Our diverse research culture fosters the best in literary scholarship and criticism as well as creative writing. Our faculty brings together world-leading experts with prizewinning poets, novelists and playwrights, and thrives on the interaction between scholarly expertise and creative writing.
We welcome interdisciplinary projects and actively encourage cross-institutional collaboration. We are part of the CHASE consortium, an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded doctoral training programme in the Humanities, and we offer studentships annually. Our Graduate School has information about deadlines and application procedures.
Research and Supervision
We welcome applications for research degrees at three levels: Masters by Research, Masters of Philosophy and PhD. Please visit our Research Groups pages and the staff profiles within them for more information on individual academics' specialist research areas.
Modern and Contemporary Writing
The Modern and Contemporary Writing Research Group has an extremely strong research culture in the areas of 20th- and 21st-century poetry and prose. Thematic interests in Modernism, mid-century writing and postwar literature encompass innovative work on censorship discourses, affect and trauma, transnational responses to Soviet Communism and German fascism as well as human rights issues. Our research in contemporary writing involves work on the novel, on poetry and on the theory and practice of creative critical writing. Our PhD students attend the Modern and Contemporary Research Seminar, where the latest developments in the field are discussed with an exciting roster of visiting speakers.
Medieval and Early Modern Writing
The Medieval and Early Modern Research Group is made up of a large number of leading academics and doctoral students whose research specialisms include medieval and early-modern places (from East Anglia itself to Europe and the wider world), history, travel, drama (including the region's rich local medieval and early-modern traditions), religion, saints' lives, women's writing, translation (and the sites at which translation happens), war poetry, the history of scholarship, and book history. Recent and current doctoral projects include the reception of Virgil among Italian humanists, the books of the Paston family, the notebooks of Sir Thomas Browne, the manuscripts of the early-modern Inns of Court, and seventeenth-century historiography. The group has a focus on original archival research, and the 'Unlocking the Archive' project (in which doctoral students are actively involved) has been transforming the ways in which Renaissance books and manuscripts are presented to East Anglia's public. Doctoral students will be part of a vibrant research community with regular visiting speakers and doctoral training workshops (including in Latin and book history). In 2020 the group will host the 9th biennial Society for Renaissance Studies conference, the largest UK gathering of Renaissance specialists.
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Literature
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Research Group encompasses a wide and eclectic range of different research specialisms within the period. In addition to critically renowned work on Romanticism and post-Romanticism, gothic literature, Victorian fiction, nineteenth-century poetry, and nineteenth-century life writing, members of the group have also produced innovative and compelling research on nineteenth-century writing and science, Romanticism and colonialism, poetics and translation, as well as major work on individual authors and artists, including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Matthew Arnold, William Hazlitt, George Eliot, Richard Wagner, and Henry James.
This doctorate grows out of the Masters in Literary Translation, and can be one of two types, though some overlap is possible. The first type is a scholarly study of the theory and practice of literary translation. The second type is based on an original literary translation, accompanied by a critical essay, possibly including a scholarly introduction and notes or commentary, which explores the process of translation while maintaining a dialogue with current research. We welcome research proposals for either type, and based on translation from (or into) any language and any literary genre. Please contact The Academic Director of the British Centre for Literary Translation.
Creative and Critical Writing
The School has enjoyed an unchallenged reputation in creative writing since the foundation of its Masters of Arts in Creative Writing in 1970. We were the first British university to offer a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. The School can offer outstanding mentoring and supervision in the following areas: the novel, the short story, poetry, play-writing or screenplay. We have particular strengths in the historical novel, crime writing and in poetry. Alongside their creative project, candidates who enrol on this PhD present a substantial and original piece of criticism that is in dialogue with the creative work, and may be interdisciplinary in nature. In this, they are supported by a second supervisor with the relevant expertise, whether from within our school or elsewhere in the faculty.
We have a number of faculty members who specialise in biography and life writing, and we encourage PhD applications in this area. We have particular research interests in the areas of 19th-century and early 20th-century writers and welcome applicants who are interested in writing biographically in those periods.