Professor Fiona Stafford
BA Leic, MA MPhil DPhil Oxf, FRSE
Position: Fellow and Professor in English Language and Literature, Tutor in English Literature
Since publishing Local Attachments in October 2010, I have been developing ideas relating to its central concerns with the place of poetry and the poetry of place, including research into Wordsworth's ‘Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey' and the literary significance of rivers; the differences between landscape and place; the uses of landscape and memory by Scottish writers and artists. I have also revisited nineteenth-century pastoral, pursuing insights afforded by the poetry of Burns and Wordsworth in the work of Hogg, Clare and Hardy.
Another area for exploration is the creative dialogue between literature and the visual arts, which also relates to my longstanding interest in Macpherson's Ossian, a text that has always inspired, and continues to inspire, creative artists. I am also pursuing the visual qualities of Clare's poetry. The 2009 Burns Conference at Somerville has led to a collection of essays on Burns and Other Poets by various critics and poets, including some members of the Oxford Faculty, co-edited with David Sergeant.
The links and contrasts between English, Irish and Scottish literature are another of my major interests; I contribute to a number of Archipelagic research projects based in other Universities. I have just completed a book that aims to introduce students and general readers to the pleasures of reading Romantic poetry. This critical study has developed in tandem with my current project: an edition of Lyrical Ballads.
I will soon begin work on a larger history of Romantic literature. I continue to work on Austen, building on the experience of editing Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and a Casebook on Emma, as well as writing a short critical biography.