Professor of Literary Linguistics, Faculty of Arts
BA English Language and Literature (Liverpool 1988)
PhD (Liverpool 1991)
FEA (Fellow of the English Association) (from 2012)
I work in literary linguistics; cognitive poetics; stylistics; applied linguistics; science fiction; surrealism. I maintain an interest in sociolinguistics and in language education both in the UK and across the world.
I don't see myself as a teacher in a direct sense. Instead I view my classes as places where research in literary linguistics - including my own - is presented to students for their own thinking.
Literary linguistics takes our best current knowledge of language and reading and applies it to questions of interpretation, aesthetics, literary value and criticism. My view is that it is the best and the proper way of pursuing literary scholarship. Any student who comes to one of my classes will be faced with a challenge to become a stylistician - and thereby to become a better literary critic, and a better thinker.
I believe that university classes should be intense, engaging and uncomfortable. The journey from new student of stylistics to a position of power over texts and readings is surprisingly short, and the best part of my job is seeing the light of understanding flick on in students' faces when they see what stylistics can do for them.
The measure of my success is not in snapshot surveys, module evaluations nor even the grades my students achieve: success is when one of my students, in 20 years time, takes a decision, or understands a part of their life, or takes a different direction from the one that otherwise they might have taken, as a delicate threaded and immeasurable consequence of something we worked through together years previously - and their life is enhanced by it.
Visit my Academia page for full details of my research. You will be able to download some of my work there: most articles beyond a year or so ago, plus the full text of some books. Please do support… read more
I welcome proposals for doctoral research in the broad area of literary linguistics. All of my previous research students not only completed their PhDs but also secured significant academic posts very soon after graduating. Many of them are now major figures in the field. My approach to doctoral supervision is to produce fully-rounded academics who will be regarded as important thinkers in literary linguistics. Recent researchers working with me include Chloe Harrison (Coventry University), Wenjuan Yuan (Hunan University), David Peplow (Sheffield Hallam University), Odette Vassallo (University of Malta), Marcello Giovanelli (University of Nottingham), Maha Zaghloul (Helwan University), Ziwei Huang (Northumbria University), Salwa Nugali (King Saud University), and Christiana Gregoriou (Leeds University), among many others.
My current doctoral research students are amongst the smartest young scholars in the world: Jessica Mason, Louise Nuttall, Arwa Hasan, Elizabeth Stewart, and Jennifer Sanchez-Davies - we all work together to develop literary linguistics towards its place as the core methodology of literary studies.
Visit my Academia page for full details of my research. You will be able to download some of my work there: most articles beyond a year or so ago, plus the full text of some books. Please do support publishers by recommending books and journals to your library.
I work in literary linguistics, which broadly covers the fields of stylistics, narratology, cognitive poetics, and the sociolinguistics of literary reading. View my vodcast about Literary Linguistics.