Centre for Languages and Literature

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University

Research – English Studies

We do research both in English literature and English linguistics.

Research on Literature in English

At Lund, research on literature in the English language is conducted by one professor, five senior lecturers, four full-time doctoral students with salaried positions, and a couple of additional postgraduate students whose research is done on a part-time basis. Together we make up the Higher Seminar in English Literature.

A small unit in an international comparison, then; but our research is multi-faceted, and most of us have more than one leg to stand on research-wise. English Literature has been an independent Lund discipline for about half a century. Throughout that time, its leaders have encouraged colleagues and postgraduates to develop their own scholarly interests – wherever possible in collaboration with colleagues in other countries – rather than feel under pressure to join local specialities. The idea was, and still is, that the continual addition of new perspectives makes for a richer research climate.

Even so, there are certain emphases in our research activities, and the following fields engage more than one of us:

The nineteenth century in Britain

We study the classic British nineteenth-century novel in its historical context. That means pursuing and communicating new insights into works which 'everyone knows', such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. At the same time, we clear away various obstinate but erroneous notions about authors like Austen and the Brontës (Birgitta Berglund and Marianne Thormählen). A project conducted by Cecilia Wadsö Lecaros investigates ways in which the British nineteenth-century sociopolitical debate was brought across to Sweden, with a focus on the role of the translator in mediating British texts to Swedish readers. Lennart Nyberg is working on translations of British Romantic poetry into Swedish.

Birgitta Berglund
Lennart Nyberg
Marianne Thormählen
Cecilia Wadsö Lecaros

Modernism in British poetry and prose

The early twentieth century was a time of revolt against everything that was regarded as stale convention, not least in literature and the arts. We are especially interested in the ways in which writers tried to deal with the instability of the new era. Contradictory conceptions of the self (Charlotte Webb) and of silence as an existential condition (Annika Lindskog) are important components, and so is the realization that modernity affected everyone: authors who employed what looked like traditional approaches and idioms were also profoundly influenced by it (Marianne Thormählen).

Annika Lindskog
Marianne Thormählen
Charlotte Webb

Renaissance drama

Shakespeare and his contemporaries have influenced virtually all literature in the English language over the past four centuries. English Literature scholars at Lund are particularly interested in the following aspects of Renaissance drama: how present-day students immerse themselves in Shakespeare by acting in his plays as part of their language studies (Kiki Lindell); how Shakespeare's works have been given new accents in consequence of their having been 'rewritten' by modern British playwrights (Mette Sjölin); and how changing conceptions of witches and witchcraft are expressed in plays from the period (Eric Pudney).

Kiki Lindell
Eric Pudney
Mette Sjölin

The essence of the poem

Poetry was the predominant literary genre for centuries, but nowadays it leads rather an obscure existence. That state of things is reflected in our research, too: most of our projects deal with prose fiction. But some of us are thinking about how the experience of poetry is shaped by the poem as a material object (Lennart Nyberg) and about poetry's peculiar modes of expression as creators and transmitters of emotion (Marianne Thormählen). The poetry of T. S. Eliot is a vital link between past and present (Marianne Thormählen and Charlotte Webb): why did Eliot's poetry gain such a strong position, a position unrivalled by the work of any poet in English over the past half-century?

Lennart Nyberg
Marianne Thormählen
Charlotte Webb

Narrative technique, fictionality and national identity

How do those of us who care about our historical heritage manage to acquire reliable knowledge of how people thought and felt in the past? Apart from museum objects, all we have to work with are texts; and even non-literary documents intended to provide us with a fair picture of a certain phenomenon are coloured by their authors' world-views and by the ways in which they choose to tell their stories. Issues of fictionality and reality are of special interest to those scholars who work on the nineteenth century in Britain and on Renaissance drama (see under these headings). One of us, Sara Håkansson, works systematically with these problems within the framework of a new project which explores the uses to which present-day Irish writers put various narratorial strategies in order to challenge received notions about Irish national identity.

