The Renaissance and the eighteenth century are two of the richest periods in English literature, as well as areas in which some of the most exciting new critical and textual scholarship has been concentrated. The relations between these periods are made especially close by the conflicts as well as the continuities that can be traced between them.
All the major writers of the eighteenth century were passionate readers of Shakespeare, Jonson, Milton and Spenser, with some publishing major editions of their works. Yet Pope and Swift, Dryden and Johnson saw themselves not just as the inheritors of their literary forebears, but as their masters, correcting and improving the literature of the Tudor and Stuart eras before them, as the products of a golden but unrefined age. What is at stake in the mighty contests that arise from the great works and the cultural shifts of the Renaissance and the eighteenth century is the development of ‘English Literature’ itself.
Conversation with other students and researchers through departmental talks, seminars, conferences, and associated research centres such as the Liverpool Medieval and Renaissance Research Centre and the Eighteenth-Century Worlds Centre will help you situate that reading within a thriving academic context.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), we ranked 10th out of 89 in the UK for 4* (world-leading) and 3* (internationally excellent) research.
Strong postgraduate community
With over 150 taught and research students from all over the world, you will be part of a genuine international community. You will be able to participate in our lively research culture through attending regular seminars and lectures by guest speakers as well as our own staff and students. Recent conferences include ‘On Liberties’ at St Deiniol’s Library, and ‘Renaissance Old Worlds’ in collaboration with the British Library. A legacy from former tutor Miriam Allott has allowed the department to host a vibrant series of international poetry readings, and with its Centre for New and International Writing and Literature and Science Hub, the Department of English continues to attract a range of outstanding, international speakers. For the next five years, the Department is also conducting a European Research Council funded project TIDE, which aims to investigate how mobility in the great age of travel and discovery shaped English perceptions of human identity based on cultural identification and difference.