The department has a strong, and exciting, presence in this area, drawing directly on Birmingham’s tradition of cultural studies, and creative writing, as well as more straight-forwardly literary study.
Work by Andrzej Gasiorek explores the legacy of Modernism within postmodernism, with Postwar British Fiction concerned to show that a vibrant tradition of experimental writing continued into the post-war period but that at the same time much of this writing sought to adapt and reanimate earlier realist conventions; and J. G. Ballard, which explores the work of a figure whose prolific output has consistently challenged generic boundaries.
Jan Campbell has explored the work of Toni Morrison in relation to debates on postmodernism and psychoanalysis. She is also interested in the relation between postmodernism, cultural theory and psychoanalysis.
Dave Gunning has written on various topics in contemporary literature, particularly in terms of postcolonial writing. He is especially interested in black British and British Asian writing and has published a number of articles in this area, on such writers as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Fred D’Aguiar, Bernardine Evaristo, Manzu Islam, and Caryl Phillips.
Jim Mussell’s work is focused around nineteenth-century print culture. In the past, this has primarily been concerned with the relationships between science and serial publication, but he is currently investigating the role that secrecy plays in scientific practice, writing, and nineteenth-century culture more broadly. His interest in nonliterary writing has encouraged him to explore interdisciplinary methodologies that can respond more fully to the place of literature within culture. Part of this work is informed by his parallel interest in the digital humanities. Jim was part of the team that produced the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition, and he remains committed to exploring the place of digital scholarship in nineteenth-century studies.
The department houses not only scholarly and critical excellence in this area, but is also home to the published poet, Steve Ellis. Steve Ellis has had many poems published in magazines and anthologies, and his widely acclaimed verse translation of Dante’s Inferno was reissued in 2007.