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Faculty of English Language and Literature

The Faculty of English Language and Literature is by far the largest English Department in the UK, with over 75 permanent postholders, a further 70 Faculty members, 900 undergraduates and 300 postgraduates. The Faculty has a very distinguished research and teaching record, covering all periods of English Literature.
Oxford’s English Faculty is one of the most illustrious Schools of English in the world. Established in 1894, it has numbered among its members some of the most important critics and scholars in the field, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Edmund Blunden, Nevill Coghill, Helen Gardner, Richard Ellmann, Terry Eagleton, and many others. We are now home to nearly eighty Professors, Readers, and Lecturers, with about the same number again of Tutors and Research Fellows based in Colleges. At any one time, there are roughly a thousand students studying within the Faculty at undergraduate level, and another three hundred at graduate level in the largest English graduate school in the country.
Traditionally teaching and research in the Faculty has covered the entire history of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, along with language studies. More recent growth areas include world literature and film studies.

Series associated with Faculty of English Language and Literature

"British" World War One Poetry: An Introduction
Approaching Shakespeare
Broadcast Media
Censorship in Literature in South Africa
Centre for the Study of the Book
Challenging the Canon
D.H. Lawrence
English at Oxford
English Graduate Conference 2012
George Eliot
Great Writers Inspire
Great Writers Inspire at Home
History of the Eighteenth Century in Ten Poems
Indian Traces in Oxford
Interviews on Great Writers
Leonard Woolf's The Village in the Jungle (1913): A Day Symposium
Literature and Form
Literature, Art and Oxford
Medieval English
MSt English Language
Not Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean Popular Theatre
Oscar Wilde
Oxford Writers' House Talks
Poetry with Simon Armitage
Samuel Johnson
Shakespeare's first folio
Staging Shakespeare
Tolkien at Oxford
Writers in Dialogue
# Episode Title Description People Date
1 The Hawks and the Doves – raptors and rapture in the poetry of Thom Gunn and Ted Hughes. Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage discusses the poems of Thom Gunn and Ted Hughes. Simon Armitage 15 Nov 2017
2 Creative Commons Henry VI, Part 2 Professor Emma Smith continues her Approaching Shakespeare series with a 2017 lecture on the early history play, Henry VI, Part 2. Emma Smith 09 Nov 2017
3 Creative Commons The Merry Wives of Windsor Professor Emma Smith lectures on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Emma Smith 25 Oct 2017
4 Creative Commons All's Well That Ends Well Professor Emma Smith lectures on Shakespeare’s comedy All's Well That Ends Well. Emma Smith 25 Oct 2017
5 Creative Commons Cymbeline Professor Emma Smith continues her Approaching Shakespeare series with a lecture on one of Shakespeare’s later plays, Cymbeline. Emma Smith 25 Oct 2017
6 Selma Dabbagh and Courttia Newland on writing and community Writers Selma Dabbagh and Courttia Newland read from their work, and discuss why they write, who they write for, their imagined audiences, and how their writing relates to their identities. Selma Dabbagh, Courttia Newland 25 Aug 2017
7 M. NourbeSe Philip on the haunting of history M. NourbeSe Philip reads from She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988) and Zong! (2008) as she describes her poetic development. M NourbeSe Philip, Marina Warner, Matthew Reynolds, Elleke Boehmer 25 Aug 2017
8 Editors and contributors, The Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing Profs Susheila Nasta and Mark Stein speak about the genesis of their new Cambridge History project, Dr Gail Low discusses the networks and institutions of Caribbean-British writing. Susheila Nasta, Mark Stein, Gail Low, Henghameh Saroukhani 25 Aug 2017
