Research areas

Below you can find a list of the literature and languages research interests we have in the School, grouped according to the broad subject areas or periods in which our academics work.

We invite contact from prospective postgraduate research students.

Contemporary writing

Our research in contemporary writing is diverse and includes both literary-critical and creative work. In this area, our research interests and expertise are focused on contemporary literature and its aesthetic, literary-theoretical, cultural, ethical, and political contexts. Our approach to contemporary writing insists on the interconnection between creative artists and literary critics/theorists, and assesses in particular the work of living writers, the tradition and future of innovative writing, the environment and climate change, the nature of publishing as an innovative and radical political enterprise, medical humanities, literature and the body; questions of literary and political freedom, and distinctions between "genre" and "literary" fiction.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Lucy BellDr Helen HughesDr Allan JohnsonDr Adeline Johns-PutraDr Holly LuhningDr Donna McCormackProf Bran NicolDr Stephen MooneyDr Angela SzczepaniakDr Paul VlitosProf Marion Wynne-Davies.

Film studies

Reseachers in film in the School of Literature and Languages work on a range of specialist topics within the areas of cinema studies and visual studies, including issues of gender, the interface between music and the cinema, documentary film and media, genre cinema, cognitive analysis of the moving image, and animation studies. Our researchers have close links to colleagues working in the Department of Music and Media at Surrey.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Bella Honess RoeDr Helen HughesProf Bran NicolDr Maria PoulakiProf Phil Powrie.

Intercultural communication

This area of research investigates how intercultural exchanges are enacted when communication takes place between parties who share linguistic resources, but differ in the cultural backgrounds and assumptions they bring to bear upon the communication. Our interests include communication in commercial for profit settings, intergenerational communication with family and friends, institutional communication and communication in transnational contexts, resulting from globalisation.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Doris DippoldDr Rosina Marquez-Reiter.

Medieval literature

Researchers in this area explore the intersection between medieval literature, women’s writing, gender and sexuality. They have special interests in women’s literary culture in England from 650-1150, in queer theory and medieval literature, and in cultural, scholarly and religious interactions between East and West, including medieval western representations of Islam. The School is home to the Women’s Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and led by Prof Diane Watt.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Amy MorganProf Diane WattDr Shazia Jagot.

Shakespeare and Renaissance drama

Researchers in Shakespeare studies in the School of Literature and Languages examine the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries in a range of contexts: political and moral philosophy, performance, cognitive psychology, early modern history, literary theory, historiography, and gender. Our academics working in this area work in close conjunction with researchers in Surrey’s Guildford School of Acting.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Neema ParviniProf Marion Wynne-Davies.

Theoretical linguistics

Theoretical linguistics at Surrey is co-ordinated by the world-leading research centre, the Surrey Morphology Group (SMG). Its research combines the investigation of grammatical categories in a broad sample of languages with the use of explicit formal and statistical frameworks for the expression of typological and theoretical generalizations. The SMG has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages project, the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust, among others. The SMG has been consistently highly rated for its research, notably in the Research Assessment Exercises.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Matthew BaermanDr Oliver Bond; Dr Matthew J Carroll; Prof Greville CorbettDr Timothy FeistDr Irina Monich; Mr Jeremy Pasquéréau; Dr Helen Sims-Williams.

The long nineteenth century

Researchers in this area undertake significant research in the wide field of interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies, encompassing Romantic literature, Victorian literature and culture, fin-de-siècle writing and the arts, and the literature, culture and politics of the early Twentieth Century. Our interests range across literary genres and forms, with particular research highlights in travel writing and mobility in both the Romantic and Victorian eras, and in Victorian poetry, popular fiction, theatre, sensation fiction, esotericism and the occult, French political exiles in Britain and anarchist transnationalism between 1880 and 1914, and the intersection between writing and sculpture.

Researchers working in this area: Dr Constance BantmanDr Allan JohnsonDr Adeline Johns-PutraDr Charlotte MathiesonDr Beth PalmerProf Patricia PulhamDr Lucy Ella RoseDr Carl Thompson.


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