Time, space and environment research
Explore our English Literature research in time, space and environment
Our research in this area explores representations of time, space and environment in literature and culture from the eighteenth century to the present day.
We explore questions such as the ways landscape and environment shape culture and national identity. We investigate how spatial and environmental theory can be employed to mediate the relationship between collective and individual identify. And we look at how literary texts conceptualise and represent time and space. An investigation of these issues develops original ways of engaging with literature, and new understandings of contemporary debates concerning modernity.
Our work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. Our researchers are also involved in editorial roles on journals – including Eighth Lamp: the Journal of Ruskin Studies, as well as book series such as Spatial Practices and Place, Memory, Affect. Our research has also formed the basis for monographs with leading academic publishers such as Ashgate, Edinburgh University Press, and Palgrave Macmillan.
Our research covers the following topics
- Ideas of history — specifically economic and political history — in the 18th century
- The temporalities, spatialities and environmental focus of Victorian pastoral
- John Ruskin, environment and culture
- Transatlantic literary relations, specifically those between British and American poets and poetry in the nineteenth century
- The role of time and temporality in neo-Victorian fiction
- The ways in which spatial theory can be used to mediate the relationship between individual and collective identity in modernist literature
- The use of affective landscapes in the construction of specifically English national identities
- Philosophical and narratological investigations of time/temporality and the contemporary novel
- The relationship between time, space and sex in contemporary fiction and theory
We use historicist methodologies, that investigate how the literature and culture of a particular period shaped and was shaped by contextual factors. We also use a range of theoretically informed approaches to literature, including eco-criticism, narratology and spatial theory.
Funders and collaborations
Our researchers are members and active collaborators within a number of international associations and research networks – including The British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS), The Materiality of the Trace in Contemporary Literature, the Emily Dickinson International Society, and VCologies.
Recent funders for our research include the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, the British Academy, and Being Human, the festival of the humanities.
Projects and publications
Berberich, C. (Ed.) (2022), "Brexit and the Migrant Voice: EU Citizens in post-Brexit Literature and Culture", (1st ed.) Popular Culture and World Politics
Frost, M. (Ed.) (2022), "Environment and Ecology in the Long Nineteenth Century Vol 1: Scientific and Professional Perspectives on Environment 1780-1858", (1st ed.) Routledge
Davies, B. (Ed.) (2020), "John Burnside: Contemporary Critical Perspectives", Contemporary Critical Perspectives.
Davies, B., Lupton, C., and Gormsen Schmidt, J. (2022), "Reading Novels During the Covid-19 Pandemic", (1st ed.) Oxford University Press.
Berberich, C. (Ed.) (2021), "Trauma and Memory: The Holocaust in Contemporary Culture", Routledge.
Recent project highlights
Emily Dickinson's British literary heritage
Páraic Finnerty is working with the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, and the Emily Dickinson International Society to provide a more sustained international focus on the American poet Emily Dickinson's British literary heritage.
Early history of Portsmouth’s Polish community
This project explores the early history of Portsmouth’s Polish community — the first such community in the UK. So far, the project has produced a dual-language booklet (Polish/English), website, and an activity sheet for primary school children.
This interactive online map provides a gateway to Portsmouth's rich literary heritage and contemporary literary scene.