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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
Edward Lear's Feelings
English at Oxford
English Graduate Conference 2012
Faculty of English - Introductions
Fantasy Literature
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
Modern Fairies
MSt English Language
Not Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean Popular Theatre
Oscar Wilde
Oxford Writers' House Talks
Poetry with Simon Armitage
Professor of Poetry
Samuel Johnson
Shakespeare's first folio
Staging Shakespeare
The End of Journalism
Tolkien at Oxford
Valentine's Day at Oxford
War and Representation
Writers in Dialogue
# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Fantasy Creatures Dr Caroline Batten and Dr Megan Cavell discuss fantastic animals in fantasy text Caroline Batten, Megan Cavell 29 Sep 2021
2 Is Jin Yong 'China's Tolkien'? A comparison of the Hong Kong author Jin Yong and J. R. R. Tolkien Jonathan Hui 06 Sep 2021
3 A Conversation with Katherine Langrish Dr Caroline Batten chats with author Katherine Langrish about her book 'From Spare Oom to War Drobe' Caroline Batten, Katherine Langrish 31 Aug 2021
4 Faith in fantasy literature A short discussion of the role of faith in fantasy literature Katherine Olley 30 Jul 2021
5 Brian McClellan A discussion of the writer Brian McClellan. Katherine Olley 30 Jul 2021
6 Arthur Rackham at Trinity College Emma Sillett, Trinity College Librarian, and Dr Caroline Batten explore the Danson Library's collection of rare Arthur Rackham fantasy illustrations. Emma Sillett, Caroline Batten 30 Jul 2021
7 C. S. Lewis and 'The Wind in the Willows' A discussion of the influence of 'The Wind in the Willows' on fantasy writers - notably C. S. Lewis Simon Horobin 29 Jul 2021
8 The Last of the Titans This talk explores the myth underlying the action in John Wyndham's `The Kraken Wakes'. Jane Bliss 27 Jul 2021
9 Creative Commons A Walk around C. S. Lewis's Oxford A biographical tour of C. S. Lewis's Oxford Simon Horobin 23 Jul 2021
10 Creative Commons William Morris and E. R. Eddison Collections at the Bodleian An interview with Rachael Marsay about the William Morris and E. R. Eddison collections at the Bodleian Library Rchael Marsay, Stuart Lee 23 Jul 2021
11 Creative Commons Elizabeth Knox A discussion of the writer Elizabeth Knox Alicia Smith 22 Jul 2021
12 The Saga of Eric the Unlucky The Saga of Eric the Unlucky examines Rider Haggard's use of medieval narrative techniques in his novel Eric Brighteyes. Jane Bliss 20 Jul 2021
13 Edward Lear and Fantasy Jasmine Jagger provides a short introduction to Edward Lear. Jasmine Jagger 18 Jul 2021
14 An Interview with Elizabeth Knox An Interview with Elizabeth Knox, author of 'The Absolute Book' Carolyne Larrington, Elizabeth Knox 13 Jul 2021
15 A Conversation With R. F. Kuang Carolyne Larrington and Caroline Batten interview Rebecca F. Kuang. R. F. Kuang, Carolyne Larrington, Caroline Batten 08 Jul 2021
16 Werewolves in Medieval Literature vs Modern TV A discussion of werewolves in medieval and modern representations. Minjie Su 06 Jul 2021
17 Desiring Dragons: Creative and Critical Responses to the Dragon in Beowulf Laura Varnam discusses dragons in fantasy literature. Laura Varnam 06 Jul 2021
18 Morte D'Arthur Murals in the Oxford Union A visual discussion of the Morte D'Arthur murals in the library of the Oxford Union. Tom Corrick, Caroline Batten 28 Jun 2021
19 Maria Dahvana Headley on Beowulf Author Maria Dahvana Headley reads from her 2018 novel The Mere Wife, is interviewed by Prof. Carolyne Larrington, and shares drafts from her 2020 translation of Beowulf. This lecture was recorded live at St John’s College, Oxford in November 2018. Carolyne Larrington, Maria Dahvana Headley, David Clark 25 Jun 2021
20 George MacDonald An introduction to the Victorian fantasist and fairy tale author George MacDonald, who convinced Lewis Carroll to publish Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, inspired C. S. Lewis' Christian writings, and may even have influenced Tolkien's Elves. Caroline Batten, Clare Mulley 25 Jun 2021
21 Old Norse in the New World: The Mythology and Politics of Immigration and Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods' A talk on Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods'. Heather O'Donoghue 23 Jun 2021
22 Discworld - and the Modern University A short talk introducing Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels and how they reflect the modern University. Andrew Shamel 22 Jun 2021
23 Susan Cooper A short talk on Susan Cooper. Tom Morcom 22 Jun 2021
24 Violet Needham Jane Bliss introduces listeners to the work of Violet Needham, a prolific but little-remembered children’s fantasy author, whose book 'The Woods of Windri' draws on the tropes of medieval romances in fascinating ways.ays. Jane Bliss 22 Jun 2021
