Literature and the environment

Group members

Tamsin Badcoe

Tamsin works on the intersection of poetic and devotional forms with early modern spatial and textual practices including those of cosmography, chorography, geography, and navigation; the literary representation of early modern environments, specifically coastlines, wetlands, and islands, and the ship at sea; the popularity of poetry in print during the early modern period.

Steve De Hailes

Steve’s research centres on the liminal and otherworldly landscapes found in medieval and early modern literature. He is particularly interested in the role that highland topographies (hills, plateaus, mountains, cliffs, valleys) play in the medieval and early modern imagination, and in the otherworldly creatures and entities who appear in mountainous and similarly-liminal landscapes throughout this period.

Sue Edney

Sue is an expert in 18th and 19th century poetry, with special interests in ecocriticism, georgic writing and questions of sustainability and stewardship. She is also interested in the ramifications of ecoGothic writing, especially as they relate to small creatures, like slugs, microrhizomes, and 'weeds'. Her most recent interest, which concerns the decolonisation of plants and animals, has come out of working with georgic and the huge estate planning in the UK in the 17th and 18th century.

Jess Farr-Cox

Jess’ research interests include the environment and how humans interact with it, primarily in terms of violence (e.g., hunting and fishing for food, but also the ritual pursuit of animals for other purposes, such as foxhunting or bullfighting). Jess is also interested in how both literature and film can appropriate animals and landscapes as symbolic containers, often with no regard for what those creatures or places are actually like.

Carrie Etter

Carrie specialises in poetry and creative writing, publishing essays on individual poets such as Sherman Alexie, Peter Reading, and W.B. Yeats, as well as on aspects of craft, including ecopoetry and prose poetry. Carrie’s work in progress includes an essay on contemporary poets’ use of polyvocality to respond to the climate crisis and a volume of urban ecopoems.

Erin Forbes

Erin specializes in African American and U.S. literature of the long 19th century, with interests in the intersections between race and environment, aesthetics, late eighteenth-century yellow fever epidemics, crime writing/the popular periodical press, the penitentiary, slave insurgencies/revolts, & literature and religion, especially the Spiritualist movement.

Billie Gavurin

Billie is interested in the intersection of literature and science from the nineteenth into the early twentieth century, particularly in connection with human-animal studies. Billie’s PhD examined the depiction of animal-human hybrids in late Victorian and Edwardian literature, and she is currently in the early stages of a research project focusing on counterfactual depictions of prehistoric hominins from 1870-1930.

Stephen James

Stephen is currently working on two monographs on Geoffrey Hill’s complex responses to the natural world: Geoffrey Hill and the Poetry of Nature: 1949-1996 and Geoffrey Hill’s Moral Landscape: 1996-2016. He has published two articles on this subject and a third is in the pipeline.

Michael Malay

Michael works on poetry and environmental literature. He is especially interested in the following fields – animal studies, ecofeminism and ecocritical theory – and is currently working on a project that explores the relationships between people and plants.

Kate McClune

Kate’s primary research focus is Older Scots literature (particularly manuscript compilation and transmission), and literature that relates to borderlands. This has developed into an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between medieval archival material and contemporary approaches to animal conservation.

Rachel Murray

Rachel has research interests in twentieth-century literature, animal studies, and the environment. Her first monograph The Modernist Exoskeleton: Insects, War, Literary Form was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020. Rachel is currently working on her second book, Marine Attachments in Modern and Contemporary Poetry, as well as an edited collection, Blue Extinction in Literature, Art, and Culture (Palgrave).

Joan Passey

Joan researches representations of seas and coasts in nineteenth-century literature and culture with a focus on anxious, Gothic, polluted, postcolonial, and queer ecologies. Joan is interested in the health of the sea and sea as a health environment, seasickness, and shipwrecks as Gothic mastertrope.

Ralph Pite

Ralph Pite works on twentieth-century poetry (Robert Frost and Edward Thomas), Thomas Hardy, ecology and contemporary poetry (especially Jorie Graham, Kathleen Jamie, Mary Oliver), on Romantic Period writing, particularly Anglo-Italian literatures, and on ideas of place in nineteenth and twentieth century writing.

Laurence Publicover

Laurence’s work has increasingly focused on human relations with oceanic environments, both in terms of literary/textual representations of those environments and in other respects. Laurence has become especially interested in the language through which oceanic depth and the seabed are evoked. This has put him in dialogue with some work in ecocriticism, and in particular material ecocriticism.

Theophilus Savvas

Much of Theo’s work has been on American writing of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—particularly on the relationship between fiction and history. More recently Theo has worked on representations of vegetarianism and veganism in literature through the ages; this research has led him to a broader interest in the ecological.

Harriet Soper

Hattie's research explores time and the environment in medieval literature and culture. Her first project was on ageing in early medieval English contexts (human and nonhuman), and her current project is about echoes in and between Old English and Old Norse poetry, with attention to acoustic landscapes and place names in England and Scandinavia. Hattie also works on ways of structuring and understanding the day in the medieval period.

Florian Stadtler

Florian’s main research interests lie in colonial and postcolonial literatures and film, especially South Asian writing in English, the work of Salman Rushdie, British South Asian history, literature and film, South Asian Film studies, Bollywood, and its representation in South Asian fiction, cultural representations of migration, and Global Modernisms.

Mimi Thebo

Mimi writes narratives for young teens – mainly about recovering from trauma and about our connection to a natural world that has been compromised and mediated by human activities. Mimi’s stories are hopeful, but realistic and are centred on the life of the family. She has been nominated and short-listed for many literary prizes and was nominated for the Carnegie medal in both 2017 and 2018.

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