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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
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
Samuel Johnson
Shakespeare's first folio
Staging Shakespeare
The End of Journalism
Tolkien at Oxford
Writers in Dialogue
# Episode Title Description People Date
1 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
2 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
3 Creative Commons Race and Empire, 1660-1760 Ruth Scobie lectures on race and empire, 1660-1760. Ruth Scobie 14 Mar 2019
4 Creative Commons Drama and the Theatre, 1660-1760 Abigail Williams lectures on the staging of Restoration drama. Abigail Williams 14 Mar 2019
5 Creative Commons Literature and Gender, 1660-1760 Kathleen Keown considers representations of gender in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Kathleen Keown 07 Mar 2019
6 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
7 Creative Commons What is a Literary Period? Clare Bucknell considers how we define a literary period. Clare Bucknell 07 Mar 2019
8 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
9 Creative Commons What is a War Poem? Kate McLoughlin explores how we might define a war poem. Kate McLoughlin 07 Mar 2019
10 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
11 Creative Commons Character in Modern Drama Kirsten Shepherd-Barr investigates 'character' in Modern Drama Kirsten Shepherd-Barr 07 Mar 2019
12 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
13 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
14 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
15 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
16 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
17 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
18 '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
19 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
20 Free Reading Professor Lloyd Pratt delivers his inaugural lecture as Drue Heinz Professor of American Literature. Lloyd Pratt 22 May 2018
21 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
22 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
23 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
24 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
25 Laughter Lear once spoke of 'this ludicrously whirligig life which one suffers from first and laughs at afterwards.' Matthew Bevis 04 Apr 2018
26 Disgust This programme explores appetite, desire, and disgust in Lear. Jasmine Jagger 04 Apr 2018
27 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
28 Introduction This programme introduces Lear and outlines the structure of the programmes. Matthew Bevis 04 Apr 2018
29 Like, Elizabeth Bishop Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage delivers a lecture on the american writer and poet Elizabeth Bishop. Simon Armitage 20 Mar 2018
30 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
31 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
32 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
33 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
34 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
35 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
36 '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
37 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
38 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
39 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
40 Creative Commons The Merry Wives of Windsor Professor Emma Smith lectures on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. Emma Smith 25 Oct 2017
41 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
42 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
43 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
44 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
45 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
46 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
47 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
48 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
49 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
50 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
51 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
52 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
53 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
54 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
55 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
56 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
57 ‘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
58 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
59 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
60 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
61 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
62 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
63 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
64 On Lists Simon Armitage's third public lecture as Professor of Poetry, University of Oxford. Simon Armitage 18 May 2016
65 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
66 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
67 Creative Commons The Tamer Tam'd: John Fletcher A riposte to Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew Emma Smith 16 Nov 2015
68 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
69 Creative Commons Tis Pity She's a Whore: John Ford Reboot of Romeo and Juliet and other Elizabethan plays Emma Smith 11 Nov 2015
70 Creative Commons The Witch Of Edmonton Witchcraft and bigamy. Emma Smith 03 Nov 2015
71 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
72 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
73 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
74 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
75 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
76 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
77 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
78 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
79 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
80 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
81 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
82 Creative Commons Edmund Blunden Margi Blunden, daughter of Edmund Blunden, talks about her father and his work. Margi Blunden 23 Sep 2014
83 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
84 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
85 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
86 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
87 Creative Commons David Jones Often overlooked, Dr Stuart Lee introduces David Jones and his seminal work 'In Parenthesis'. Stuart Lee 22 Sep 2014
88 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
89 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
90 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
91 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
92 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
93 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
94 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
95 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
96 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
97 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
98 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
99 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
100 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