9 Aminatta Forna on writing memory and trauma in The Memory of Love Aminatta Forna gives a reading from her award-winning novel, The Memory of Love (2010), and discusses it with Prof. Ankhi Mukherjee. She talks about the psychology of war and healing after conflict, and about love, betrayal and complicity. Aminatta Forna, Ankhi Mukherjee 25 Aug 2017
10 Nadifa Mohamed on travelling, home and belonging in Black Mamba Boy Nadifa Mohamed reads from and discusses her debut novel, Black Mamba Boy (2010), based on her father’s travels across the Horn of Africa before settling in Britain. Nadifa Mohamed, Kate Wallis 25 Aug 2017
11 D-Empress Dianne Regisford presents ‘Hersto-rhetoric? Na so today!!!’ D-Empress Dianne Regisford presents a performance installation that explores the notion of the liberated woman from an African feminist perspective. D-Empress Dianne Regisford, Rev J, Erica Lombard 25 Aug 2017
12 Daljit Nagra on voice and identity in Look We Have Coming to Dover! Daljit Nagra reads from and discusses his celebrated debut collection, Look We Have Coming to Dover! (2007). In conversation with Dr Rachael Gilmour and the audience, he speaks about how and why he writes his poetry, and the readers for whom he writes. Daljit Nagra, Rachael Gilmour 25 Aug 2017
13 Bernardine Evaristo on writing Britain’s Black histories In conversation with Dr Zoe Norridge and Marsha Hutchinson, Bernardine Evaristo reads from and discusses her remarkable verse novel, The Emperor’s Babe (2001), which tells the story of a African girl growing up in Roman London in 211 AD. Bernardine Evaristo, Zoe Norridge, Marsha Hutchinson 25 Aug 2017
14 Kamila Shamsie on writing history in A God in Every Stone Author Kamila Shamsie reads from her 2014 novel A God in Every Stone, and discusses it with Prof. Elleke Boehmer and the audience. Kamila Shamsie, Elleke Boehmer 25 Aug 2017
15 Readers and Readings Prof. Elleke Boehmer and Dr Erica Lombard consider how our reading experiences are shaped by various factors, from publishers’ decisions about book covers to the text itself. Elleke Boehmer, Erica Lombard 25 Aug 2017
16 95 Theses: On the Principles and Practice of Poetry Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage gives his sixth public lecture. Held on 16th May 2017. Simon Armitage 19 May 2017
17 We Need To Talk About Robert: Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature' Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage gives a lecture about literature, poetry and Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Held on 8th March 2017. Simon Armitage 14 Mar 2017
18 Nicholas Crouch's seventeenth-century books Professor Adam Smyth talks to cataloguer Lucy Kelsall and book conservator Nikki Tomkins about the seventeenth-century library of Nicholas Crouch, now in Balliol College, and how to deal with fragile books. Adam Smyth, Lucy Kelsall, Nikki Tomkins 13 Mar 2017
19 Words for Winter: Tales of Home The event showcases the best of Oxford’s writing. Gathering together tales from all over the globe, of tradition, family, darkness, light and celebration. Pete Salmond, Charlene Pablo, Erica McAlpine, Nancy Campbell 13 Dec 2016
20 ‘Comedy, Collaboration and Blur’: Talk and Q&A with John Osborne and Jane Berthoud An insightful discussion between comedy writer John Osborne and ex Head of BBC Radio Comedy, Jane Berthoud. Jane Berthoud, John Osborne 13 Dec 2016
21 Writing for Stage and Screen: Q and A with Polly Stenham Q and A workshop with Polly Stenahm playwrite and screenwriter, on the process of writing her plays, how this differs from writing screenplays, and challenges of writing for stage and screen. Polly Stenham 14 Nov 2016
22 Access All Areas: Poetry and the Underworld Simon Armitage's fourth public lecture as Professor of Poetry, University of Oxford. Simon Armitage 14 Nov 2016
23 English Grammar Day 2016 English Grammar Day, with talks by Prof Deborah Cameron, Prof Simon Horobin, Prof Charlotte Brewer and others Deborah Cameron, Simon Horobin, Charlotte Brewer 10 Nov 2016
