Professor Rob Pope

  • Manchester


Rob Pope is Professor of English at the School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University.

He has worked in universities in Wales, New Zealand and Russia and led staff and curriculum development projects in Australia, Central Europe, South-East Asia and the USA.His research interests include creative teaching and writing strategies, language, ideology and text analysis; and the teaching and learning of English Studies in global and multicultural contexts.His latest book is Creativity: Theory, History, Practice (2002).

Critical perspective

Although originally specialising in late medieval literature (he has published on Chaucer and Henryson), Rob Pope 'stands back' from the discipline in more recent work, to consider the field of 'English Studies' itself. In de-limiting the field, Pope does not erect boundaries, but rather considers the interdisciplinary possibilities of the subject, particularly in relation to language and cultural studies.Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies (1994) explores the teaching and learning methods in English and cultural studies and the critical possibilities of imitation, adaptation and parody. Part of Routledge's Interface series, which aims to confront the practical concerns of linguistic and literary study, Textual Intervention is an approachable guide, containing exercises for students to work on alone or in tutorial groups. These exercises help students put a range of critical theories into practice by allowing them to become more active and creative in the reading process and by enabling them to make textual interventions. Offering interpretations of 'high' literary texts alongside popular media such as advertisements and television, Pope draws attention to principles such as production and reproduction, selection and combination, considering their implications for interpretation and meaning. Pope's notion of 're-writing' is central here. Through interaction and invention the reader is encouraged to play a more active part in interpretation. To read a work of literature is not simply to (passively) search for a meaning already placed there by the author, it is to (actively) re-construct the text and produce an 'alternative', 'parallel' or 'counter' narrative. Reading in this context is not simply a matter of consumption, but of production: to read is also to re-write the text.His next textbook, The English Studies Book (1998) was well received by both students and teachers. It has become a core text within many university English Studies' departments and is already in its second edition. Susan Bassnett at the University of Warwick calls the book a 'marvellous achievement' and the text is certainly impressive in its combination of critical dictionary, historical survey, anthology and practical study guide. Like Textual Intervention, Pope's approach is accessible, engaging and interdisciplinary and is designed for students studying language as well as literature. The latest edition includes an extended glossary, a preface outlining some of the latest changes in the field; new sections on 'Aesthetics', 'Ethics', 'Ecology' and 'Sexuality' as well as additional literary extracts, including slave narratives and science fiction and key contemporary authors like Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood.His latest book, Creativity: Theory, History, Practice (2002), returns to some of the issues raised in Textual Intervention. The text offers an introduction to the concept of creativity, bringing together both theoretical and historical approaches. Creativity is structured around themes and issues such as 'myths of creation' and 'creators and creativity' which are considered in relation to a broad range of literary texts from the classical to the postmodern period. Dr. James Procter, 2002


The Writer's Reader: Ways of Writing, Ways of Reading
Creativity: Theory, History, Practice
The English Studies Book
Textual Intervention: Critical and Creative Strategies for Literary Studies
How to Study Chaucer

Author statement

'I write to - communicate with others at a distance (on balance I prefer talk); to find out what I think; and to see if it's worth someone else reading - I hope.'