Medieval literature

Our research explores the literature and language of the Middle Ages, from the beginnings of English in the early medieval period, until the end of the fifteenth century. Our approaches to medieval literature include a rich variety of methodologies, from traditional philological investigation, palaeography and editing, to the contemporary theoretical. What brings these together is our desire to contextualise and understand medieval literature, whether by seeing it in its own historical context, or interpreting the medieval in the modern. Our research focuses include medieval romance and gendered identities, saints’ lives, literature and science, and early English religious literature.


Early modern literature

Our research in early modern literature investigates a wide range of literary and cultural production from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with particular emphases on women’s writing in the period; early modern drama, including Shakespeare; and poetry and poetics.

Our work is supported by EMLAC (Early Modern Literature and Culture), an interdisciplinary research group based in the Department of English.


18th and 19th century literature

The department’s research in 18th and 19th century British literature and culture encompasses the full breadth of this dynamic period. Our scholars have made field-defining contributions to literary theory, transatlantic literature, English literature of the Pacific, and the study of the novel. In addition, we undertake outstanding research in the history of reading; sentiment, sociability, and affect; historical and speculative fiction; literature and science; politics and the novel; women’s writing and gender; theories of prose; the history of criticism; literary style; and literature and ethics.

We maintain a lively research culture through the Novel Network, the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Study Group, and a close association with the Sydney Intellectual History Network and the Long Eighteenth-Century Reading Group. Our scholars regularly organise and participate in conferences of global importance to setting new directions in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century studies.