Professor Michael Franklin

English Language And Literature
Telephone: (01792) 205678 ext 4301

About Me

Michael Franklin was a medievalist in a former life by the muddy banks of the Ouse, but he now lingers by the perfumed Yamuna. Since editing Sir William Jones: Selected Poetical and Prose Works (1995) and writing the critical biography Sir William Jones (1995), he has been investigating colonial representations of India and their various interfaces with Romanticism, He has edited Representing India: Indian Culture and Imperial Control (2000), and The European Discovery of India: Key Indological Sources of Romanticism 6 vols (2001): and authored a series of articles on the Hastings circle which forms the current focus of his research. He also published the well-received Romantic Representations of British India, ed. Michael J. Franklin, (London: Routledge, 2006); and Phebe Gibbes, Hartly House, Calcutta, ed. Michael J. Franklin (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007).

At the invitation of Professor Malabika Sarkar he gave plenary lectures at the Annual International Conference on Romanticism at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Following this and at the invitation of Professor Surya Pandey, he gave plenary lectures at a conference at the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi in February 2006.

He was accorded the honour of being invited by Professor Ashok Bhattacharyya to address The Asiatic Society in Calcutta on 2 February 2006 on the subject of Sir William Jones and pluralism. This paper has been published as ‘Pluralism Celebrated and Desecrated: A Mughal and British Imperial ‘Romantic’ Legacy’, The Journal of the Asiatic Society, 48: 2 (2006), 69-90.

He has written a variety of articles on subjects as diverse as the Celtic Revival, the Oriental Renaissance, ‘Indianism’, Phoenicianism, Piozzi, Gagnier, Gibbes, Britanus, Brutus and Iolo, the brahmachari and the missionary, hand-fasting, turdidae, and asses. He has been recently working on a major new critical biography of Sir William Jones, the foremost Orientalist of the eighteenth century and one of the greatest intellectual navigators of all time.


  1. (2009). Entry on John Fryer (d. 1733) traveller and writer [1500 words]. (Encyclopaedia Iranica). Columbia: Columbia University.
  2. Entry on George Forster (1752–1791),traveller, writer, and diplomatist [1940 words], awaiting publication. (Encyclopaedia Iranica). Columbia: Columbia University.
  3. 'Orientalist Jones' Sir William Jones, Poet, Lawyer, and Linguist, 1746-1794. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Indian Ink, Irish Pens and British Cartridge Paper. European Romantic Review 22(4), 40-51.
  5. Entry on Sir William Jones [5,000 words]. (Encyclopaedia Iranica).

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  • EN-114 Voices of Poetry

    'Voices of Poetry' is an engaging and exciting module which aims to introduce students to poetry and the various voices it articulates. Taught by well-known poets as well as scholars of poetry, this course will introduce students to a wide range of poetic forms and literary periods, ranging from the medieval lyric to postmodern poetry, from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath. Particular attention will be paid to the interrelationship between meaning and form, and how rhetorical figures, metre, rhythm, tone, register and the speaker's voice create meaning. 'Voices of Poetry' will also foster an appreciation of how poetic forms are re-written in the socio-historical context in which they were produced.

  • EN-219 Hearts in Hiding: Hardy and Hopkins as Poets of Innovation and Idiosyncrasy

    This course aims to explore the poetry of two of the most innovative and influential English poets of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The emphasis will be upon close reading of selected texts to investigate both poets' fascination with individuality and distinctiveness, with creativity and perception. Discussion will centre on their respective responses to emotional crises and the impact of division and desolation. We shall consider the critical, cultural, and political contexts of their poetry, focusing on issues of gender, genre, aesthetics, the nature of language, poetry and the imagination. Key questions of similarity and difference will be raised as we consider the extent to which their originality exploits tension between the traditional and the experimental.

  • EN-266 Medieval Encounters

    Many of the elements of our shared culture were first imagined or developed in the medieval period, but have continued to speak to post-medieval readers. This module will introduce students to the literature of the medieval period, with a particular emphasis on contacts or encounters between medieval texts and more modern cultures via literary translations and transformations. These translations will include both medieval responses to earlier classical and biblical traditions, and modern re-imaginings of medieval texts and ideas (including the notion of 'medievalism'). A major theme of the course will be the cultural continuities and discontinuities between medieval literature and later texts, and the ways in which medieval narratives and images were adapted to meet the needs of other cultural circumstances. Students will develop an awareness of key aspects of medieval literary culture including ideas of authorship and authority, religious traditions, and romance or Courtly Love codes. Students will also gain an understanding of the functions of translation and re-appropriation in literary and cultural production. All texts will be available in modern English (or fully-glossed) versions.