24 Critical Writing Dr Eleni Philippou, Leah Broad, Theophilus Kwek and James Watt in conversation. Eleni Philippou, Leah Broad, Theophilus Kwek, James Watt 07 Nov 2016
25 Mark Haddon, Daisy Johnson, and KJ Orr in Conversation Award-winning author Mark Haddon discusses his writing process and interests with local poet Daisy Johnson. The conversation is moderated by KJ Orr. Mark Haddon, Daisy Johnson, KJ Orr 27 Jul 2016
26 How And Why I Write: Philip Pullman, Mary Loudon, Jane Griffiths, and Fintan Calpin in conversation Oxford Authors and Academics Discuss Their Writing Process. Philip Pullman, Mary Loudon, Jane Griffiths, Fintan Calpin 25 Jul 2016
27 On Lists Simon Armitage's third public lecture as Professor of Poetry, University of Oxford. Simon Armitage 18 May 2016
28 Mind the Gap: Omission, Negation and 'a final revelation of horrible Nothingness - ' Simon Armitage's second public lecture as Professor of Poetry, University of Oxford. Simon Armitage 08 Apr 2016
29 The Parable of the Solicitor and the Poet Simon Armitage, professor of poetry, University of Oxford delivers his inaugural lecture. Simon Armitage 08 Apr 2016
30 Creative Commons The Tamer Tam'd: John Fletcher A riposte to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew Emma Smith 16 Nov 2015
31 The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy 60 years since the publication of the series' final volume, a distinguished panel explore Tolkien's literary legacy. Elleke Boehmer, Stuart Lee, Patrick Curry, Dimitra Fimi 16 Nov 2015
32 Creative Commons Tis Pity She's a Whore: John Ford Reboot of Romeo and Juliet and other Elizabethan plays Emma Smith 11 Nov 2015
33 Creative Commons The Witch Of Edmonton Witchcraft and bigamy. Emma Smith 03 Nov 2015
34 Creative Commons A Chaste Maid in Cheapside: Thomas Middleton This lecture discusses comedy, fertility, and all those illegitimate children in this play about sex, economics and meat. Emma Smith 27 Oct 2015
35 Creative Commons The Alchemist: Ben Jonson Written in the context of plague in London, The Alchemist’s plot and language are deeply concerned with speed and speculation. Emma Smith 27 Oct 2015
36 Creative Commons Dr Faustus: Christopher Marlowe My lecture on this infernal play discusses Elizabethan religion, the revisions to the play, and whether we should think about James Bond in its final minutes. Emma Smith 26 Oct 2015
37 Creative Commons Timon of Athens Emma Smith finishes her Approaching Shakespeare series with a lecture on the play Timon of Athens. Emma Smith 23 Jun 2015
38 Creative Commons Love's Labour's Lost Emma Smith continues her Approaching Shakespeare series with a lecture on the play Love's Labour's Lost. Emma Smith 27 May 2015
39 Creative Commons Julius Caesar This lecture on Julius Caesar discusses structure, tone, and politics by focusing on the cameo scene with Cinna the Poet. Emma Smith 18 May 2015
40 Graham Greene and Josephine Reid Adam Smyth talks to Balliol College, Oxford archivist Anna Sander about an exciting new archive of letters relating to Graham Greene and his secretary, Josephine Reid. Adam Smyth, Anna Sander 13 May 2015
41 Creative Commons Romeo and Juliet This lecture on Romeo and Juliet tackles the issue of the spoiler-chorus, in an already-too-familiar play. This podcast is suitable for school and college students. Emma Smith 05 May 2015
42 Creative Commons Coriolanus This lecture takes up a detail from Shakespeare’s late Roman tragedy Coriolanus to ask about the representation of character, the use of sources and the genre of tragedy. Emma Smith 05 May 2015
43 The Craft and Cunning of Anglo-Saxon Verse Professor Andy Orchard gives the Inaugural Lecture of the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon. This lecture was delivered on the 25th February 2015. Andy Orchard 26 Mar 2015
44 Creative Commons Hand-press printing A demonstration of and discussion about hand-press printing with the Bodleian's Dr Paul Nash. Paul Nash, Adam Smyth 25 Sep 2014
45 Creative Commons Edmund Blunden Margi Blunden, daughter of Edmund Blunden, talks about her father and his work. Margi Blunden 23 Sep 2014