Sara Håkansson

Research in English Linguistics

Language, Cognition and Discourse@Lund (LCD@L)

LCD@L is a research group led by Carita Paradis concerned with usage-based research approaches to make theoretical advances. Our research focuses on how language means when it is used in discourse, how language is acquired and processed, how it develops, and how language varies across social contexts and times. We use hypothesis-driven experimental methods, quantitative and qualitative corpus methodologies, and discourse-analytical techniques.

Current research topics include oppositeness, negation, monitoring processes in reading and text comprehension, metonymy and metaphor, phraseological processing, trust and trust-repair, agents and argument realization, language and politics, stance-taking in big data, multilingualism, sensory perceptions, multimodal literacy, contemporary grammaticalization of stance expressions.

Our work is organized around three main research clusters, which are:

Cognitive/functional approaches

Our research focuses on theoretical development and meaning modeling using quantitative corpus methodologies as well as experimental techniques. The meaningful functioning of language in use is at the core of our research approach at all levels from grammar, through words and constructions to text and discourse.

For more information about our research, please see our personal websites:
Hannele Diehl, Doctoral student
Matteo Fuoli, Doctoral student
Dylan Glynn, Senior research fellow
Hans Malmström, Research fellow
Lene Nordrum, Senior lecturer
Carita Paradis, Professor
Nina Rosang, Doctoral student
Teri Schamp-Bjerede, Doctoral Student
Alexander Strukelj, Doctoral Student

Research groups and seminars in Lund:
The English Linguistics seminar
Cognition, Communication and Learning (CCL)
Contrast in Language, Thought and Memory
Advances in the description and explanation of stance in discourse using visual and computational text analytics - StaViCTA

Generative approaches

Our research is mainly in the field of theoretical syntax and the minimalist program(s). We are also interested in the application of corpus-based and experimental methodologies in the analysis of linguistic data. Many of the topics that we are interested in are at the borderline of syntax and semantics or syntax and information structure; middles, passives and other non-active sentences, and marked structures like clefts and existential sentences are just some examples of our current research topics.

For more information, please see our personal websites:
Fabian Beijer, Senior lecturer
Mats Johansson, Senior lecturer
Eva Klingvall, Research fellow
Satu Manninen, Professor

Research groups and seminars in Lund:
The English Linguistics seminar
The Grammar seminar (GRIMM)
The Aspect seminar

Applied approaches

Our research is concerned with the learning of English as a second language, by children and adults, language education, language testing, and language policy and planning including aspects of multilingualism in society in general and in education in Sweden in particular.

For more information, please see our personal websites:
Tina Gunnarsson, Licentiate student
Henrik Gyllstad, Senior lecturer
Francis Hult, Reader/Associate professor
Marie Källkvist, Reader/Associate professor
Shannon Sauro, Visiting researcher

Research groups and seminars in Lund:
The English Linguistics seminar
The Language Acquisition seminar

Members of these clusters work as individuals, in collaboration with each other, and in a number of collaborations with other researchers at Lund and other universities and research institutes in Sweden and abroad.

Empirical methodologies

Our pioneering role in Sweden in the creation and use of computerized corpora has led to the use of corpus data in many areas of research, e.g. in semantics and discourse analysis. We also make use of different experimental methodologies, enabled by our state-of-the-art Humanities Lab.

Researchers and research projects

Researchers in English Studies

Fabian Beijer, Senior Lecturer

Birgitta Berglund, Senior Lecturer

Maria Bäcke, Senior Lecturer

Cian Duffy, Professor

Henrik Gyllstad, Reader, Senior Lecturer

Jenny Hartman, Researcher

Lars Hermerén, Professor Emeritus

Francis Hult, Reader

Sara Håkansson, Senior Lecturer

Mats Johansson, Senior Lecturer

Eva Klingvall, Reader

Kiki Lindell, Senior Lecturer

Claes Lindskog, Senior Lecturer

Satu Manninen, Professor

Lene Nordrum, Senior Lecturer

Carita Paradis, Professor

Vasiliki Simaki, Researcher

Alexander Strukelj, Researcher

Lars-Håkan Svensson, Professor Emeritus

Marianne Thormählen, Professor Emerita

Ellen Turner, Senior Lecturer

Damon Tutunjian, Researcher

Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros, Senior Lecturer

Doctoral students in English Studies

Completed research projects in English Studies