Graduate Research Opportunities


English graduate students and faculty find special support for their interests and energizing study opportunities in McFarlin Library's renowned collections of literary rare books, manuscripts, letters, and periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These collections carry the potential for significant and long term original research as well as the immediate excitement of discovery concerning a given literary figure or subject. One can find the genesis of a writer's ideas, the attempts to shape these ideas, the experience of working with publishers, the private and not-so-private opinions of not only a given writer but those of the writer's friends and rivals, and intimations of the intellectual milieu which centers the writer. Special collections of literary artifacts like these function for English studies like the high-tech laboratories and sophisticated assaying devices of advanced scientific research. Our students of literature view the unique expressions found among the literary papers, from early notes and opinions to the first printed transmission of a text of poetry, fiction or drama; in so doing they advance their own abilities to read and interpret literature--and they extend and complicate our comprehension of literary texts and their cultural moments.

Two distinguished academic journals, The James Joyce Quarterly and Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, are published by the department, edited by departmental faculty, and staffed primarily by graduate student interns. The innovative web-based Modernist Journals Project (MJP), a collaboration between Brown University and The University of Tulsa, is similarly staffed by graduate students in coordination with its faculty directors at T.U. and Brown. These invaluable opportunities provide students with first-hand experience in academic publication, both print-based and digital. At MJP, students produce digital archives of modernist periodicals on which their own and others' cutting-edge research may be based.

Special Collections at Tulsa hold manuscripts, personal papers and first editions--British, Irish, American, and post-colonial English--that rank alongside with Harvard, Yale, and the Ransom Humanities Research Center's among the preeminent archives of twentieth-century literature in the world. Rare and thorough collections of nineteenth century fiction and poetry, women's literature, popular literature, oil patch history, Native American tribal history and law, and Native American literature combine with contemporary holdings to establish McFarlin as a world-class archival library for literary study. Among these distinct and incomparable collections are:

  • The James Joyce Collection of Harriet Shaw Weaver which includes early editions with autographs and notes, Augustus John lithographs of Joyce, and Matisse illustrations of Ulysses.
  • The Richard Ellmann Papers, which include Ellmann's research notes and files on Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, and Beckett.
  • The Life-Archive of V.S. Naipaul, a vast collection of existing and future manuscripts and papers of the author, including his correspondence, personal and family files and letters, and his annotated reading library.
  • The Jean Rhys Archive of virtually all of her surviving manuscripts, personal papers and correspondence.
  • The Modern Authors Collection of twentieth-century fiction and poetry manuscripts, correspondence and/or early texts and editions of authors such as Stephen Crane, Margaret Drabble, John Dos Passos, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Fowles, Fugitive Poets (Ransom, Tate, Penn Warren et al), Robert Frost, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Thom Gunn, Ernest Hemingway, Washington Irving, D.H. Lawrence, Doris Lessing, Malcolm Lowry, Norman Mailer, Katherine Mansfield, Richard Murphy, Ezra Pound, Anthony Powell, Jean Rhys, Laura (Riding) Jackson, Dorothy Richardson, Siegfried Sassoon, Paul Scott, Stevie Smith, Muriel Spark, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck, James Stephens, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Taylor, Alice B. Toklas, William Trevor, Kurt Vonnegut, Evelyn Warner, Rebecca West, and Walt Whitman.
  • The Proletarian Literature Collection of radical and working-class fiction, poetry, drama and periodicals, which focuses on the Depression years and includes "lost" African American writers.
  • The Vietnam War Literature Collection of fiction and poetry by American and African American authors.
  • The Edmund Wilson Library representing Wilson's interests in literature and cultural affairs, including the Nabokov-Wilson letters, and rare hand-printed editions of Anais Nin's early works.
  • The Cyril Connolly Library of "Modern Movement" authors, 1,000 periodicals from the First World War through the 1970s, and numerous letters from Stephen Spender, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, and John Betjeman.
  • The Martin Secker Collection of documents and correspondence related to the publication of modernists like Henry James, Thomas Mann, D.H. Lawrence, Compton McKenzie, and Conrad Aiken.
  • The Rupert Hart-Davis Library which contains a complete Edmund Blunden collection and a rare collection of First World War poets, including women poets of the period.
  • The Edwardian Fiction Collection which includes a large group of popular women writers as well as H.G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, and John Galsworthy.
  • The Factory House Library of Nineteenth-Century Fiction, a complete, intact, circulating library of "popular" fiction from the period 1820-1890 representing democratic trends in fiction. It includes titles by 175 Romantic and Victorian women novelists.
  • The Kenneth Hopkins Collection of 5,000 volumes of British and Irish poetry of the late eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.