46 Creative Commons Impact of the 1914 – 1918 Poets Adrian Barlow looks at the impact of World War One poets in the years immediately following the War, in late 20s and early 30s, and as we embark on the 100 year anniversary of the conflict. Adrian Barlow 23 Sep 2014
47 Creative Commons Poetry of the Empire World War One was a conflict of empire, not of nation. In this lecture Dr Simon Featherstone looks at four distinctive poets who provide a version of empire that is much more nuanced than the imperial rhetoric of the established canon. Simon Featherstone 23 Sep 2014
48 Creative Commons Siegfried Sassoon Meg Crane looks at the war poems of Siegfried Sassoon, framed by the first and last (non-war) poems of his literary career. Meg Crane 23 Sep 2014
49 Creative Commons 'Earth Voices Whispering’: Reading Ireland’s Poetry of WWI: An Introduction Professor Gerald Dawe relates the Irish poetry of World War One to the history of Ireland itself and explores why the first anthology of Irish WW1 Poetry was only published in 2008. Gerald Dawe 22 Sep 2014
50 Creative Commons David Jones Often overlooked, Dr Stuart Lee introduces David Jones and his seminal work 'In Parenthesis'. Stuart Lee 22 Sep 2014
51 Creative Commons Wilfred Owen Professor Jon Stallworthy, editor and biographer of Wilfred Owen, introduces one of the most notable poets of World War One. Jon Stallworthy 22 Sep 2014
52 Creative Commons Isaac Rosenberg: ‘Fierce Imaginings’ – the Private and the Poet Author and editor, Jean Liddiard, presents the life and work of Isaac Rosenberg. Jean Liddiard 21 Sep 2014
53 Creative Commons Ivor Gurney: A Poet born out of War Dr Philip Lancaster presents the life of literary musician Ivor Guney, and introduces some the key themes in his poetry. Philip Lancaster 20 Sep 2014
54 Creative Commons Manuscripts In this short talk Dr Stuart Lee introduces some of the primary sources of World War One poetry: manuscripts. Stuart Lee 20 Sep 2014
55 Creative Commons Poetry vs. History What place do the poets and their work have in the historical analysis of the War? Dr Stuart Lee takes a look at the debate. Stuart Lee 20 Sep 2014
56 Creative Commons ‘On your lips my life is hung’: Robert Graves and War Dr Charles Mundye takes a look at how Robert Graves' experiences and feelings about War that influenced his poetic career. Charles Mundye 19 Sep 2014
57 Creative Commons Women Poets Dr Jane Potter looks at a range of women poets who wrote during, and in the years that followed, World War One. Jane Potter 18 Sep 2014
58 Creative Commons Edward Thomas: Edwardian War Poet Dr Guy Cuthbertson takes an in-depth look at the poet Edward Thomas. Guy Cuthbertson 16 Sep 2014
59 Creative Commons Popular Poetry Dr Stuart Lee discusses the popular poetry of the War years and the formation of the canon in the years that followed. Stuart Lee 15 Sep 2014
60 Creative Commons Georgians and Others Dr Stuart Lee gives a short introduction to the poetry movements that led up to the War. Stuart Lee 15 Sep 2014
61 Creative Commons The Early Poets Dr Alisa Miller looks at the popular poets in the early years of the War and the way that the press and publishing worlds created a commercial culture in support of the conflict. Alisa Miller 15 Sep 2014
62 Creative Commons War Poetry Dr Mark Rawlinson explores the relationship between War and War Poetry using Owen's famous 'Preface' as the starting point. Mark Rawlinson 14 Sep 2014
63 Creative Commons Scribal correction and literary craft: English manuscripts 1375-1510 Adam Smyth talks to Professor Daniel Wakelin about his new book on cultures of correction in later medieval manuscripts. Daniel Wakelin, Adam Smyth 08 Jul 2014
64 Creative Commons 'Almost Identical': Copying Books in England, 1600-1900 Henry Woudhuysen joins Adam Smyth to discuss the history of facsimiles. Henry Woudhuysen, Adam Smyth 19 Jun 2014
65 Creative Commons The History of Oxford University Press Adam Smyth is joined by Professor Ian Gadd to discuss his just-published collection on the history of OUP. Adam Smyth, Ian Gadd 17 Mar 2014
