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Dr Gary Day

Job: Principal Lecturer in English

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): Centre for Adaptations

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 250 6313




Personal profile

Gary Day graduated from Essex University with a first class honours degree in English and European Literature in 1978. He obtained a PGCE at Sussex University and worked as a teacher for a number of years both in England and abroad before returning to do an MA  and PhD at Cardiff University. He has worked at De Montfort since 1995. Gary’s research interests are in the history of criticism, class, modernism, drama and contemporary fiction. He gave the centenary lecture on F. R. Leavis at Downing College and his book Re-Reading Leavis (Palgrave Macmillan) is widely cited in recent works on this important critical figure. His Class (Routledge 2001) can be found on reading lists in many universities as can his Modernist Literature 1890-1950 (York-Pearson 2010) while his Literary Criticism: A New History (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) was a Times Higher Book of the Week and has been widely praised; the Bibliotheque de Humanisme et Renaissance, for example, described it as ‘an open discussion, stimulating and likely to spawn more criticism’ adding that its ‘erudition and precision of statement, demand equal talent in anyone attempting a response’. Gary’s current project is A History of Drama: Sacrifice in Tragedy in Comedy from the Greeks to the Present which is to published by Bloomsbury/Methuen. In addition to these works, Gary has edited several works on a variety of subjects, the latest being The Continuum Handbook to Eighteenth Century Literature (2009). He is also in the process of editing, with Professor Jack Lynch of Rutgers, The Wiley Encyclopaedia of British Eighteenth Century Literature.

Key research outputs

Literary Criticism: A New History Edinburgh University Press 2008 & 2010

‘Bunyan, Class and Englishness’ in Michael Davies (ed.), The Oxford Handbook to John Bunyan (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Areas of teaching

  • History of Drama
  • Eighteenth century literature and culture
  • Modernism
  • Contemporary literature


BA (Hons Class One), MA, PhD, PGCE

Courses taught

English BA (Hons)

  • The History of Tragedy and Comedy
  • British Drama from 1945 to the Present
  • Contemporary Fiction

Membership of external committees

Membership / Bursaries Secretary British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies (2002-12)

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Member of Radio 4 Listener Panel (2006-)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts (2008-)

Conference attendance

Invited Panel Member English & Welsh Diaspora: Regional Cultures, Disparate Voices, Remembered Lives Loughborough University, 13-16 April, 2011 

Invited panel member ‘The Good of Criticism’ Reading University 19-20 March 2010

Plenary Speaker Radboud University, Nijmegen, ‘Cause for Concern? The state of Contemporary Fiction Reviewing in Britain 17-18 March 2011

Plenary speaker ‘Eighteenth Century Lives’ Annual Conference British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies January 2009

Consultancy work

Academic consultant to Sodexho, a catering organisation that regularly surveys student lifestyles.

Member English Subject Seminar to consider initial findings on proposed changes to English in the National Curriculum  organized by the Department of Education Wednesday 23 March, 2011

A high level private roundtable Reform dinner with Stephen Williams MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Innovation, Universities and Skills, on the topic of “The short-changed student? Delivering in a consumerised HE world” March 1 2010

Invited panellist ‘The Academic Core’ with Michael Gove MP organised by  ‘Reform’ December 1,  2009

Invited speaker ‘Englishness’ Institute of Public Policy Research 23 April 2009

Invited speaker with journalists and politicians-including David Willet Shadow spokesman on Higher Education, on the topic of universities and the economy Westminster 17 June 2009

Invited panel speaker ‘We Don’t Need No Education!’ Middlesex University 24 January 2009

Universities: Driving Economies from Hertfordshire to Silicon Valley’. A roundtable discussion hosted by Policy Exchange Tuesday 30th September 2008

Current research students

Second supervisor Dave Cliffe

Externally funded research grants information

Submitted HERA grant application: The Same But Different:  The Trans/National Reception of Novels in Post-war Europe in conjunction with  Radboud University Nijmegen; Holland, 

University of Koblenz-Landau; Germany  University of Vaasa; Finland,  KULeuven, Belgium Decision due February 2013

Professional esteem indicators

Member of Advisory Board UK Network for Modern Fiction Studies (2004-)

Member of the Editorial Board  for The International Institute for the Study of Englishness (2000-)

TV Reviewer Times Higher 2008-12 and book reviewer Times Higher 2000-

‘The Future of English’ Quest, pp. 51-2 ISSN 1460-0404 invited contribution for the hundredth anniversary of Quest, the magazine for the Queen’s English Society 2008

Review Article: ‘Victorian Afterlives’ Journal of Victorian Culture 13: 2 2008 pp. 310-14

Case studies

The Continuum Handbook to Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture Book News. Inc; and Times Higher 25 February 2010 

Modernist Literature 1890-1950 Times Higher February 24 2011

Literary Criticism: A New History Times Higher Book of the Week 19 June 2008, Scotsman,  6 September 2008; Times Literary Supplement, 28 November 2008, Cambridge Quarterly March 29, 2009, Literature and History, 18: 1, (2009); The Hindu, 15 February 2011, Stefan Neuhaus ‘Die Geschichte der Literaturkritik als Literatur- und Ideengeschichte’ Journal of Literary Theory,  East West University Journal of Humanities 1:1 January 2010, English Literature in Transition  53:4 2010, pp 517-19, Mantex  September, 2010

Re-Reading Leavis (1996) cited in Richard Storer F. R. Leavis (Routledge Critical Thinkers 2009

Interview Theatre Archive Project Radio Leicester 18 February 2011 

Pre-show audience talks at the Curve 17 May 2011 AND November 2011

Interviewed by Leicester Mercury on jargon used by councillors March  10 2010

Interviewed on Radio Leicester about slang September 28 2010

Interviewed local radio throughout the country  about the result of the Sodexho Student Survey March 2010

Interviewed on local radio throughout the country  about the result of the Sodexho Student Survey 1 September 2009

Interviewed on Radio Leicester about ‘misery memories’ 28 November 2008

Gary Day

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