Research topics on english literature

Updated April 17, 2017

Choosing a research topic on English literature requires careful consideration because you can focus on many topics. Decide whether you will choose an era of English literature, a group of writers and poets, or work of a particular writer. You can do research on unusual topics such as the soliloquies of William Shakespeare, the wit of John Donne or the theme of escapism in romantic poetry.

Animal Use in Old English

Animal use in Old English literature can be an ideal research topic. For instance, consider Geoffrey Chaucer, the renowned poet of Old English. In his long poem, "The Nun's Priest's Tale," Chaucer used a variety of animal imagery. The poet illustrates the characters of hen (Pertilote), cock (Chanticleer) and the fox (Master Russel) with the attributes of male and female, the protagonist and the villain. The poem is not merely an animal story. Rather, it conveys wisdom to the reader.

Female Writers of the 19th Century

Being a female writer was looked down upon in the 19th century. In this century, a number of famous female writers originally published anonymously or using a male pen name. They included Jane Austen, pen name, "A Lady," Emily Bronte, pen name, "Ellis Bell" and Mary Ann Evans, pen name, "George Eliot."

Physical Love in English Literature

English literature is rich with all kinds of "love:" Platonic love, physical love, suppressed love and obsessive love. The appeal of "physical love" or "sexual love" highlights the literature, especially English poetry. Examples include "To his Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvin, "How do I love Thee" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "The Garden of Love" by William Blake and "Porphyria's Lover" by Browning. In "Porphyria's Lover," there is an explicit display of sexual love.


A group of 19th century English poets, painters and critics, termed as Pre-Raphaelites, reacted against neoclassical conventions of the art and Victorian materialism. The major figure of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood was the poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The movement was initiated to revive simplicity, freshness and freedom in painting, but later it extensively focused on literature. The valuable works of the group paved the way to the Romantic movement.

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About the Author

Raymond Tong has been a writer since 2009. His latest research project, titled "It's not all about money!," is awaiting approval for publication. He brings industry experience in marketing and finance as well as experience in sports. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and finance from the University of Toronto.