We are one of the UK’s leading English departments with an international reputation for innovative research. Our research is diverse and inclusive, encompassing literatures in English from the UK and all parts of the world. Key themes and approaches include material and digital texts, poetry and poetics, literature and the environment, science and medical humanities, spatial humanities, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity.

The Department of English supports research into the production, transmission, and reception of literatures in English from the earliest period to the present day.

Acknowledging the long and continuing importance of English as a world language, our aim is to investigate the historical, geographical, and contemporary contexts in which literary texts are produced in the UK, in its former colonies, and in many other parts of the world. Through individual and collaborative projects we undertake specialist research in the literatures of all periods. We interrogate what ‘literature’ is at different historical moments, who writes it and who reads it, and we evaluate the significance of English literature in the formation of cultural identities, beliefs, and cultural capital.

Our research covers a wide range of approaches and methodologies, including literary criticism, literary history, interdisciplinary approaches, cultural materialism, critical and cultural theory, archival research, discourse analysis, digital humanities, scholarly editing and creative writing across all genres, including creative non-fiction. Attention to questions of genre, literary form, rhetoric, and language underpins our work. Our research strategy is managed by the Research Advisory Group, comprising Associate Professors/Readers and Professors in the department, who also provide research mentoring for all staff.

Beyond the department

Our research feeds into School of Humanities research clusters, and forms part of the overall research strategies of the Faculty of Arts.


We run a regular research-seminar series that takes place every fortnight during term time. We also host numerous conferences and other research events for the academic community and the general public.

Interested in being a visiting researcher?

If you would like to be a visiting researcher at the University of Bristol, please see the School of Humanities' guidelines for visiting researchers, where you will also find an application form.

Podcast on Early Career Research at Bristol

Click to listen to four early career researchers discuss their recent work and their forthcoming projects.

Podcast on interdisciplinary research in English Studies

Click to listen to four colleagues from the English Department talking about recent awards from the Brigstow Institute

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