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Professor Mick Short


Mick Short

Lancaster University

County South



Tel: +44 1524 593035

Research Interests

BA (Lancaster), MA (Birmingham), PhD (Lancaster)

Mick is Professor of English Language and Literature. His main interests are in the linguistic stylistic analysis of literary texts and he is best known for Style in Fiction, which he published in collaboration with Geoffrey Leech in 1981. Exploring the Language of Poems, Plays and Prose (Longman) was published in 1996 and in collaboration with Elena Semino , he published Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English Writing (Routledge) in 2004. He is the editor of Reading, Analysing and Teaching Literature (Longman 1989) and co- editor of Using Corpora for Language Research with Jenny Thomas (Longman 1966) and Exploring the Language of Drama with Peter Verdonk and Jonathan Culpeper . He has published articles in numerous journals, including Language and Literature , Language and Style , Narrative, Poetics, Style, Text , The Journal of Literary Semantics and Applied Linguistics. Since 1985 he has co-edited three series of books for Longman: Learning about Language and Studies in Language and Linguistics (both with Geoffrey Leech) and Textual Explorations (with Elena Semino).

Mick was the founding editor (1992-6) of Language and Literature, the international journal of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (which he also founded, in 1985). His main current interests are the analysis of fiction and drama using pragmatic analysis, discourse presentation theory, stylistics pedagogy, the use of stylistics in literature and language teaching and the computational and empirical study of literature. With Elena Semino, he has been responsible for two computerised corpus based research projects on speech, writing and thought presentation (SW&TP), one on written (literary and non-literary) texts and one on spoken data. Mick is a member of the Pragmatics and Stylistics Research Unit (PASTY) in the department.

In the year 2000, Mick was one of only 20 teachers across the whole of Higher Education in the UK to win a National Teaching Fellowship. This was the first year in which this national competition was run. Mick has used his £50,000 prize in a project to design an innovative introductory web-based course. He ran an international investigation from 2002 to 2005, comparing student reactions in different higher education institutions to web-based and traditional teaching of the same course.


University Administration

2008 Member of Lancaster University's panel to perform the Quinquennial Review of Blackburn and Blackpool and the Fylde colleges.

2007- Acting chair of departmental Staffing and undergraduate Committees

2007- Departmental Admissions Coordinator.

Poetics and Linguistics Association

I founded the Poetics and Linguistics Association in 1979. I acted as its treasurer from 1979 to 1982, and have been a committee member since then. I was Chairman of the Association from 1990 to 1993. The association began a journal, Parlance, at my instigation, and produced at Lancaster (1988-91). Parlance was replaced in 1992 by Language and Literature, which I also founded and edited from 1992 to 1996 .

In 2005 Style in Fiction (Leech and Short 1981) was awarded the PALA 25th anniversary Book Prize as the most influential book in the field of stylistics since the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) was founded in 1979.As a consequence of this prize, Mickco-organised with Geoff Leech the Style in Fiction Symposium in Lancaster in 2006.

Additional Information

Recent Publications

 Web-based Resources

2005 Web-based introductory stylistics course (Language and Style). http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/projects/stylistics/start.htm

Based on a traditional version of this course that I have taught for some years and made publicly available on the web to mark the 25th anniversary of PALA. The course has been used in an extended investigation of traditional vs. web-based stylistics teaching (see journal editing, articles in journals and book chapters below).

2004 Lancaster Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation Spoken Corpus (deposited with the Oxford Text Archive)

Authored Books

Forthcoming (2008) The Stylistic Analysis of Drama and Film, Longman.

2007 Second edition of Style in Fiction (with G. N. Leech), Longman, 404pp.

2004 Corpus Stylistics: A Corpus-based Study of Speech, Thought and Writing

Presentation in Narratives, Routledge (with E. Semino), Routledge, 256 pp.


Articles in Journals


2007 'Interview with Mick Short' (by Patricia Plummer and Beatrix Busse, Anglia: International Journal of English Studies 18, 1, 135-51.

2006 'Preface: The web-based Language and Style Course, E-learning and Stylistics' (with Beatrix Busse and Patricia Plummer) Language and Literature 15 (3), 219-33.

2006 'E-learning and Language and Style in Lancaster', Language and Literature 15(3)., 234-56.

2006 'Afterword' (with Beatrix Busse and Patricia Plummer), Language and Literature 15(3)., 321-2.

2004 'Methodological problems in the analysis of a corpus of conversations about cancer' (with E. Semino and J. Heywood), Journal of Pragmatics 36, 1271-94.

2003 'Designing a world-wide web-based stylistics course and investigating its effectiveness' (with D. Archer), Style 37, 1, 27-46.

Book Chapters

Forthcoming '"Where are you going to my pretty maid?" "For detailed analysis", sir, she said.' Proceedings of the Poetics and Linguistics Association Conference, New York 2004, 10k words.

Forthcoming 'Stylistics and Literary Evaluation' (with E. Semino), in W. van Peer (ed.) The Quality of Literature: Studies in Literary Evaluation (Amsterdam: John Benjamins), 9.5k words.

2007 'How to Make a Drama out of a Speech Act: The Speech Act of Apology in the Film A Fish Called Wanda' in: David L. Hoover and Sharon Latig (eds) Stylistics: Retrospect and Prospect (Amsterdam: John Benjamins) .

2007 'Investigating student reactions to a web-based stylistics course in different national and educational settings (with P. Plummer and B. Busse), in Greg Watson and Sonia Zyngier (eds) Literature and Stylistics for Language Learners Palgrave MacMillan.

2007 'Designing and piloting a world-wide-web-based stylistics course', in Andrea Gerbig and Anja Müller-Wood (eds.) Rethinking English: Reconciling Literature, Linguistics and Cultural Studies (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen), 131-66.

2006 'Prologue from Bilgewater by Jane Gardam' (with E. Semino and J. Culpeper), in: Goodman, S. and O'Halloran, K.A (eds.) The Art of English: Literary Creativity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (shortened reprint of 'Language and Context: Jane Gardam's Bilgewater' originally published in T. Bex, M. Burke and P. Stockwell (eds) Contextualised Stylistics, Rodopi: Amsterdam, 57-84).

2004 'Graphological deviation, style variation and point of view in Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh', in Paul Simpson (ed.) Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students, pp. 176-86 (reprint of 1999 article in Journal of Literary Studies, 15 (3/4).

Other Interests and Hobbies

Mick is also keen on community action and helping to improve the environment. He was the founding chairman of a local Lancaster charity, the Fairfield Association, which is dedicated to extending and improving areas of green space in Lancaster in general and especially the Fairfield area of the city.

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