Modern Research School


The Modern School is the department's research home for scholars whose interests centre on the period from 1830 to the present. The Modern School has close links with the interdisciplinary Centre for Modern Studies, which was launched in 2009 and is located in the Humanities Research Centre.

The Modern School

The Modern School


CModS (the Centre for Modern Studies) brings together staff and postgraduates with interests in the period 1830 to the present, and promotes research across the arts and humanities, in literature, politics, philosophy, sociology, music, media studies, performance studies and the fine and applied arts. 

The research interests of the Modern School staff are extraordinarily diverse.

They range from theoretical considerations of language and psychoanalysis to studies of literary institutions and consumer culture; from the Victorian novel to postcolonial theory; from early cinema to international cinema during the Cold War; from Holocaust testimonies to the relationship between drama and avant-garde music and painting; and from modern poetry to 21st-century fiction. As well as English literature, the School has particular research strengths in South African, Irish, Asian and American writing, and staff and postgraduate students researchers come from all over the world.

The Modern School sponsors lectures and research seminars each term, including the annual Jacques Berthoud Lecture in Modern Studies.

Writers at York

In 2006, the prestigious Writers at York initiative was launched. The series offers a lively programme of readings and workshops. Each term, a writer is invited to give a public reading of their work, and also to lead a workshop for postgraduate students.



Recent Publications by Modern School Members


Derek Attridge

David Attwell  

John Bowen

Judith Buchanan

  • co-writer (screenplay), with Kit Monkman and Tom Mattinson, Macbeth (feature film) (Goldfinch Studios/Viridian, 2018)

Matthew Campbell

Claire Chambers

Alice Hall

Adam Kelly

Michael McCluskey

Emilie Morin

Hannah Roche

  • The Outside Thing: Locating Lesbian Romance, 1903-1950 (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2019)

Erica Sheen

Geoffrey Wall

Richard Walsh

  • (ed. with Divya Dwivedi and Henrik Skov Nielsen) Narratology and Ideology: Negotiating Context, Form and Theory in Postcolonial Narratives (Ohio State University Press, forthcoming 2018)
  • (ed. with Susan Stepney) Narrating Complexity (Springer, 2017)

JT Welsch

Claire Westall

James Williams

  • (ed. with Anna Barton) The Edinburgh Companion to Nonsense (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2019)
  • Writers and Their Work: Edward Lear (Northcote House, forthcoming 2018)
  • (ed. with Matthew Bevis) Edward Lear and the Play of Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2016) 




A young Sylvia Plath interviewing Elizabeth Bowen for Mademoiselle magazine in 1953

The Modern School currently has over sixty MA and MPhil/PhD students. Its MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture begins with a core module exploring concepts of modernism and modernity through close reading of literary and theoretical texts drawn from fields such as narratology, psychoanalysis, feminism, post-colonialism, and their many connections. Students then choose three optional modules from a wide variety of offerings.

The School also offers an MA in Victorian Literature and Culture, which explores the engagement of nineteenth-century literature with a wide range of political, social and aesthetic issues, its variety of styles and genres, and both contemporary and modern critical perspectives. Its core module introduces key thematic areas and problems in the interpretation of nineteenth-century literature, whilst other modules offer the flexibility to specialize within the Victorian period or to explore a range of research interests across the nineteenth century.

The MA in Global Literature and Culture offers a wide-ranging exploration of the cultural manifestations of colonial conquest, national identities, anti-colonial resistance and post-colonial struggles, and gives students the opportunity to study interconnected questions of culture, history, and politics from the beginnings of European imperialism to the present day. The MA allows for a comparative understanding of different forms of imperial rule, and it encourages a comparative approach to African, Asian, Irish, Middle Eastern and Pacific responses to the experience of colonisation

The MA in Film and Literature offers students the chance to reflect in detail on two vibrant and influential modes of artistic expression - film and literature - separately and in combination. The first core module 'Film/Literature Encounters' provides grounding in theories of adaptation and inter-medial engagement across cinematic and print media, each studied through specific case-study. The other core module, 'British Cinema', gives a historicised, chronologically organised account of one national film industry from the early silent period to the present, including questions of heritage cinema, literary cinemas, counter-culture and censorship. Option modules may be chosen from a diverse line-up of film-based and literature-based courses, including one on American cinematic genres (the Western and film noir) and another on literary adaptation in European cinemas. The dissertation may be written on any aspect of film-literature encounters or of film studies.