English Literary Studies

The history of literature in English is a history of astonishing richness and achievement over 1000 years in at least four continents. Its mind-boggling pinnacles include the works of Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson, John Keats and Charlotte Bronte, Milton and Virginia Woolf, Mary Shelley and Toni Morrison, Chaucer and Olive Schreiner


It encompasses an infinite variety of modes and forms, styles and voices, ranging from the humble to the imperious, the minute to the epic, the simple to the ridiculously complex. Impossible to summarise and easy to lose yourself inside, the tradition of English-language literary expression is one of the world’s greatest treasure-troves. English at the University of Adelaide aims to provide you with a passport, a survival kit, and a map to the territory. We are deeply passionate about our love for what literature can unlock in us and in the world. We invite you to share the journey.

  • Our teaching

    The Department of English, Creative Writing and Film offers a large range of undergraduate courses in English. Our introductory first-year course in English will familiarise you with many of the most important skills in analysing and interpreting works of literature. Other first year courses, in Shakespeare, Public Speaking, and Writing and Composition, help round out your toolbox in the approach to high-level language use and expression, and the masterpieces of the Elizabethan stage. At senior levels, we offer a wide variety of courses: Modernism, Postmodernism, Romanticism, Tragedy, Victorian Literature, Decadence, The Sixties, Queer Utopias, Anthropocene Arts, Trans-Tasman Currents, Australian Classics, Affect, Prison Writing, Writing from the Global South, Old Texts Made New, and more. Come and sample what it is like to really look closely at a literary text … and stay for the major in English!

  • Our people

    Name Role
    Professor Julian Murphet The Jury Chair of English Language and Literature
    Head of Department of English, Creative Writing and Film
    Professor Andrew van der Vlies Professor
    Honours English Coordinator
    Deputy Dean People and Culture
    Professor Anne Pender The Kidman Chair in Australian Studies
    Associate Professor Mandy Treagus Associate Professor
    Associate Professor Lucy Potter Associate Professor
    Associate Professor Meg Samuelson Associate Professor
    Dr Maggie Tonkin Senior Lecturer
    Professor Patrick Flanery Chair of Creative Writing
    Postgraduate Coordinator
    Dr Ros Prosser Senior Lecturer
    Dr Benjamin Madden Scholarly Teaching Fellow
  • Our research

    The Department of English and Creative Writing has a vibrant research culture, and contributes world-class monographs, research papers, and related outputs in many areas.

    We welcome all inquiries to study with us at postgraduate as well as undergraduate levels in English. Currently, staff in the Department are actively researching and publishing in the following areas: creative non-fiction, contemporary women’s writing, oceanic and coastal literatures, literatures of the south, cultural studies and theory, Anthropocene studies and environmental humanities, American film, adaptation, character in modern literature, race riots and literature, American literature, sound and literature, melancholia in Migrant writing, archetypal poetics, Indigenous Australian studies, fictocritical writing, trans-local reading, southern site-specific literary and cultural analysis, the novel, the short story, dance, psychiatry and literature, Pacific literature and visual culture, Victorian studies, Australian studies, classical receptions, early modern English drama, concepts of catharsis and ekphrasis, memory, gender and sexuality


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