The History of English at Leicester

English is long established and has a distinguished history within the University of Leicester.

Attenborough Tower from Victoria ParkEnglish has been taught at Leicester for over 75 years. The subject first appeared at the University of London in the early nineteenth century and the University of Leicester, founded in 1921 as a college of the University of London, appointed its first lecturer in English, Arthur Collins, in 1929.

The department then appointed a second lecturer, Monica Jones, in 1943. In 1946 the department appointed its first professor, the Shakespearean scholar Arthur Humphreys, editor of the Arden editions of Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

The Dickens scholar Philip Collins, a representative of the Cambridge tradition of English studies, became the department’s second professor in 1964.

The department has also welcomed to its ranks poets such as George Fraser and J.S. Cunningham; the latter became our third professor.

These roots in London English, Cambridge English and contemporary writing are still features of English at Leicester, which is centred on canonical literature from medieval to modern but also has pronounced interests in English language, drama, literary theory and the ‘English’ literature of America and the rest of the English-speaking world.

This combination of tradition and innovation is one of the factors that makes English at Leicester world class.

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