The cathedral city of Exeter, founded by the Romans, is among those English cities most dramatically affected by the English Civil War. Supporters of Parliament secured the city in 1642, and from early in 1643 it served as the western headquarters of the Parliamentary Army. After a determined and prolonged siege, it fell to Royalist forces in the autumn, who so strongly fortified the city that it was re-taken by the Parliamentary Army only in 1646. Exeter is located 45 miles from Plymouth and is 12 miles from the sea. It is home to several Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Dartmoor National Park and the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site.
The Department of English and Film at the University of Exeter boasts significant strengths in the fields of both Early Modern Literature (particularly seventeenth century) and American Literary Studies. The scholars attached to the interdisciplinary Centre for Early Modern Studies are engaged in research on all aspects of the period between c.1500 and 1800. Expertise ranges from Britain and Europe to the Middle East and North America.
Americanists at Exeter have research interests in transatlantic literary relations; labour and work; avant-garde literature; the literature of the suburbs; race and migration in literature; the American counterculture; experimental literature; publishing and book history; gender and Hollywood cinema; cultural representations of Seattle. The University holds several major resources that are of interest to American Studies scholars, notably the American Music Collection (one of the largest archives of American popular music outside the United States) and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.