25 Daoxuan and Chinese Fantasy Literature A short talk on Daoxuan and medieval Chinese fantasy. Nelson Landry 18 Jun 2021
26 Tolkien Archive and Exhibition at Bodleian (Part 2) An interview with Catherine McIlwaine on the Tolkien archive at Bodley and the exhibition of 2018 - Part 2 Catherine McIlwaine, Stuart Lee 18 Jun 2021
27 Tolkien Archive and Exhibition at Bodleian (Part 1) An interview with Catherine McIlwaine on the Tolkien archive at Bodley and the exhibition of 2018 - Part 1. Catherine McIlwaine, Stuart Lee 17 Jun 2021
28 What is the 'Silmarillion'? This lecture is an introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien's third major work, 'The Silmarillion' (1977), and considers its lengthy development in numerous prose and verse texts over fifty years. Grace Khuri 19 Apr 2021
29 Lines by Alice Oswald It's fifty years since the publication of From the Life and Songs of the Crow (by Ted Hughes). This is a lecture about lines and other sound barriers and how Crow flies straight through them. Alice Oswald 01 Mar 2021
30 Creative Commons The Literature of Absolute War - Transnationalism and WWII Professor Nil Santiáñez discusses absolute war, total war, and the literature of WWII with Anders Engberg-Pedersen. Anders Engberg-Pedersen, Nil Santiáñez 17 Dec 2020
31 Verse and Prose in Fantasy Literature An analysis of two forms that dominate fantasy literature. Katherine Olley 24 Nov 2020
32 Guy Gavriel Kay A short introduction to the writer Guy Gavriel Kay. Katherine Olley 24 Nov 2020
33 Series Two Episode Five: Fairy and Other Transformations Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield discuss the theme of transformation through fairy or other kinds of magic. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Lucy Farrell, Inge Thomson 22 Sep 2020
34 Series Two Episode Four: Fairies and the Environment Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about a new theme that emerged in the ‘Modern Fairies’ project, fairies as guardians of the environment. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Ben Nicholls, Inge Thomson 22 Sep 2020
35 Series Two Episode Three: Fairies and Children Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield uncover the works inspired by the strange tale of the Green Children and the changeling legend. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Terri Windling, Brian McMahon 22 Sep 2020
36 Series Two Episode Two: Fairy Time and Space Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield explore the ways in which the project artists engaged with the fairy world as parallel and yet distinct from our world, and the ways in which time warps in the other world. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Barney Morse Brown, Ewan MacPherson 22 Sep 2020
37 Series Two Episode One: Introducing the Modern Fairies Project Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield introduce the artists and outcomes of the Modern Fairies Project. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield 22 Sep 2020
38 What Tolkien learnt from 'Beowulf': Representations of Evil Monsters and evil in Tolkien Rafael J. Pascual 16 Jul 2020
39 Interview with Water This is the first ever online lecture by a Professor of Poetry at Oxford. In the lecture, Alice Oswald explores the strange connection between water and grief. Alice Oswald 08 Jul 2020
40 Sylvia Townsend Warner Carolyne Larrington introduces the writing of Sylvia Townsend Warner. Carolyne Larrington 26 May 2020
41 Ursula K. Le Guin A brief introduction to the writer Ursula K. Le Guin. Caroline Batten 13 May 2020
42 T. H. White A brief introduction to the writer T. H. White. Gabriel Schenk 12 May 2020
43 Diana Wynne Jones A brief introduction to the writer Diana Wynne Jones. Gabriel Schenk 12 May 2020
44 Why 'Game of Thrones' Matters 'Game of Thrones' and storytelling. Carolyne Larrington 12 May 2020
45 Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century A guest lecture by Dr Maria Cecire (Bard College) discussing children's fantasy literature. Maria Cecire 12 May 2020
46 Interview: Catherine Butler An Interview with Dr Catherine Butler, author of the book 'Four British Fantasists'. Catherine Butler, Will Brockbank 12 May 2020
47 Alan Garner A brief introduction to the British fantasy writer, Alan Garner. Felix Taylor 12 May 2020
48 Approaching Fantasy Literature A short introduction to reading and studying fantasy literature. Stuart Lee 12 May 2020
49 H. P. Lovecraft A brief introduction to the writer, H. P. Lovecraft. Stuart Lee 12 May 2020
50 Creative Commons The First World War, India and Empire Professor Santanu Das discusses the complexity of commemoration, the messiness of history and the role of scholarly emotion with Kate McLoughlin. Kate McLoughlin, Santanu Das 27 Mar 2020
