About literature research

About literature research

A thriving literary research culture at the University of Brighton includes literature specialists and extends across a wide number of disciplinary approaches, with many staff engaged with research into writing, reading, narrative, textuality and the concept of 'literature.'

As well as a strong base in traditional critical research, with twentieth and twenty-first century literatures as a major focus, Brighton's expertise extends over literature within social and political contexts, literature in education, art and text, contemporary writing, radio and film writing and new modes of narrative. Research projects involving literature are undertaken by experts in media, cultural history, sociology, creative writing, politics and graphic design.

Regular seminar series, conferences and a prolific publication culture offer connections with our research across a wide national and international audience of collaborators and colleagues.

Modern and contemporary literature 

The first two decades of the new millennium have witnessed a range of exciting developments in contemporary writings in English. From innovations in recognised forms such as the novel, poem, play and short story to developments in digital writings, creative writings and genres. Alongside these developments, the publishing industry also changed, with technological advances giving rise to the dawn of the eBook and corporate sponsorship igniting debates about the usefulness of literary prizes and festivals. We have a dedicated research group C21: Research in Twenty-first Century Writings examining a number of issues in these fields. There is also the national Centre for Contemporary Poetry (Contempo), which Brighton co-organises. Specific expertise includes 20th Century women's fiction, Dadaist poetry, Malcolm Lowry, JG Ballard and Evelyn Waugh.

Social and political literature 

Research staff are involved in literary research across the fields of cultural history and politics. The Centre for Research in Memory, History and Narratives brings together a number of disciplines and includes academics interested in narrative theory, literary studies and life-writing. Literature specialisms include: early modern feminist writings, gender and drama, postcolonial writings, women’s writing and feminist theory, non-canonical and working-class literatures, cultural representations of identity, diversity and alienation.

History and theory of literature 

Researchers have specialists across a range of periods, taking methodologies from historic and theoretical standpoints.  As well as the strengths in more recent literature we have an established and growing strength in Early-Modern theatre and in Victorian studies, including Victorian journalism, feminism, sexuality, film cultures and the late Victorian Gothic.  

Comparative and cross-cultural literature 

Together with colleagues from language backgrounds, literature at the University of Brighton draws on expertise in Francophone and Arab writings and literatures in Russian and Hungarian. Further to this, research on literature beyond the United Kingdom includes work on Cold-War fiction, modern American poetry and post-colonial writings.

Literature in Education

The University of Brighton has a long tradition in the field of Education. Research interests in the teaching of literature and literature for children are strong, with staff contributing regularly to national dialogues on literature in Higher Education.

Literature in Creative practice

The university has a long-standing reputation in the field of research as creative practice and to this it adds a growing culture of creative writing practice and investigations of life-writing. Artistic use of text and narrative has brought a productive research culture to Brighton with the production of creative texts and narrative experimentation particularly in the graphic novel.

For details of individual research interests see our staff pages 


Research interests in the field of literature are reflected in a number of well-regarded books from staff, including:

  • Kate Aughterson, The English Renaissance: Sources and Documents (1998)
  • Cathy Bergin, Patricia McManus and Theodore Koulouris, The Novel: Modernity’s Form (2011)
  • Andrew Hammond, The Debated Lands: British and American Representations of the Balkans (2007)
  • Richard Jacobs, A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Reading: an Anthology of Literary Texts (2001)
  • Deborah Philips, Women’s Fiction: 1945-2005 (2006)
  • Graham Rawle, Woman's World (2005) collaged-novel shortlisted for the Literature prize at the 2006 British Book Design and Production Awards.
  • Gina Wisker, Post-Colonial and African-American Women’s Writing (2000)
  • John Wrighton, Ethics and Politics in Modern American Poetry (2009)