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At the Department of English Literature, we are proud to provide you with excellent resources and materials to assist you in your academic studies.

All students have access to the University's general resources such as the library, email, and e-facilities, as well as subject-specific materials.

As an English Literature student, you will also have a range of literary resources available to you, including unique original manuscript collections, journals, the Museum of English Rural Life and its archives, a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, rare collections of books, and much more.

General resources

The library

The library gives you access to print and digital services, support and advice services, and study space.

Find out more about the library


Blackboard is a virtual learning environment run by the University of Reading. You will be given your own account and personalised page when you arrive in fresher's week.

Blackboard is a useful place to collate information and to facilitate communication between you and your lecturers. Reading material, lecture slides and handouts for your modules are regularly uploaded, which is a great help when the time comes for revising.

Literary treasures at the University of Reading

Specific resources for English Literature

Print Resources

In addition to the library at Whiteknights campus, you will have access to the Special Collections archive of rare books at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

Here we house rare book collections which include the Donald Gordon collection of books by and about W. B. Yeats, and the Matthews-Shelley collection of books by and about P. B. Shelley amongst many others. Perhaps our most extensive archive is the Children's Collection, which comprises over 6,000 books and journals written for children.

The collection is complemented by several other specific archives including, the Crusoe Collection, the Wizard of Oz Collection, and the Brock Collection.



The Department has access to original and unique manuscripts, housed in Special Collections.

Students at all levels are given access to the manuscript collections, but in your final year you have the opportunity to handle and study manuscripts through The Writer's Workshop: Studying Manuscripts, Samuel Beckett and Editing the Renaissance, and the Nigerian Prose Literature modules.

Furthermore, you can choose to base your final year dissertations on materials held at Special Collections.

Find out more about Special Collections at the University of Reading 

More information about the MERL


Electronic Resources

We provide you with an array of online resources which are of particular relevance to the English Literature programme. This grants you free access to material which you would otherwise have to pay for over the internet.

Access to online resources is available all over campus and off campus too. Online material comprises the Oxford English Dictionary, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, literature-based journal subscriptions and archives, e-books and specialist databases such as Early English Books Online (EEBO).


Royal Literary Fund Fellow

Each year the Department has a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. This post is filled by a professional writer who is external to the University.

The role of the Fellow is to advise students purely on their writing techniques. This can be in relation to essays and coursework, or for personal pieces.

Students have often found this service very helpful as it provides another opportunity to discuss and gain feedback on the construction of their work.

Contact us

For specific enquiries, please contact:

Dr Mark Nixon

Associate Professor and Liaison Officer for Special Collections



Our research

The English Literature Department pursues internationally recognised research across the historical spectrum.


Meet our experts

Our talented and internationally-diverse team are actively involved in research, contributing directly to your teaching and supervision.

Our stories

Read stories from our staff, students, and alumni to find out what it's like to study English Literature at the University of Reading.