51 Creative Commons America’s War Culture since 9/11 In this episode associate professor Patrick Deer discusses his forthcoming book We Are All Embedded: Understanding America’s War Culture since 9/11. Patrick Deer, Christine Strandmose Toft 17 Mar 2020
52 The Art of Erosion Inaugural Lecture of Alice Oswald, Professor of Poetry, held at the University of Oxford Exam Schools. Alice Oswald 09 Dec 2019
53 Creative Commons Will War still need us? What Future for Agency in War? Will War still need us? What Future for Agency in War? - an interview with Christopher Coker Solveig Gade, Christopher Coker 27 Nov 2019
54 Creative Commons The Age of Amok - an interview with Joseph Vogl Professor Joseph Vogl discusses the phenomenon of ‘amok’ with Anders Engberg-Pedersen. Joseph Vogl, Anders Engberg-Pedersen 04 Nov 2019
55 Creative Commons Philosophy and Nuclear War - an interview with Elaine Scarry Professor Scarry and Jens Bjering discuss philosophy and nuclear war. Elaine Scarry, Jens Bjering 04 Nov 2019
56 Creative Commons War, Aesthetics, Politics – an interview with Vivienne Jabri Professor Vivienne Jabri discusses the relationship between war, aesthetics and politics in relation to contemporary warfare with Christine Strandmose Toft. Vivienne Jabri, Christine Strandmose 04 Nov 2019
57 When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer Simon Armitage delivers his final lecture as Oxford Professor of Poetry, reflecting on his own influences as a poet. Simon Armitage 17 May 2019
58 Creative Commons Theatre, 1660-1760 - The Arrival of the Actress David Taylor on the arrival of female actors on the stage. David Taylor 14 Mar 2019
59 Creative Commons Theatre, 1660-1760 - Restoration and Change David Taylor lectures on the reopening of the theatres in the 1660s. David Taylor 14 Mar 2019
60 Creative Commons Race and Empire, 1660-1760 Ruth Scobie lectures on race and empire, 1660-1760. Ruth Scobie 14 Mar 2019
61 Creative Commons Drama and the Theatre, 1660-1760 Abigail Williams lectures on the staging of Restoration drama. Abigail Williams 14 Mar 2019
62 Creative Commons Literature and Gender, 1660-1760 Kathleen Keown considers representations of gender in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Kathleen Keown 07 Mar 2019
63 Creative Commons Manuscript and Print, 1660–1760 Carly Watson outlines the material forms in which literary texts circulated between 1660 and 1760. Carly Watson 07 Mar 2019
64 Creative Commons What is a Literary Period? Clare Bucknell considers how we define a literary period. Clare Bucknell 07 Mar 2019
65 Creative Commons Nineteenth-Century Stuff - Dickens, Paperwork and Paper Sorrows Sophie Ratcliffe investigates the material culture of the Victorians, using examples from Charles Dickens. Sophie Ratcliffe 07 Mar 2019
66 Creative Commons What is a War Poem? Kate McLoughlin explores how we might define a war poem. Kate McLoughlin 07 Mar 2019
67 Creative Commons Diaries as Literature - The Case of Virginia Woolf Michael Whitworth considers whether diaries are literature, looking particularly at the diaries of Virginia Woolf. Michael Whitworth 07 Mar 2019
68 Creative Commons Character in Modern Drama Kirsten Shepherd-Barr investigates 'character' in Modern Drama Kirsten Shepherd-Barr 07 Mar 2019
69 Creative Commons Brilliant Paradoxes and Corrosive Epigrams; or Why Oscar Wilde Went to Trial Sos Eltis looks at Oscar Wilde’s 1895 trial. Sos Eltis 04 Mar 2019
70 Loathly Ladies Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about the loathly lady: the hideous hag who knows the secret that the hero seeks, and whom he must learn how to respect. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Brian McMahon 26 Feb 2019
71 Fairies, Children and Changelings Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about the strange interest that fairies take in human infants, and the plight of children who stumble into this world, and can’t get home. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Brian McMahon, Marry Waterson 19 Feb 2019
72 Helpful Fairies Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield discuss how fairies and humans can co-operate and assist each other. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Brian McMahon, Lucy Farrell 12 Feb 2019
73 Fairy Wives and Fairy Lovers Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about love and marriage between humans and fairies. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Brian McMahon 08 Feb 2019
74 Introducing Fairies and Fairyland Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield introduce the Modern Fairies project and talk about traditional imaginings of fairyland. Carolyne Larrington, Fay Hield, Brian McMahon 28 Jan 2019
75 'Undisfigured by False or Vicious Ornaments' - Clarity and Obscurity in the Age of Formlessness The Hilary Term Professor of Poetry lecture, delivered by Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage. Simon Armitage 28 Jan 2019
