School of English

Seminar series

As part of our strong research culture, the School of English runs a number of year-long seminar series featuring renowned academics from across the UK and beyond.

We run well over a hundred events each year, often involving renowned critics and writers from around the world. In recent years, speakers have included Ali Smith, Will Self, Gabriel Josipovici, Sara Ahmed, Ian McEwan, and Dennis Cooper, to name just a few.

The roster of events includes talks, conferences, round tables, film screenings, performances, master-classes, and readings of recent fiction and poetry. Students from any field of study are warmly welcomed to attend, and many of our postgraduates run their own reading groups, talks, and symposia.

Sign up to a seminar series

English Colloquium

This academic year began with a discussion of virtual exhibition on the Dalziel Archive – the woodcutters responsible for the famous illustrations in Lewis Carroll’s Alice books – by Sussex faculty member Bethan Stevens:

Alice to Alice: Dalziel 1865 – 1871

Alice to Alice features 200 images from The Dalziel Archive, an unparalleled collection of around 54,000 wood engravers’ proofs held in the British Museum. The exhibition, in ten thematic sections, brought the celebrated wood-engraved illustrations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871) into dialogue with other work made by the Dalziels in the years bookended by these publications. Illustrations of literature by Dickens and Christina Rossetti featured alongside more unusual images of Victorian design and architecture; medical and veterinary art; and wood-engraved interpretations of radical photography by Julia Margaret Cameron.

Subsequent talks have included discussions of representations of contemporary war and the Paris Commune, theatre in the anthropocene, and the contemporary use of dictionaries. Speakers have been academics from Manchester, Kingston, Brunel, Essex, and Sussex universities, as well as staff at Macmillan publishers.

Research on Language & Linguistics (ROLLS)

This past year, ROLLS hosted talks on migration, ageing and language, intimacy and agency on radio phone-in programmes, coalmining vocabulary, the language of medieval charters, Cameroon Pidgin English, and the use of the word “please” in British and American English. Speakers visited from Australia, London, York, Birmingham, Coventry, Ghent, València, and Zimbabwe. 

Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Studies

Writing Political Economy, 1750-1850

(January 2016)

This two-day conference brought together those currently working on political economy in literary studies and in the humanities more broadly. It featured keynote addresses from Professor Mary Poovey (NYU) and Professor Peter de Bolla (Cambridge), showcased current work on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century political economy and considered this work's implications for the state of literary studies today.