Centre for Languages and Literature

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


At a first glance, my three research specialities don’t seem to hang together: ever since I was a student I’ve been obsessed with T. S. Eliot’s poetry; from approx. 1985 to 1995 I devoted a decade to the poetry of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester; and most of the research I’ve done during the last twenty-five years has focused on the Brontë novels.
But although these areas of research don’t seem to have a lot in common, the force that drives me is always the same: the desire to help other readers – both inside and outside the academy – get more from literary works that fascinate me. I do it by approaching the texts on their own terms and letting them tell me where more knowledge is needed; then I decide how I want to pursue and present it. That’s the only ‘method’ I’ve ever used, and so far it has resulted in five monographs (three with Cambridge University Press, hard- and paperback), four collected volumes (one with Palgrave Macmillan) and a number of essays and articles.


About the research

An edited volume commissioned by Cambridge University Press was published in November 2012 under the title The Brontës in Context; it is now out in paperback. The book consists of 42 short chapters on all sorts of topics of interest to Brontë readers – from secondary-school pupils to researchers – who want to know more about the authors and their works viewed in the mid-nineteenth-century context. It has chapters about schools and professions, clothes and pleasures, religion and philosophy, politics, sexuality and family life. I have written the chapters on marriage, farming and industry.

I recently (2014) published a somewhat revisionist article on 'Christian Ethics in Wuthering Heights' (available online; just Google the title and it comes up).

Within the framework of a long-term project, I'm studying early-twentieth-century English poetry on the basis of a contention that the handbook distinction between ‘modernists’ and ‘traditional/Georgian’ poets is a latter-day academic construct: modernity happened to, and precoccupied, everyone who wrote poetry, and everyone was deeply concerned about his/her place in tradition. The leading modernist, T. S. Eliot, was not the greatest because he was a modernist (the question of his sole rival W. B. Yeats’s ‘modernist’ status is a vexed subject), but because like nobody else, he found words for modern man’s and woman’s fumbling for something to hold on to in life.


Books (8)
Editorships (6)
Articles (19)
Book chapters (26)
Reviews (9)
Articles in specialist publications and popular press (1)
Supervision at Lund University (10)

Research portal (Lund University)

Other tasks and qualifications

From 2015 onwards, I am Publishing Director of Lund University's new Press. Lund University Press publishes peer-reviewed books of the highest quality by LU scholars, exclusively in English, both in print and Open Access, in collaboration with Manchester University Press. See

From 2009 to 2014, I was Dean of Research in the Humanities and Theology in Lund. In that capacity, I endeavoured to improve the opportunities of researchers to devote time to scholarly work and to enhance the visibility of their efforts, above all internationally. The Research Committee, chaired by me, introduced sabbaticals for lecturers and professors who were about to conclude major research projects which called for uninterrupted time for research. The Committee also, among other things, took initiatives geared to professionalising book publication in the humanities and theology and to encouraging scholars to publish in English-language periodicals.

In my last year as Dean of Research, I was in charge of a massive internal evaluation of Lund research in the humanities and theology; the resulting publication, *HTRQ14*, can be read online. Go to and click on the HTRQ14 box.

During the period from 2009 to 2014 I was one of five members of the Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology leadership, acting as Dean of Humanities on formal occasions.

From 2004 to 2007 I was President of the International Association of University Professors of English (IAUPE) and organised the 20th triennial IAUPE Conference in Lund in 2007. I’m on the editorial board of English Studies and a member of the Royal Society of Letters in Lund (where I was chair from 2001 to 2003) as well as of the Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities. I was listed in AcademiaNet in 2014. I’m an Honorary Member of the T. S. Eliot Society and have been a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

So far, I have supervised 17 doctoral students through to the doctorate.

Marianne Thormählen

Professor Emerita
English Studies
Centre for Languages and Literature

Post Retirement Professor
Faculty Office

Contact information

E-mail marianne.thormahlenenglund.luse

Visiting address
Helgonabacken 12, Lund (professor emerita)
Helgonavägen 3, Lund (post retirement professor)

Postal address
Box 201, 221 00 Lund (professor emerita)
Box 192, 221 00 Lund (post retirement professor)

Internal post code
20 (professor emerita)
30 (post retirement professor)