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100 Best Literary Research Paper Topics

literary research paper topics

Literary research paper topics require students to demonstrate their understanding of the literature work they have studied. Essentially, literature courses are about reading and writing about what has been read. In some cases, comprehending what a student has read is not easy. That means writing essays or papers on literary topics can even be harder.

Nevertheless, writing a literary paper or essay can be easy if you know how to go about it. So, before we list different literary topics for research paper or essay, let go through the basic rules to have in mind when completing this task.

literary research paper topics

Tips for Writing on Literary Research Paper Topics

When writing on English literature topics, our assignment helpers advise to remember these basic rules to make the task easier.

  • Follow the right format when writing your literary paper or essay.
  • Include quotes in your writing and remember to add their exact location when referring to a work of literature.
  • Avoid borrowing arguments from analytical papers or literary essays or even quoting them directly.

Always remember that literature research topics and their fine details are important. However, you must demonstrate a strong understanding of the topic and fine details to come up with a great paper or essay. And when you choose British or American literature research paper topics, show your understanding of the setting or context. And, your introduction should be straightforward, the body should be well defined, and your conclusion should be comprehensive.

17th and 18th Century Topics in Literature

Shifting of the political and social climate in the 17th and 18th centuries was accompanied by a new form of fiction. With the introduction of the novel, new writers that used it to commentate the world obliquely emerged. They used literary strategies like metaphor and plot, dramatic devices and interior monologues to express ideas. Here are examples of literary analysis topics for the works of the 17th and 18th centuries.

  1. Paradise lost and falling from grace- A look into the seventeenth-century redemption poetry.
  2. Milton & the Bible
  3. Genesis myth & the popular seventeenth-century literature
  4. Los, love, and geographical imagination in John Donne poetry
  5. The first explorers of literature- How literary imagination was shaped by the discoveries of the 17th century
  6. Fielding and his novel “Tom Jones”.
  7. Nature visions- The 18th-century poetical imagination and Wordsworth
  8. History of the novel
  9. Interiority and interiors in the 18th-century novel
  10. The aesthetic problem and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  11. How the novel future was shaped by Paradise Lost
  12. The female voice- Depiction of girls as women in the 17th-century fiction
  13. Why and how fiction artifices were exposed by Laurence Sterne

19th Century Literary Essay Topics

The 19th century English literature was responding to pastoral fall and rising of the industry. It reflected the drastic changes in Britain at this time. As such, this is the section with some of the best British literature essay topics. The poetry and novels of this time celebrated a new culture while morning the past ways of life. Here are some of the 19th-century topics for literary analysis.

  1. Love and loss in the poems of Thomas Hardy 1912-13.
  2. Love and communication in Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning poetry
  3. Buried life recovery- Visionary aspiration in Matthew Arnold poetry
  4. Religious doubt and George Eliot
  5. The metaphysical tradition and Bulwer Lytton
  6. Mystic and naturalist- Discovering where Richard Jefferies got inspiration from
  7. Simple life search- The 19th-century rustic writing
  8. How important costumes were in Dickens’ work?
  9. Studying the provincial life- Trollope work after Austen
  10. Violence and sex in sensation fiction
  11. Macro and micro- Understanding the Bleak House and The Old Curiosity Shop power
  12. How religious imagination changed in the 19th century
  13. Effects of politics on literature in the 19th century
  14. How gender was represented in the gothic novel
  15. Heritage and Ruskin
  16. How the Victorian family meaning changed in the wake of the Gaskell
  17. The emergence of realism in the 19th-century literature
  18. Romance reading- How the novel was redefined by the Bronte sisters
  19. The anticipation of Science Fiction by Frankenstein

literary research paper topics

20th Century Literature Topics

Significant philosophical and aesthetic shifts defined the 20th-century era. This era is characterized by some of the best literary works. After poetry and prose boundaries were disrupted, a new form of expression, the verse, and fiction were available to the 20th-century writers. Here are some of the best research topics in English literature of this time.

