English Literary Studies

Our research in English Literary Studies is ranked very highly, as demonstrated in our 2012 and 2015 Excellence for Research in Australia score of 5 out of 5.

Our researchers frequently publish in top international presses and journals and are highly successful in the annual Australian Research Council’s Discovery Grant scheme, with recent grants including Noise, Technology, Literature; Australia: Our Island Home; Shirley Hazzard: Life Work and Ethical Engagement; The Scientific Ape: the Evolution of the Animal Fable After Darwin; Rethinking the Victim: Gendered Violence in Australian Women’s Writing; William Faulkner Between Cinema and Literature; The Impossibility of Redemption and Modernist Poetry; Christina Stead in America and A Global Comparative Study of Contemporary Iranian Literature.

Our scholars regularly present at key international conferences and provide expert commentary across a number of fields. Our vibrant research culture includes collaboration across staff, postgraduate and Honours students, and is manifest in a regular schedule of visiting speakers, research seminars, staff-led reading groups, workshops and symposia, as well as major conferences. Our staff edit three major journals: Southerly (Australia’s oldest literary journal); JASAL (Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature); and Affirmations: of the modern.

Our research interests are diverse, ranging from Christine Alexander’s ongoing work in retrieving and reprinting the ‘juvenilia’ of well-known authors to Bill Ashcroft’s pioneering work in post-colonial studies and Elizabeth McMahon’s interdisciplinary work on global islands; from Anne Brewster’s editorial and analytic work on and with Indigenous authors to Chris Danta’s work in animal studies and Laetitia Nanquette’s study of diasporic Persian writing, and from Julian Murphet’s work in modernist studies to Helen Groth’s in Victorian and William Walker’s in Early Modern studies.

English and Literary Studies adopt a wide range of critical and theoretical approaches with the aim of understanding texts and performances from different cultural contexts and historical periods from the Renaissance to Postmodernism.

Our major concentrations of expertise include Australian, Postcolonial and World literature; Nineteenth-century literature; Modernism and Twentieth-century Literature and Creative Writing. We also boast specific excellence in Poetics; Narrative; American Literature; Milton studies; Literary Juvenilia; and Literature and Philosophy.

Recent Books by our English Literary Studies Staff

  • Helen Groth, Moving Images: Nineteenth-Century Reading and Screen Practices (Edinburgh UP, 2013)
  • Brigitta Olubas (ed), We Need Silence to Find Out What We Think: Selected Essays by Shirley Hazzard (Columbia UP, 2016)
  • Chris Danta, Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot (Continuum, 2011; paperback 2013)
  • Sigi Jottkandt, First Love: A Phenomenology of the One (re.press, 2010)
  • Julian Murphet, Multimedia Modernism: Literature and the Anglo-American Avant-Garde (Cambridge UP, 2009)
  • John Attridge and Rod Rosenquist (eds), Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception (Ashgate, 2013)
  • William Walker, Antiformalist, Unrevolutionary, Illiberal Milton: Political prose, 1644-1660 (Ashgate, 2014)
  • Elizabeth McMahon, Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination (Anthem, 2016)
  • Laetitia Nanquette, Orientalism Versus Occidentalism. Literary and Cultural Imaging Between France and Iran Since the Islamic Revolution (IB tauris, 2013)
  • Paul Dawson, The Return of the Omniscient Narrator: Authorship and Authority in Twenty-first Century Fiction (Ohio State UP, 2013)
  • Fiona Morrison (ed), Selected Prose of Dorothy Hewett (UWA Press, 2011)
  • Sean Pryor, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound and the Poetry of Paradise (Ashgate, 2011).
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