Our strengths lie in the fields of poetry, intellectual history, theatre history, women’s writing, scholarly editing and the relationship between literature and politics.
The English faculty is one of the few in the United Kingdom with a distinguished and robust history of research and teaching in eighteenth-century studies, and an ongoing commitment to the developing field.
Researchers in the eighteenth century have their own lively and independent culture of debate and scholarship including two long-running research seminars (Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture/Romanticism). We also work with colleagues in earlier and later periods, and with those in other research networks.
In the spirit of the conversational sociability of our period, our work is characterised by collaboration, both with other Faculties within Oxford and interdisciplinary research groups such as the Modern Languages’ Besterman Centre, and with universities, scholars and research institutes in this country and abroad.
Our research is also enriched by the eighteenth-century holdings of the Bodleian library and the Ashmolean museum, with whom we collaborate in research and teaching, as well as by its connections with the wider heritage sector in the region.
From Rachel Trickett’s The Honest Muse to Roger Lonsdale’s pioneering editing and Marilyn Butler’s ambitious myth-mapping to the current work of Gerrard, Johnston, Williams and Womersley, we have promoted sustained interest in the dynamism and diversity of eighteenth-century poetry.
Our research now also embraces
- Studies in theatre (Taylor, Ballaster) and the novel (Johnston, Ballaster)
- New directions in material culture and the history of reading (Williams), visual studies (Taylor), and cognitive studies (Ballaster)
- History of the book, bibliography, and digital humanities (Williams, Ballaster)