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Martin Kayman

Professor Martin Kayman

Emeritus Professor

School of English, Communication and Philosophy


I am a former Head of School and College Dean of Postgraduate (Research) Studies; prior to my time at Cardiff, I was a Professor of Anglo-American Studies at the University of Coimbra, Portugal.

My interests lie at the intersections of Literature, Cultural Theory, English Law, and English Language. I am interested in the historical and theoretical relations between literature and law, particularly in relation to 'unwritten law'. More recently, my research has focused on law and visuality, religion, and violence -- particularly the relations between them. I also maintain a long-standing interest In the cultural politics of (teaching) English as a subject within Europe and as a 'global' language or 'lingua franca'.


With a background originally in Ezra Pound, science and literature, and the politics of Modernism, my research is currently focused mainly in the ever-expanding fand changing ield of law and literature, both broadly and problematically conceived.

My work has addressed issues of writing, fictionality, authority, and property with a particular attention to how such issues were articulated during the eighteenth century, a crucial period in the formation of the ideology of English Law and literary property, as well as to how such issues were dealt with in narratives of crime in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Addressing more contemporary issues, my work has accompanied moves in 'law and literature' to 'law and culture', turning to triangulated relations between law, religion, and the visual. My research and publications have focused on notions of the 'corpus' and on the relation between law and violence. At the same time, I am interested in the sort of writing that is implied by a body of 'unwritten' law and its special place in British identity and culture, particularly in the context of multiculturalism, globalisation and 'Brexit'.

I also retain an interest in theoretical and historical issues in the cultural politics of English and, particularly, of English Studies in Europe.

Research interests

  • law and literature
  • writing, the visual, and terror
  • eighteenth-century culture
  • crime fiction
  • the culture of police
  • the cultural politics of English


I took both my undergraduate degree and my PhD at the University of York in the 1970s. I subsequently took up an appointment at Coimbra University, Portugal, where, in time, I became Director of the Institute for English Studies and chair of the Department of Anglo-American Studies. I moved to Cardiff in 2000.

At Cardiff I have served as Director of Research (2002-4) and Head of School (2004-14), College Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies (2015-18) and Dean of Postgraduate Studies (2018-19).

From 2004 to 2018, I was one of the three general  editors of The European Journal of  English Studies. Previously, for six years I was responsible for The European English Messenger, the newsletter of  the European Society for the Study of English. An account of my contribution to the Society by a former President and a former Secretary can be found at

External profiles