76 Tales of Love and History - James Ivory in Conversation Oscar-winning American film-maker James Ivory will talk about his experiences with the legendary Merchant Ivory productions, in partnership with producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. James Ivory, Richard Parkinson, Katherine Harloe, Jennifer Ingleheart 18 Dec 2018
77 Damned if he Does and Damned if he Doesn't? Dilemmas and Decisions in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Simon Armitage lectures on the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Simon Armitage 23 Nov 2018
78 Free Reading Professor Lloyd Pratt delivers his inaugural lecture as Drue Heinz Professor of American Literature. Lloyd Pratt 22 May 2018
79 Unseasonal Produce: Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres Simon Armitage delivers the Trinity 2018 poetry lecture entitled "Unseasonal Produce: Winter Words in Various Moods and Metres". Simon Armitage 17 May 2018
80 Reading Bass Culture On 26 April 2018, Linton Kwesi Johnson read from a selection of his poetry and discussed with Professor Paul Gilroy the inter-generational and transatlantic relationships that had nurtured it. Linton Kwesi Johnson, Paul Gilroy, Louisa Layne 16 May 2018
81 Creative Commons ‘Edward Lear’s Vision’, by Professor Matthew Bevis A talk given at the Ashmolean Museum on Edward Lear’s life, art, and poetry. Matthew Bevis 10 May 2018
82 Weeping 'He weeps by the side of the ocean, He weeps on the top of the hill', the poet wrote of himself in 'How Pleasant to Know Mr Lear'. Jasmine Jagger 04 Apr 2018
83 Laughter Lear once spoke of 'this ludicrously whirligig life which one suffers from first and laughs at afterwards.' Matthew Bevis 04 Apr 2018
84 Disgust This programme explores appetite, desire, and disgust in Lear. Jasmine Jagger 04 Apr 2018
85 Wonder This programme examines different meanings of 'wonder' in Lear - as both a positive and a negative emotion, and as something in between. Jasmine Jagger 04 Apr 2018
86 Introduction This programme introduces Lear and outlines the structure of the programmes. Matthew Bevis 04 Apr 2018
87 Like, Elizabeth Bishop Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage delivers a lecture on the american writer and poet Elizabeth Bishop. Simon Armitage 20 Mar 2018
88 Creative Commons Creative Media Lecture 02 In the second lecture, Stig Abell discusses the future of modern and social journalism. Stig Abell 12 Mar 2018
89 Creative Commons Creative Media Lecture 01 In the first lecture, Stig Abell discusses the pros and cons of old fashioned journalism as well as modern forms of journalism such as social media. Stig Abell 12 Mar 2018
90 Creative Commons Trade - Merchants' books of Venice and Florence Dr Irene Ceccherini (Lyell-Bodleian Research Fellow in Manuscript Studies, Bodleian Library, Dilts Research Fellow in Palaeography, Lincoln College, University of Oxford) gives a talk for the Seminar in the History of the Book on 9th February 2017. Irene Ceccherini 16 Feb 2018
91 Early Modern Publishing Policies - Andreas Frisius of Amsterdam and the search for a niche market, 1664-75 Professor Ian Maclean (All Souls College), gives the third seminar in the History of the Book series, looking at the early modern period publishing policies in Europe on February 2nd, 2018. Ian Maclean 06 Feb 2018
92 Does love have a scent? Love is in the air - or is it? Companies are advertising that they can find you love through the power of scent! But are pheromones a chemical way to find your true love? Or is it just a myth? Tristram Wyatt 06 Feb 2018
93 Arabic - Scrolls into codices: Jilyani's picture-poems for Saladin Professor Julia Bray (Laudian Professor of Arabic, University of Oxford) gives a talk for the new series for the Centre for the Study of the Book. Julia Bray 29 Jan 2018
94 Numismatics - Coins, Money and Prices in Renaissance Italy Dr Alan Stahl (Curator of Numismatics, Princeton University) gives a talk in the new Centre for the Study of the Book Seminar series. Alan Stahl 29 Jan 2018
95 'Art and Attunement', by Professor Rita Felski, University of Virginia and Southern Denmark In this talk Rita Felski reported at new research on how we engage with works of art across a broad range (including cat videos) and considered the puzzling question of why we are drawn by some pieces of music, art and literature, and not by others. Rita Felski 19 Dec 2017
96 Creative Commons The Two Gentlemen of Verona Professor Emma Smith gives the last of her 2017 Shakespeare lectures on his early comedy, Two Gentlemen of Verona. Emma Smith 15 Dec 2017
97 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
98 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
99 Creative Commons The Merry Wives of Windsor Professor Emma Smith lectures on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Emma Smith 25 Oct 2017
100 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