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Personal profile


James Underwood is Senior Lecturer in English Literature. He joined the University of Huddersfield in 2016 as Research Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Literature, having previously taught at the University of Hull and Bishop Grosseteste University.

His research focuses primarily on twentieth- and twenty-first-century British, Irish, and American poetry, with a particular emphasis on the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. He is currently completing a monograph on Early Larkin. He is also interested in literary correspondence and literary biography.

James is Deputy Director of the Ted Hughes Network, a centre of excellence for Hughes-related research, teaching, public engagement, and creativity. He is also a Director of the Elmet Trust, a charity dedicated to preserving Hughes’s birthplace and promoting his work, and is Secretary of the Ted Hughes Yorkshire Literary and Heritage Trail Consortium. He currently sits on the Council of the Ted Hughes Society. 

In 2017, James was awarded a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

James welcomes enquiries from prospective research students (MRes and PhD) on any aspect of his research interests, particularly the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. He is currently supervising PhDs on Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, and the modern American epic poem. 


PhD in English Literature (2016), University of Hull

MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature (2012), University of Hull

BA in English Literature (2011), University of Durham

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Twentieth- and twenty-first-century poetry, particularly the work of Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes
  • Literary correspondence
  • Literary biography

External positions

Council member, Ted Hughes Society

Aug 2018 → …

Director & Trustee, The Elmet Trust

Jan 2017 → …

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Modern & contemporary poetry
  • Philip Larkin
  • Ted Hughes
  • Literary biography
  • Literary correspondence
  • British, Irish, & American Poetry
  • Public engagement

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Research Output

  • 6 Book/Film/Dance Article review
  • 4 Chapter
  • 3 Article
  • 2 Editorial

‘A Kind of Homosexual Relation, Disguised’: Larkin’s Letters to Monica Jones

Underwood, J., Jun 2016, In : English. 65, 248, p. 38-57 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Mayday on Holderness: Ted Hughes, National Service, and East Yorkshire

    Underwood, J., 21 Nov 2017, In : Ted Hughes Society Journal. 6, 2, p. 86-98 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Blurred Boundaries: Literary Biography, Literary Autobiography, and Evidence

    Underwood, J., 17 Oct 2018, A Companion to Literary Biography. Bradford, R. (ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, p. 195-212 8 p. (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • 'Pit Closure as Art': Poetry from the North of England

    Underwood, J., 20 Dec 2018, British Literature in Transition, 1980-2000: Accelerated Times. Pollard, E. & Schoene, B. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, p. 162-177 16 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Larkin's 'Church Going': A Source

    Underwood, J., 1 Mar 2014, In : Notes and Queries. 61, 1, p. 146-148 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access


    • 1 Editorial work

    Ted Hughes Society Journal (Journal)

    James Underwood (Editor)
    Jul 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial work

    Press / Media

    The Richard Stead Breakfast Show, 06:03, 07:08, BBC Radio Leeds

    James Underwood


    3 Media contributions

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Larkin's The Less Deceived and Movement poetry

    James Underwood


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Research