Professor Joe Bray
School of English
Professor of Language and Literature
+44 114 222 8489
Full contact details
School of English
1 Upper Hanover Street
My main research interests are in literary stylistics, specifically the narrative style of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century novel. I am also interested in book history, textual culture and experimental literature.
I was awarded my PhD by the University of Cambridge in 1997, having previously taken a BA in English and an MPhil in General Linguistics there. The topic of my thesis was the emergence of free indirect discourse in the late eighteenth century, in the period between Samuel Richardson and Jane Austen.
I then taught for two years (1997-9) at the University of Strathclyde and for five (2000-5) at the University of Stirling. In both departments I taught on literature and linguistic courses, as well as in the area of literary stylistics. At Strathclyde I taught on the MPhil in Literary Linguistics, and at Stirling I convened the core undergraduate course Language and Literature.
In September 2005 I joined the University of Sheffield, where I teach on the undergraduate degrees in English Language and Literature, and English Literature, the MA in English Language and Literature. I was appointed to a Professorship on 1 January 2017 and became Head of School on 1 September 2018.
- Research interests
My first monograph, The Epistolary Novel: Representations of Consciousness (Routledge, 2003), explores the tensions of first-person epistolary style and their influence on the development of third-person free indirect discourse in the novels of Austen and others. My second monograph, The Female Reader in the English Novel (Routledge, 2009) focuses on the representation of female reading practices in the novels of, among others, Fanny Burney, Charlotte Smith, Mary Hays, Elizabeth Hamilton, Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth.
My third monograph, The Portrait in Fiction of the Romantic Period (Routledge, 2016) focuses on the representation of the portrait and the language of portraiture in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century novel, looking at authors such as Austen, Opie, Edgeworth and Scott. My fourth monograph, The Language of Jane Austen (Palgrave, 2018), is a stylistic investigation of Austen’s fiction, from her juvenilia to the unfinished Sanditon.
My interest in book history/ textual culture is reflected in Ma(r)king The Text: The Presentation of Meaning on the Literary Page (Ashgate, 2000, co-edited with Miriam Handley and Anne C. Henry), and by a special issue of the journal Textual Cultures (2007, co-edited with Ruth Evans).
I have also co-edited with Alison Gibbons the first collection of essays on the innovative contemporary novelist Mark Z. Danielewski (Manchester University Press, 2011) and, with Alison Gibbons and Brian McHale, the Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (2012), the first major research-led collection on experimental literature, containing cutting-edge essays from over 35 leading experts in the field.
- The Language of Jane Austen. Palgrave Macmillan.
- The Portrait in Fiction of the Romantic Period. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
- The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature. London and New York: Routledge.
- The Female Reader in the English Novel: From Burney to Austen. New York and London: Routledge.
- The Epistolary Novel. Routledge.
- Mark Z. Danielewski. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature. Routledge.
- THE LANGUAGE OF PORTRAITURE IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH-CENTURY NOVEL: A STUDY IN OPIE AND AUSTEN. Women's Writing, 23(1), 53-67. View this article in WRRO
- Belinda, Emma, and the 'Likeness' of the Portrait. Nineteenth-Century Contexts: an interdisciplinary journal, 1(33), 1-15.
- Realism in Samuel Richardson and the Abbé Prévost by Robert J. Frail. The Scriblerian and the Kit-Cats, 41(2), 210-211.
- The ‘dual voice’ of free indirect discourse: a reading experiment. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics, 16(1), 37-52.
- Review: Eighteenth-Century Fiction and the Law of Property. The Review of English Studies, 55(218), 140-142.
- Review: Criminality and Narrative in Eighteenth-Century England: Beyond the Law. The Review of English Studies, 54(215), 420-422.
- Review: The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel from Richardson to George Eliot. The Review of English Studies, 53(210), 269-271.
- Embedded quotations in eighteenth-century fiction: journalism and the early novel. Journal of Literary Semantics, 31(1).
- Review: Clarissa and her Readers: New Essays for The Clarissa Project. The Review of English Studies, 52(206), 267-269.
- The source of 'dramatized consciousness': Richardson, Austen, and stylistic influence. STYLE, 35(1), 18-33.
- The 'Gay Decameron'. SCOTTISH LITERARY JOURNAL, 26(1), 148-152.
- The Tensions of Jane Austen’s Epistolary Style, Romanticism and the Letter (pp. 133-146). Springer International Publishing
- View this article in WRRO The first person in fiction of the 1790s In Auer A, Gonzalez-Diaz V, Hodson J & Sotirova V (Ed.), Linguistics and Literary History (pp. 111-128). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- Postmodernism and its precursors In McHale B & Platt L (Ed.), The Cambridge History of Postmodern Literature (pp. 25-38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. View this article in WRRO
- Narrative Point of View In Sotirova V (Ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics (pp. 341-355). London and New York: Bloomsbury.
- Speech and thought presentation in stylistics In Burke M (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 222-236). Oxford and New York: Routledge.
- Concrete poetry and prose In Bray J, Gibbons A & McHale B (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (pp. 298-309). London and New York: Routledge.
- Only Revolutions and the Drug of Rereading In Bray J (Ed.), Mark Z. Danielewski (pp. 200-215). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Writing Presentation, the Epistolary Novel and Free Indirect Thought In McIntyre D & Busse B (Ed.), Language and Style (pp. 388-401). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Letters (pp. 235-238). Mark Allen Group View this article in WRRO
- Letters, Samuel Richardson in Context (pp. 163-169). Cambridge University Press
- A portrait of historical stylistics, The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 485-500). Cambridge University Press
- Ann Radcliffe, precursors and portraits, Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic (pp. 33-48). Cambridge University Press
- Book Review: The Familiar Letter in Early Modern English: A Pragmatic Approach. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics, 13(4), 370-372.
- Book Review: Joyce Effects: On Language, Theory, and History. Language and Literature: International Journal of Stylistics, 12(2), 180-182.
- Research group
I welcome research students working in any area of literary stylistics (especially narrative style and point of view), as well as those working on any aspect of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century literature and culture (especially the novel from 1789 to 1830).
At Sheffield I have supervised PhDs on the following topics: Jane Austen´s use of narrated perception, the autobiographical fiction of the Brontes, the narrative style of Cormac McCarthy and 19th Century Adaptations of Shakespeare.
- Teaching activities
I teach on both the BA in English Language and Literature and the MA in English Language and Literature. The modules on these courses that I have convened include 'Writing the Real' and 'Narrative Style in the Contemporary Novel' (BA level), and 'Narrative and Cognition' (MA).
I also teach widely on the English Literature programme. In particular I have convened the module 'Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature', and taught on 'Romantic and Victorian Prose'. I also regularly supervise English Literature dissertations.