in Criticism, the Review of English Studies, and Notes and Queries. Two major current projects, recipients of substantial external funding, illustrate well the range and depth of expertise within the Faculty. The first, directed by Professor Malcolm Godden, will gather, edit, and publish the entire (and immense) corpus of pre-1100 commentary on Boethius’s De Consolatione Philosophiae, a central work of European philosophy: the project has been awarded a prestigous five-year research grant by the Leverhulme Trust. The second, ‘Making Britain: Visions of Home and Abroad 1870-1945’, co-directed by Professor Elleke Boehmer, will investigate the many and various South Asian contributions to British social, cultural and political life during the period: it has been awarded a four-year AHRC research grant.
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