  • EN-389 Revolution, Romanticism and Realism

    In this module students will study some major texts of British Romantic poetry and nineteenth-century fiction in the historical context of contemporary debates on revolutionising society. We will trace a dialectic between Romantic individualism and social concern both in the poetry and the prose of this period. Through detailed critical analysis we will focus on the various ways in which writers sought to unmask bourgeois hypocrisy and political corruption; to portray lower-class life and sexuality honestly; or to invoke tradition and question change. The philosophical implications of such terms as ‘Romanticism’, ‘Realism’ and Naturalism’ will be explored, and the ideology of different literary styles contrasted. Though we will be reading a varied selection of texts, a continuing concern will be on the ways in which social changes are embodied in literary consciousness, and on the relationship between experience and perception.

  • EN-390 The Erotics and Exotics of Romantic Orientalism

    This module extends political and historical reading of Romanticism to embrace the cultural, institutional, and sexual politics of Empire. We shall examine the intertwined roots of Romanticism and Orientalism: the exotic, the erotic, and the despotic. The craze for sensual and sensational escapism ushered in by the Arabian Nights Entertainment had invlolved a voyeuristic invasion of the seraglio. Romantic writers were also absorbed by that fragrant and forbidden space, but was such Oriental escapism at odds with their social and political concerns? Exactly how did their works reflect contemporary cultural and imperial encounters with Asia and blur the margins of imaginative and actual power? Key issues to be explored will include cultural stereotypes such as contemptuous misogyny and the capricious cruelty of the Oriental despot; liberty and libertinism; the earthly paradise; and the longing for feminized dream of the East.

  • EN-397 Long Essay

    Students taking this module write a long essay of between 7 - 8,000 words on a literary or creative topic of their choice, subject to Department approval. The Long Essay is an independent research project for which each student will receive 5 hours of individual or group supervision. Supervisions will take place at regular intervals with set targets, and will primarily involve feedback on the style, argument and structure of the long essay.

  • EN-M50 Women Writing India

    This module involves close study of the representations of India in three important yet entertaining Romantic-period-female-authored novels. The publication of the Phebe Gibbes' Hartly House, Calcutta initiated a series of female-authored novels about the subcontinent which includes Elizabeth Hamilton's Translations of the Letters of Hindoo Rajah (1796), and culminates in Sydney Owenson's The Missionary (1811). These texts represent key documents in the literary representation of India and the imperial debate. Beyond offering a radical feminization of India, they introduced an assimilable and sentimentalized version of the Indological scholarship which facilitated Romantic Orientalism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and which is currently subject to revisionary analysis by students and critics of postcolonialism and gender studies. From the standpoints of both materialist feminist scholarship and postcolonial theory, these novels problematize the intricate relationships between mercantile capitalism, colonial trade, issues of race and class, national identity, and British constructions of gender within the colony and the metropolis.

  • EN-M70 Fin Amor and Marriage in the Medieval English Secular Lyric

    This module investigates some of the heterogeneous elements that contributed to the evolution of the Middle English secular lyric. Considering the likely Oriental and Mozarabic origins of fin amors (refined or “ love), we shall examine a range of lyric poetry written in Arabic, Provencal/Occitan, French, German, Anglo-Norman, Welsh and, for wider cross-cultural comparative purposes, Sanskrit, all of which we shall study in translation. We shall trace the poetic advance of this fashionable “cult across the Pyrenees and up through France to Anglo-Norman England, examining the key mediating role of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Harley lyrics will examined within the wider context of medieval English lyric as prime examples of the eclecticism of insular vernacular lyric. We shall consider how the Harley poets present an exalted conception of love, but a love which has been “domesticated in significant respects. We shall see how these poems, written down in Ludlow in the 1340s, mark an important stage in the gradual reconciliation of the heightened sensibility of “amour courtois with the reciprocated mutuality of marriage.


  • Homesick (awarded 2011)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Professor Stephanie Davies
    Other supervisor: Professor Michael Franklin