A List Top 20 Possible PhD Thesis Topics In English Literature 

If you should write a PhD thesis in English literature, don’t underestimate the magnitude of the task ahead. This is not only about analyzing your favorite literary work or sorting out ideas of other literary critics on it. You should dig much deeper, search for some hidden ideas, and present them in the context of the time.

What to Write About in a PhD Thesis in English Literature

  • Write about any time period in the development of English literature: from its early days (Old English) till nowadays;
  • Do interdisciplinary research (e.g. philosophy, religion, politics in literature);
  • Focus on any genre (e.g. novels, drama, poetry, etc.);
  • Explore the literary career of a particular writer;
  • Study a particular theme (e.g. war, love, childhood, etc.) in one or several literary works.

Great Topic Ideas for Your PhD Thesis in English Literature

  1. Religious themes in Old English poems: what current approaches are reflected therein?
  2. Middle English literature: how did Chaucer contribute to the development of vernacular English?
  3. Origins of English drama: what goals did the first plays pursue?
  4. Italian impact on the poetry of English Renaissance: what innovations were borrowed?
  5. Comparative analysis of Shakespeare’s career in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods: are there any changes in direction?
  6. Late Renaissance: what is the style of the Cavalier poets peculiar for?
  7. Paradise Lost by John Milton: how did the poem affect the proceeding literature?
  8. Origins of fiction and journalism: why did these genres appear during the Restoration period in particular?
  9. Eighteenth-century literature: what rational and scientific trends can be observed in the works of the Age of Enlightenment?
  10. Attitudes to the nineteenth-century novels: how were they perceived then and what are the approaches now?
  11. Age of sensibility: what is the role of Samuel Johnson in English history and literature?
  12. Stereotype breaking novels of the early twentieth century: what stereotypes were deconstructed and how?
  13. Romantic movement in English literature: what was its evolution affected by?
  14. Depiction of homosexuality in English literature: from the first mention till now.
  15. Feministic trends in twentieth-century literature: how can they be interpreted these days?
  16. Early Romantic poetry: what themes were dominant in the poems?
  17. Development of the Victorian novel: what was the role of women in the process?
  18. Kitchen sink realism in the English drama of the late 1950s: what was this cultural movement peculiar for?
  19. Dystopian novels of postmodernist literature: what tricks did the writers apply?
  20. Development of the spy novel genre in the twentieth-century literature: what trends can be observed?