Dr Jonathan Ellis
School of English
Reader in American Literature
+44 114 222 8465
Full contact details
School of English
1 Upper Hanover Street
I completed my PhD at the University of Hull, having previously taken a BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford. I joined the School of English at Sheffield in 2005, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2010 and a Reader in 2015.
- Research interests
Most of my research has been on the twentieth-century poet, Elizabeth Bishop. My first book, Art and Memory in the Work of Elizabeth Bishop, was published in 2006. Since then, I have published essays on Bishop’s love poems, on her epistolary relationship with the poet Anne Stevenson, and on the reception of her uncollected and unpublished poems. In 2014, I co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop with Professor Angus Cleghorn (Seneca College). Elizabeth Bishop in Context, also co-edited with Professor Cleghorn, is due to be published in September 2021.
In June 2015 I organised a major international conference on Elizabeth Bishop’s Questions of Travel to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its publication. As part of the conference I commissioned Charlotte Hodes and Deryn Rees-Jones to create a poemfilm based on Bishop’s poem, “Questions of Travel.” The film premiered at the Site Gallery and was shortlisted for an AHRC Research in Film Award. In June 2018 I co-organised a further international conference on Elizabeth Bishop in Paris at the Sorbonne. I am on the Editorial Board of a new peer-reviewed journal, Bishop—Lowell Studies.
My latest edited book, Reading Elizabeth Bishop: An Edinburgh Companion, was published in May 2019. It contains essays on all aspects of Bishop’s work, from her early writing in the 1930s to late poems finished after Geography III and those works published after her death.
In addition to scholarship on Bishop, I have published articles on Amy Clampitt, Paul Muldoon, Sylvia Plath and Jeanette Winterson, among others. An abiding interest in film is represented by recent publications on Barbara Hammer and Lynne Ramsay and a soon-to-be published collection of essays, co-edited with Dr Ana María Sánchez-Arce (Sheffield Hallam University), on Annie Hall.
Much of my recent research is on twentieth-century letter writing. In 2008 I was awarded a British Academy Research Development Award of £86,539 to fund this work. The BARDA award also supported the organisation of a series of public lectures on letter writing by epistolary scholars and writers. Speakers included Anne Fadiman, Hermione Lee, Edna Longley, Hugh Haughton, Angela Leighton, Paul Muldoon and Frances Wilson. An edited collection of essays inspired by this series, Letter Writing Among Poets: From William Wordsworth to Elizabeth Bishop, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2015. I am now working on a book on Letters for Oxford University Press.
In late 2020, I edited a cluster of short essays on Taylor Swift’s album, evermore, for Post45, an online collective of scholars working on American literature and culture since 1945. The cluster contains essays by several colleagues and graduates of the School of English.
- READING ELIZABETH BISHOP An Edinburgh Companion. Edinburgh University Press.
- Letter Writing Among Poets: From William Wordsworth to Elizabeth Bishop. Edinburgh University Press.
- The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Under the influence: Elizabeth Bishop’s England and Frances Leviston’s Louisiana. Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 18(2). View this article in WRRO
- More Questions than Answers. PN Review(238), 60-61.
- Haunting Me. The Tangerine, 4, 48-58.
- Poetry Ireland Review. Poetry Ireland Review(115), 124-127.
- "Can I go? Is it over?”: Endgames in Woody Allen’s Cinema. Post Script, 31(2), 23-33.
- Sylvia Plath and the mythology of women readers. JOURNAL OF GENDER STUDIES, 21(3), 338-339.
- FIRE SEASON Field notes from a wilderness lookout. TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT(5666), 31-31.
- Loving Larkin. Poetry Ireland Review, 103, 89-99.
- The Art of Anime: Freeze Frames and Moving Pictures in Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service. Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, 2(1), 21-34.
- Aubade and elegy: Elizabeth bishop's love poems. English, 60(229), 161-179.
- Exchanging Recipes. Poetry Ireland Review, 100, 116-124.
- Between the Butterfly and the Caterpillar. Poetry Ireland Review, 97, 109-114.
- Elizabeth Bishop's Bone Key Poems. PN Review, 34(3), 37-40.
- The 'quiet girl'. TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT(5461), 24-24.
- The 'post-birthday world'. TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT(5431), 21-21.
