Professor Joe Bray

Head of the School of English

Contact

Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield
S3 7RA


Overview

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

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.


Teaching 

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. 


Supervision

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.

Publications

Monographs
  • The Language of Jane Austen (Palgrave, 2018)
  • The Portrait in Fiction of the Romantic Period (Routledge, 2016)
  • The Female Reader in the English Novel: From Burney to Austen (Routledge, 2009)
  • The Epistolary Novel: Representations of Consciousness (Routledge, 2003)
Co-edited books
  • The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (Routledge, 2012) (Co-edited with Alison Gibbons and Brian McHale)
  • Mark Z. Danielewski (Manchester University Press, 2011) (Co-edited with Alison Gibbons)
  • Ma(r)king The Text: The Presentation of Meaning on the Literary Page (Ashgate, 2000) (Co-edited with Miriam Handley and Anne C. Henry)
Co-edited special issue
  • Special Issue of Textual Cultures on ‘Textual Culture’ (Indiana University Press, 2007) (Co-edited with Ruth Evans)
Selected articles and chapters
  • Bray, J. (2018). The Figurative Language of Sanditon. Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line, 38, 2.
  • Bray, J. (2017). Letters. In P. Sabor and B. Schellenberg (eds.) Samuel Richardson in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 155-162.
  • Bray, J. (2016). The Language of Portraiture in the Early Nineteenth-Century Novel: A Study in Opie and Austen. Women’s Writing, 23, 1: 53-67.
  • Bray, J. (2016). Postmodernism and Its Precursors. In B. McHale and L. Platt (eds.) The Cambridge History of Postmodern Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 25-38.
  • Bray, J. (2015). Narrative Point of View. In V. Sotirova (ed.) The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 341-355.
  • Bray, J. (2014). A Portrait of Historical Stylistics. In P. Stockwell and S. Whiteley (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 487-501.
  • Bray, J. (2014). Speech and Thought Presentation: The Continuing Relevance of Free Indirect Thought. In M. Burke (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 222-236.
  • Bray, J. (2013). Ann Radcliffe, The Portrait, and the Uncertainty of Resemblance. In D. Townshend and A. Wright (eds.) Ann Radcliffe, Romanticism and the Gothic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 33-48.
  • Bray, J. (2011). Belinda, Emma, and the ‘Likeness’ of the Portrait. Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 33, 1, 1-15.