66 Creative Commons Peter D McDonald in conversation with Daljit Nagra Peter D. McDonald talks to the poet Daljit Nagra about cultural diversity, the contemporary life and history of the English language, the canons of English literature, and translation. Peter McDonald, Daljit Nagra 17 Mar 2014
67 Creative Commons Bibliography in Bits Adam Smyth talks to Professor Will Noel about the potentials of digital technology for the study of manuscripts. Will Noel, Adam Smyth 23 Feb 2014
68 Creative Commons Early modern plays in bits and pieces Professor Tiffany Stern joins Dr Adam Smyth to discuss her current research on the materiality of the early modern play text. What happens to our thinking about plays when prologues, epilogues and songs become mobile pieces, detached from the whole? Tiffany Stern, Adam Smyth 03 Feb 2014
69 Creative Commons 5. Wilde's Plays Fifth lecture in the Osar Wilde series. Sos Eltis talks about Oscar Wilde's plays including an Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Ernest and A Woman of No Importance. Sos Eltis 12 Nov 2013
70 Creative Commons 4. Wilde and Sexuality Fourth lecture in the Oscar Wilde series. Looking at Wilde's sexuality and how it influenced his literature. Sos Eltis 11 Nov 2013
71 Creative Commons Why should we study Old English Literature? Dr Francis Leneghan of St Cross College, Oxford, discusses his current research around Beowulf and proposes why we should still study Old English Literature. Francis Leneghan 07 Nov 2013
72 Creative Commons Victorian Realism and the Implied Reader Michael Whitworth, English Faculty, Oxford University, gives a lecture at the English Faculty Open day around Victorian literature. Michael Whitworth 06 Nov 2013
73 Creative Commons 3. Art and Morality Sos Eltis gives the third lecture in the series on Oscar Wilde, focussing on Wilde's concept of morality shown in his works including the Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and The Devoted Friend. Sos Eltis 29 Oct 2013
74 Creative Commons 2. Wilde, Victorian and Modernist Sos Eltis gives the second lecture in her series on Oscar Wilde, focussing on his place in the modernist tradition. Sos Eltis 22 Oct 2013
75 Creative Commons 1. The Art of Biography and the Biography of Art First lecture in the Oscar Wilde series in which Sos Eltis talks about Wilde's life and his work, De Profundis. Sos Eltis 14 Oct 2013
76 Creative Commons Smallpox in poetry Smallpox was rife in the eighteenth century, leaving its mark both on its sufferers, and on the literature of the period. This podcast explores its history in verse. Elizabeth Atkinson 16 Sep 2013
77 Creative Commons The poetry of war Explores the aesthetics and impact of war poetry in the early eighteenth century, focussing on Joseph Addison's poem, The Campaign. Abigail Williams 16 Sep 2013
78 Creative Commons The Ladle: a comic poem Matthew Prior's The Ladle was one of the most popular poems of the eighteenth century. This podcast explores its appeal. Louise Curran 16 Sep 2013
79 Creative Commons Music in miscellanies Much popular music of the eighteenth century is found in poetic miscellanies. But how was it performed? Giles Lewin 16 Sep 2013
80 Creative Commons Pastoral Poetry Introduces the poetry of rural life, and its debt to classical sources. Kathleen Lawton-Trask 16 Sep 2013
81 Creative Commons Politics in poetry This podcast explores the culture of Jacobitism in the eighteenth century, using a popular ballad. John McTague 16 Sep 2013
82 Creative Commons The life of epigrams This podcasts introduces the popular eighteenth century epigram. Dianne Mitchell 16 Sep 2013
83 Creative Commons Petticoats and fashion An introduction to the world of fashion and the politics of the petticoat, seen through the poetry of the time. Elizabeth Atkinson 16 Sep 2013
84 Creative Commons Information about Great Writers Inspire Further information about the educational resource: http://writersinspire.org. Sarah Wilkin 29 Aug 2013
85 Creative Commons Why should we study Elizabethan Theatre? Professor Tiffany Stern of University College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes why we should still study Elizabethan Theatre. Tiffany Stern, Ilana Lassman 19 Aug 2013
