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Edward Larrissy


1973 …2012

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Romantic writing, mainly poetry, particularly but by no means exclusively that of Blake. Irish writing of the Romantic period.

Romantic influences in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (especially as they operate on W.B. Yeats) and constructions of Romanticism. The influence of Blake (especially his influence on Yeats) and the changing reception of his work.

Modern Poetry, especially W.B. Yeats. British, Irish and American poetry from 1940 to the present.


Visiting Professor, University of Santiago de Compostela, December 2004.

Member of RAE2008 sub-panel for English Language and Literature.


University of Warwick: Lecturer in English, 1980-92; Senior Lecturer, 1992-94.

Keele University, Professor of English Literature, 1994-98; Head of School, 1996-98; Humanities Dean of Research, 1996-98.

University of Leeds, Professor of English Literature, 1999-2007; Head of School, 2005-2007.

Research Statement

My work centres on two areas: Romantic poetry and twentieth-century poetry (British, Irish and American). Irish writing of both periods is a special interest. I am also fascinated by the relationship between the two periods - in twentieth-century constructions of Romanticism, and in the influence of Romantic writing in the twentieth century. Yeats, the subject of my 1994 monograph Yeats the Poet: The Measures of Difference, is only the most obvious case. My edited CUP volume, Romanticism and Postmodernism (1999), addresses the most recent form of this relationship, and contains the only substantial body of work on this subject. It arises out of a British Academy supported conference. My recent monograph Blake and Modern Literature (2006), looks at the influence of Blake on writers from Yeats, Joyce and Auden to Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, Salman Rushdie and Angela Carter.

The Romantic poet I most focus upon is Blake, and I am an adviser to the Blake Centre in London. His work has been central to my recent research, which has issued in a monograph from Edinburgh University Press, The Blind and Blindness in Literature of the Romantic Period (2007). This research has also allowed me to pursue further the study of Irish writing. The provisional results had been published in the form of my 1999 article for Romanticism on ‘The Celtic Bard'. The book on blindness has been favourably reviewed in, among other places, the TLS, MLR and Romanticism. My interest in the topic of blindness in the Romantic period developed towards that of the importance placed in the period on the sounds and associations of words, and on the presumed compensatory aptitude for music among the blind. This interest led to a collaboration with Dr Ann Buckley on the topic of 'An Historical Typology of Irish Song,' and this project has now been awarded a major grant (£660,000) by the AHRC.

My interest in contemporary poetry bore fruit in my 1990 monograph from Blackwell, Reading Twentieth Century Poetry: The Language of Gender and Objects. I am also interested in regional groups and coteries of poets, and drew up a successful bid to the AHRC for a collaborative Resource Enhancement project with Brotherton Library Special Collections called ‘Leeds Poetry 1950-1980', . The proposal called for the enhancement of archives relating to the literary journal Stand, and to the work of poets such as Jon Silkin, Geoffrey Hill and Tony Harrison, among many others.

I am also a published poet. My poems have appeared, among other places, in The Observer, The Independent,the TLS, The Tablet, Anglo-Welsh Review, in an anthology, The Faber Book of Science, ed. John Carey (1995), and in the Clutag Press pamphlet, The Spread of Silence (2000). Most recently, Argotist Ebooks have published my selected poems as The Stories (Liverpool: Argotist Ebooks, 2012), available via Argotist Online


Current teaching: BA Stage 1, Introduction to English; BA Stage 3, Yeats; MA Irish Writing: Contributor to Ideas and Movements Core Course; Contributor to Research Methods; Option Module on Poetry in Ireland Since 1960 (2007-08 only).

Modules approved: BA Stage 3, British Poetry 1940-95; MA Option Modules: Irish Orientalism; and Yeats's Occult Thought.


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