Professor Steve Ellis BA, PhD

Professor Steve Ellis

Department of English Literature
Professor of English Literature

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I have published many volumes of literary criticism on a wide range of authors, plus three collections of poetry and a verse translation of Dante’s Inferno.


I have a BA (in English and Art History) and a PhD (in Comparative Literature) from the University of London (UCL).


Born in York, I have previously taught at several colleges in London and in Florence before coming to Birmingham in 1984.


My teaching lies primarily in twentieth century and in medieval literature; I have also taught creative writing.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising MA, MPhil, and PhD research in the areas of:

  • Modernist literature, especially T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, particularly with regard to issues of nationhood
  • Medievalism and the post-medieval reception of authors such as Dante and Chaucer
  • Modern and contemporary poets and poetics


My research interests lie primarily in the field of modernist literature leading up to World War II  (especially the work of T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf) and in the modern reception of medieval writers (Dante, Chaucer). At present I am completing a verse translation of Dante’s Purgatorio, following on from my translation of the Inferno .

Other activities

I have held many key administrative roles in the Department of English and beyond, including two terms as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts and the role of Director of Education in the College of Arts and Law.


  • British Writers and the Approach of World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. x, 249, 10 illustrations. 978 1 107 05458 5
  • T.S. Eliot: a Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2009), pp. ix, 169. 1847060167
  • Virginia Woolf and the Victorians (Cambridge University Press, 2007, rpt. 2011), pp. xi, 211. 0521882897
  • Chaucer: an Oxford Guide (edited volume, with introduction) (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. xxiv, 644, 14 illustrations, with companion web site (Introduction pp. 1-5). 0199259127 pbk
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Parliament of Birds, translated by E. B. Richmond (edited volume, with preface) (Hesperus, 2004), pp. xv, 151 (Preface pp. vii-viii). 1843911019
  • Spring Collection: Eleven poems by Steve Ellis with Eleven Cuts by Sandy Sykes (Graven Image, 2004), n. pag
  • Chaucer At Large: the Poet in the Modern Imagination (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), pp. xiv, 204. 0816633762
  • Chaucer: the 'Canterbury Tales', Longman Critical Readers (edited volume, with introduction) (Longman, 1998, rpt. 1999, 2005), pp. xiv, 241 (Introduction pp. 1-22). 0582248809 hbk, 0582248817 pbk
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, Writers and their Work (Northcote House/British Council, 1996), pp. xi, 80. 0746307772
  • Dante Alighieri, Hell. Translated, annotated and introduced by Steve Ellis (Chatto & Windus, 1994, rpt. 1994), pp. xxii, 208. 0701161272. Rpt. Vintage pbk. 1995. 0099476711. Reissued as Dante, Inferno (Vintage pbk. 2007, rpt. 2013)
  • West Pathway [poems] (Bloodaxe, 1993), pp. 63. 1852242353
  • The English Eliot: Design, Language and Landscape in 'Four Quartets' (Routledge, 1991, rpt. 2015), pp. x, 187, 15 illustrations. 0415066883
  • Home and Away [poems] (Bloodaxe, 1987), pp. 62. 185224027X
  • Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T. S. Eliot (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983, rpt. 1985, 2010), pp. viii, 280, 8 illustrations. 0521251265