86 Creative Commons Why should we study medieval romance? Dr Nicholas Perkins of St Hugh's College, Oxford, discusses his current research and proposes why we should still study medieval romance. Nicholas Perkins, Sarah Wilkin 12 Aug 2013
87 Creative Commons Why should we study the humanities? For those wanting a further challenge, Professor Helen Small of Pembroke College, Oxford, discusses the difficulties facing the study of the humanities today. Helen Small, Ilana Lassman 31 Jul 2013
88 Creative Commons Why should we study Johnson? Professor Ros Ballaster of Mansfield College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes we should still study Samuel Johnson. Ros Ballaster, Sarah Wilkin 31 Jul 2013
89 Creative Commons Why should we study Postcolonial Literature? Professor Elleke Boehmer of Wolfson College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes why we should study Postcolonial writers such as Achebe. Elleke Boehmer, Sarah Wilkin 31 Jul 2013
90 Creative Commons Why should we study Chaucer? Dr Laura Ashe of Worcester College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes why we should still study Chaucer. Laura Ashe, Ilana Lassman 31 Jul 2013
91 Creative Commons Why should we study Shakespeare? Dr Emma Smith of Hertford College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes why we should still study Shakespeare. Emma Smith, Ilana Lassman 31 Jul 2013
92 Creative Commons Why should we study Dickens? Dr Robert Douglas-Fairhurst of Magdalen College, Oxford, discusses his current research and proposes why we should still study Dickens. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Ilana Lassman 31 Jul 2013
93 Creative Commons Achebe and the African Writers Series A special seminar held at the Postcolonial Writing and Theory Seminar at Wadham College on 2nd May 2013. James Currey, Becky Ayebia Clarke, Ruth Bush, Asha Rogers 10 Jul 2013
94 Creative Commons 'The Village in the Jungle' as colonial memoir: Woolf writing home Victoria Glendinning, biographer of Leonard Woolf, offers her insights from extensive archival research into the life of Woolf in Ceylon and Britain. Victoria Glendinning 18 Jun 2013
95 Creative Commons 'The Village in the Jungle' Roundtable Discussion This Roundtable Discussion offers several ways into the life and work of Leonard Woolf from the perspectives of several academics. Hermione Lee, Anna Snaith, Elleke Boehmer, Nisha Manocha 18 Jun 2013
96 Creative Commons Sri Lankan Traditions and the Imperial Imagination: Leonard Woolf's 'The Village in the Jungle' Novelist and academic, Chandani Lokuge, gives her keynote at the symposium. She brings Sri Lankan linguistic and cultural traditions to Woolf's The Village in the Jungle. Chandani Lokuge 18 Jun 2013
97 Book as Object; Panel Discussion for Oxford English Graduate Conference 2013 Panel discussion talk on 'Book as Object' for the Oxford English Graduate Conference 2013. Paul Nash, Nick Cross, Stephen Walter 17 Jun 2013
98 Creative Commons Acting Masterclass: "Lend me your ears" A second Masterclass on how Shakespeare spins rhetoric for the actor, with Sam Leith, journalist and writer, and author of 'You Talkin' to Me'. Students from Oxford University Drama Society will take part in the masterclass with an audience. Gregory Doran, Sam Leith 07 Jun 2013
99 Creative Commons Acting Masterclass: 'Pyramus, you begin' A practical Masterclass with Greg Doran from the Royal Shakespeare Company looking at what clues Shakespeare puts into the verse for the actor. Students from Oxford University Drama Society rehearse Romeo and Juliet in front of an audience. Gregory Doran 07 Jun 2013
100 Peter D McDonald in conversation with Amit Chaudhuri Peter D. McDonald talks to Amit Chaudhuri about his work as a novelist, critic and musician, focusing on his interest in the specificity of the many media he uses and on the challenge of thinking about cultural interconnectedness in new ways. Peter McDonald, Amit Chaudhuri 05 Jun 2013