- Beware of God. TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT(5364), 21-21.
- From maps to monuments: Elizabeth Bishop's shoreline poems. MOSAIC, 36(4), 103-119.
- Elizabeth Bishop and the Spanish Civil War. Journal of Modern Literature, 27(1/2), 137-148.
- Amy Clampitt's Music. Thumbscrew(16), 78-83.
- Plath and the American Poetry Scene In Brain T (Ed.), Sylvia Plath in Context (pp. 13-22). Cambridge University Press
- Elizabeth Bishop in Ireland: From Seamus Heaney to Colm Toibin In Ellis J (Ed.), Reading Elizabeth Bishop An Edinburgh Companion (pp. 307-320). Edinburgh Companions to Litera
- Introduction: Incompatible Bishops? In Ellis J (Ed.), Reading Elizabeth Bishop An Edinburgh Companion (pp. 1-15). Edinburgh Companions to Litera
- North and South: Lynne Ramsay’s Morvern Callar In Dobson J & Rayner J (Ed.), Mapping Cinematic Norths: International Interpretations in Film and Television (pp. 113-129). Peter Lang
- Last letters: Keats, Bishop and Hughes, Letter Writing Among Poets: From William Wordsworth to Elizabeth Bishop (pp. 231-245).
- Introduction: ‘For what is a letter?’, Letter Writing Among Poets Edinburgh University Press
- Introduction: North and South, The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop (pp. 1-18). Cambridge University Press
- Alice in Wonderland: The Authoring and Editing of Elizabeth Bishop's Uncollected Poems In Cleghorn A, Hicok B & Travisano T (Ed.), Elizabeth Bishop in the Twenty-First Century University of Virginia Press
- The Unquiet Dead: Memories of the Spanish Civil War in Guillermo del Toro’s Cinema In Sinha A & McSweeney T (Ed.), Millennial Cinema (pp. 173-191). Columbia University Press
- Michael Donaghy, British Writers Supplement XIX (pp. 55-70). Gale
- Reading Bishop Reading Darwin, Science in Modern Poetry: New Directions (pp. 181-193). Liverpool University Press
- Mailed into space: On Sylvia Plath's Letters In Bayley S & Brain T (Ed.), Representing Sylvia Plath (pp. 13-31). Cambridge Univ Pr
- Ekphrastic Poetry: In and Out of the Museum In Martiny E (Ed.), A Companion to Poetic Genre Wiley-Blackwell
- ‘Mailed into space’, Representing Sylvia Plath (pp. 13-31).
- Between us: Letters and Poems of Stevenson and Bishop In Leighton A (Ed.), Voyages Over Voices: Critical Essays on Anne Stevenson (pp. 28-54). Liverpool Univ Pr
- Absence as Influence: Samuel Beckett and Paul Muldoon In Feldman M & Nixon M (Ed.), Beckett's literary legacies (pp. 40-57). Cambridge Scholars Publishing
- Boating through Venice: Cultural Translation in Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion In Macedo AG (Ed.), Identity And Cultural Translation: Writing Across the Borders of Englishness (pp. 237-246). Peter Lang Pub Inc
- Elizabeth Bishop: North & South In Roberts N (Ed.), A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry (pp. 457-468). Wiley-Blackwell
- The Snow Queen: Elizabeth Bishop and Nova Scotia In Anderson LR & Shapcott J (Ed.), Elizabeth Bishop (pp. 63-86). Bloodaxe Books Ltd
- Research group
I welcome applications from potential PhD students in all areas of my research interests, particularly American and British poetry of the modern and contemporary periods and the art of letter writing and its relationship to other literary genres. I am currently co- or primary supervisor to three PhD students, on Elizabeth Bishop, John Burnside, and a collection of poetry drawing on Gothic literature and Scottish poetry.
In the past few years I have successfully supervised PhD projects on William Burroughs, Cold War fiction, Ted Hughes and religion, twentieth-century letter writing, film noir, and the influence of Annie Hall on contemporary cinema.
- Teaching activities
I teach in all areas of my research, particularly American fiction, film and poetry. Courses I have taught at Sheffield include modules on Romantic and Victorian Poetry, Contemporary Literature, Twentieth-Century American Poetry and Road Movies. Since 2005 I have taught an MA course on Letter-Writing in the Twentieth-Century.