  1. Visionary closure in the 20th-century novel
  2. Heaving into Uncreated Space- D.H Lawrence following Hardy
  3. Poetic syntax and W.H Auden
  4. Understanding the War- New poetic form and Ivor Gurney
  5. Water imagery in Virginia Woolf works
  6. Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes- Studying contrast and similarity
  7. Can anything more be found? – The Wasteland and T.S Eliot
  8. Space and Time in The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Time Machine
  9. Dare to break the convention- Sylvia Plath’s tragedy
  10. Aldous Huxley- Searching for the ‘Other’
  11. Ian McEwan- Studying identity and character
  12. Discuss the concept of being in Milan Kundera’s work
  13. Early modernism and Freud
  14. Kipling’s India
  15. Jewish writing and Bernard Malamud
  16. Form experiments- Twentieth century and Joyce
  17. Fantasy and magic in Robert Louis Stevenson’s work
  18. Travel writing and Jack Kerouac
  19. Studying differences and similarities between postmodernism and modernism
  20. How the novel was almost destroyed by postmodernism
  21. How fiction artifices were exposed by John Barth in Lost in the Funhouse

Interdisciplinary Literary Analysis Essay Topics

Literature has intersected with other study areas. Such study fields include philosophy, religion, architecture, art, sociology, politics, and history. Literary analysis research paper topics in this category require writers to do more than just place literature in another discipline’s context.

Interdisciplinary research provides insights into the themes, context, and techniques of texts that cannot be understood using literary disciplinary tools alone. Here are examples of interdisciplinary literary debate topics.

  1. The modern novel and psychology
  2. Architecture in Thomas Hardy’s work
  3. The 19th-century novel and science
  4. Space-age interpretation- The 21st-century literature
  5. The 19th-century poetic imagination and astronomy
  6. Why philosophy is important to literature
  7. Crossing disciplinary boundaries- Archaeology and English literature
  8. How political relations have changed in the novel since 1900
  9. The modern novel and psychology
  10. Self-seeking: Psychology in 21st-century literature
  11. The evolutionary narrative and Darwin
  12. How history is important in deciphering modern literature
  13. Mass distribution and print culture- How do they affect the Renaissance literature?
  14. Sister Arts- Modern painting and literature
  15. Poststructuralist language views and postmodern text

literary research paper topics

Interesting Literature Topics for Children

Authors of children’s literature use humor and imagination. They also use tradition dynamically and sensitively. Consequently, both the British and American literature research topics for children may require a writer to include imagery and complex themes in their work.

This literature can speak to children and adults on separate but intersecting and complementary levels. As such, this kind of work becomes a great source of literary analysis paper topics. Here are some of the best literary argument topics in this category.

  1. Discuss the best children’s novels from 1900
  2. Fabulous beasts- Discuss imagery in Tolkien and J.K Rowling
  3. Discovering Wonderland- Visionary insight and narrative technique in Robert Louis Stevenson’s work
  4. Searching for Utopia in children’s Island Stories
  5. The illustration significance and Beatrix Potter
  6. Animals and their importance in children’s literature
  7. Importance of humor in children’s literature
  8. Fairytale meaning and Hans Christian Anderson
  9. The young artist development and Lucy Maud Montgomery
  10. The sublime, the ridiculous, and Roald Dahl
  11. The adventure story and Enid Blyton
  12. Historical analysis of the children’s literature origin
  13. How important names are in children’s literature
  14. How to help kids learn using storybooks
  15. How to read to under-five children: Developing relationships and imaginations
  16. Books the Victorians read for their kids
  17. The social contexts and importance of reading for children
  18. How young adult literature represents disability

Place and Identity World Literature Research Topics

Place and identity themes are very common in different literary genres and periods. That’s because authors need landscapes for inspiration, as well as, to develop and contextualize their characters. Some of the best literary journalism topics belong to this category. You can also find great poetry topics in this section. Here are examples of place and identity topics.

  1. Travel writing in the 20th-century
  2. Narrative, nature, and verse since 1900
  3. Why place matters to a Romantic poet
  4. Thomas Hardy and the Wessex
  5. How city living portrayal has changed since 1900
  6. Lake District as the setting for poems in the 18th century
  7. The Africa narrative- Desert writing
  8. The Sussex Landscape and D.H Lawrence
  9. The Sea and Dylan Thomas
  10. John Fowles at the Lyme Regis
  11. The beach as a change site in literature
  12. The settler nationhood and the wilderness in North American poetry
  13. Nowhere citizens- Globalization and dislocation after 9/11 fiction
  14. ‘Westward Ho!’ and Charles Kingsley

Students have many options to choose from whether they need British literature research paper topics or American literature topics. We also advise you to learn how to write a book review.


What is a good literary topic for a research paper?

A good literary topic is one you can write about and demonstrate a strong understanding of fine details on the subject. It should also be engaging to the audience and something you can relate to – to convince them easily.

What are literary topics?

Literary topics are writings that the author identifies a theme or a big idea from a text or a book they have read. The author then offers an analytic, interpretive, and critical literacy of how the work should be interpreted.

How to choose a topic for a literary research paper?

The best way to choose a topic for your literary research is through extensive research. Also, you can compare and contrast the choices of different authors or characteristics or choose a reading from a social, political, or economic context.

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