English Literature

Resources for postgraduates

Resources for postgraduates in Edinburgh are second to none.

New books shelves in library


University facilities

In addition to being able to consult the two million printed volumes in the University’s Main Library and having access to the unparalleled electronic and internet resources provided by the Library’s online facilities, all postgraduate students are free to make use of the extensive holdings available for consultation in the library’s Centre for Research Collections.

Among the literary treasures housed here are the libraries of William Drummond, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid and Norman MacCaig, plus the W.H. Auden collection, the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott and the Ramage collection of poetry pamphlets.

The Scottish enlightenment can be studied through the libraries of Adam Smith and Dugald Stewart. The CRC also holds a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays put together by the 19th century Shakespearean James Halliwell-Phillipps. Its manuscript and archival collections are also world-class, including the correspondence of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, and the extensive Laing collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts, as well as letters and papers by - and relating to - authors including Christopher Isherwood, Rudyard Kipling, John Middleton Murry, Walter de la Mare, Edwin Muir, George Mackay Brown and Compton Mackenzie.

Edinburgh libraries

Postgraduate students of the University also have reading rights at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), one of five UK copyright libraries, which has, among its world-class collection of rare books and manuscripts, important literary archives such as the Bute Collection of early modern English drama and the recently acquired John Murray Archive.

NLS also has unique holdings in the areas of Scottish writing, book trade history and transatlantic studies. The Scottish Poetry Library, also housed in the city, contains archival and printed collections especially relevant to the writing, publication and reading of modern and contemporary poetry in Scotland.

Students also benefit from easy access to the collections and facilities at the National Archives of Scotland, the National Museums of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland (including the Gallery of Modern Art and the Dean Gallery), the Edinburgh Writers’ Museum and the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

LLC Graduate School

Graduate students are encouraged to participate in the many creative and varied activities of the Graduate School. As well as being invited to attend the range of conferences organised each year, there are a weekly seminar series including the student-run ‘Work in Progress Seminars’ and the ‘Edinburgh Literature Seminar’ for staff and postgraduates, which hosts distinguished visiting speakers.

Besides these, there are several regular seminars attached to research groups in Transatlantic Studies, The History of the Book, Medieval Studies, Early Modern Studies and Creative Writing. There is also a range of staff- and student-led reading groups that cover many aspects of literary studies.

The School publishes a graduate online journal, FORUM, which is edited and run by postgraduates of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, and organises its own annual conference for graduate students.

James Tait Black Prizes

The prestigious James Tait Black Prizes (the oldest and most distinguished literary awards in the UK) are administered and judged within the English Literature Department, with the participation of its graduate students.

Literature in Edinburgh

Beyond the University, in libraries, theatres, bars, cafes, the city of Edinburgh hosts around 90 literary events each month - readings, discussion groups, poetry slams, exhibitions and festivals.

In August, one of the world’s greatest book festivals takes place in the city. There are literary societies, literary tours and walking trails, literary gardens, and literary pubs.

From the moment they arrive in Edinburgh, postgraduate students in the Department of English Literature will have the opportunity to take part in a lively, creative research culture, one that spans across the School, University and City of Edinburgh - the first recipient of the UNESCO designation ‘World City of Literature’.