Zakład Dramatu i Dawnej Literatury Angielskiej

dr Piotr Spyra

O mnie


Dr Piotr Spyra specjalizuje się w angielskiej literaturze późnośredniowiecznej oraz renesansowej. Jego rozprawa doktorska poświęcona była utworom z tzw. rękopisu Perły, zaś obecne badania skupiają się na związkach folkloru i literatury w kontekście średniowiecznych romansów rycerskich, ballad ludowych oraz komedii Williama Shakespeare'a. Dr Piotr Spyra pełni funkcję opiekuna naukowego Studenckiego Koła Naukowego im. Geoffreya Chaucera.

Dr Piotr Spyra jest członkiem Pracowni Badań nad Średniowieczną i Renesansową Literaturą Angielską.


Wypromowane prace dyplomowe (

"The Concept of the Green World and the Image of the Forest in As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream"

"The Figure of the Vice and its Development in Renaissance English Drama"

"Manipulation as a Path to Success: the Character of the Duke in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure"

"The Female Predicament in the Carnivalesque Space of Restoration Theatre: The Portrayal of Gender Dynamics in Aphra Behn's The Rover"

"Looking Acutely, Dancing Passionately, and Experiencing a Sense of Otherness: the Visual, the Body and the Other in Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa"

"'Neither at things nor at people should one look': the Gaze Chain in Oscar Wilde's Salome"

"Nightmarish Elements in the Dream Vision of Pearl"



Original and engaging, this study presents the four anonymous poems found in the Cotton Nero MS - Pearl, Cleanness, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - as a composite text with a continuous narrative. While it is widely accepted that the poems attributed to the Pearl-Poet ought to be read together, this book demonstrates that instead of being analyzed as four distinct, though interconnected, textual entities, they ought to be studied as a single literary unit that produces meaning through its own intricate internal structure. Piotr Spyra defines the epistemological thought of Saint Augustine as an interpretive key which, when applied to the composite text of the manuscript, reveals a fabric of thematic continuity. This book ultimately provides the reader with a clear sense of the poet's perspective on the nature of human knowledge as well as its moral implications and with a deeper understanding of how the poems bring the theological and philosophical problems of the Middle Ages to bear on the individual human experience.

  1. "The Terror of the Threshold: Liminality and the Fairies of Sir Orfeo." Leeds Studies in English XLVI (2015): 57-72.
  2. [redakcja] Analyses / Rereadings / Theories Journal 3 (1) 2015. Ed. Piotr Spyra, Joanna Matyjaszczyk and Maciej Wieczorek.
  3. "Chaucer and His Bastard Child: Social Disjunction and Metaliterariness in The Two Noble Kinsmen." Multicultural Shakespeare 12.27 (June 2015): 113-124.
  4. "Pearl, Fitt III ('more and more')." Glossator 9 (2015): 45-60.
  5. "More Motivated Malignity? The Ominous Agenda of the Green Knight in Andrzej Wicher's Translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." Marvels of Reading: Essays in Honour of Professor Andrzej Wicher. Ed. Rafał Borysławski, Anna Czarnowus and Łukasz Neubauer. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, 2015. 175-184.
  6. "Gothic Time and Non-Euclidean Spaces: Temporal Geometries of Terror in the Works of HP Lovecraft." Basic Categories of Fantastic Literature Revisited. Ed. Andrzej Wicher, Piotr Spyra and Joanna Matyjaszczyk. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. 42-56.
  7. The Epistemological Perspective of the Pearl-Poet. Ashgate, 2014.
  8. "Beyond the Garden: on the Erotic in the Vision of the Middle English Pearl." Text Matters 3 (2013): 13-26.
  9. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Faerie Tradition: Castle Hautdesert Revisited." Comparative Studies in Anglophone Literatures: Transnational, Postcolonial and Auto/thematic (re)Considerations and (re)Visions. Ed. Grzegorz Koneczniak. Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Kopernika, 2012. 303-315.
  10. "The God of the Middle English Cleanness and His Erotic Exhortations of Purity." Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 47.4 (2012): 133-145.
  11. [redakcja] The Supernatural, the Fantastic and the Oneiric. Ed. Piotr Spyra & Agata Wachowska. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Biblioteka, 2011.
  12. "The Theatrical Lesson of the Pearl-Poet's Patience." Exploring Space: Spatial Notions in Cultural, Literary and Language Studies; Volume 1: Space in Cultural and Literary Studies. Ed. Andrzej Ciuk and Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. 270-279.
  13. "Clean but impatient: Pearl-poet's Jonah in the face of the Lord." þe comoun peplis language. Ed. Marcin Krygier and Liliana Sikorska. Frankfurt am Mein: Peter Lang, 2009. 147-154.
  14. "Bot wothes mo iwysse ther ware: on the Nightmarish Bliss of the Pearl Vision." PASE Papers 2008. Vol. 2. Studies in Culture and Literature. Ed. Anna Cichoń and Ewa Kębłowska-Ławniczak. Wrocław: ATUT, 2009. 191-197.
  15. "Alfred Tennyson's 'Lancelot and Elaine' and the Orphaned Text: an Insight into Victorian Logocentrism." PASE Papers 2007: Studies in culture and literature. Ed. Wojciech Kalaga, Marzena Kupisz and Jacek Mydla. Katowice: PARA, 2007. 367-376.
  16. "Motyw półkobiecej hybrydy na późnośredniowiecznych i wczesnonowożytnych kaflach". (wspólnie z Wiktorią Długoszewską i Januszem Pietrzakiem). Średniowieczne i nowożytne kafle: regionalizmy - podobieństwa - różnice. Białystok: Muzeum Podlaskie w Białymstoku, 2007. 61-70.
  17. "Victorian Identity and the Linguistic Satan: the Struggle with the Devil in Tennyson's 'Merlin and Vivien.'" In Search of Identity. Ed. Wit Pietrzak and Piotr Spyra. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Biblioteka, 2007. 15-22.
  18. "The Other-side of the River: the Topography of Life and Death in Tennyson's Lady of Shalott." Death in Several Masks. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Biblioteka, 2006. 13-20.

 Book reviews:

"Agents of Narrative Magic: A Review of James Wade's Fairies in Medieval Romance (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011)." Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 48.4 (2013): 79-82.

"A Review of Emma Wilby's The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland (Sussex University Press, 2010)." Analyses / Rereadings / Theories Journal 3 (1) 2015: 29-31.


Reviewer for:

- A/R/T: Analyses/Rereadings/Theories

- Studia Anglica Posnaniensia


Dr Piotr Spyra


Teoria i Metodologia


class 1:

Study questions for Tennyson's "Enoch Arden"

Edwin Morgan's "Warning Poem"

Ezra Pound's "In a Station of the Metro"

Craig Raine's "A Martian Sends a Postcard Home"


class 2:

Roland Barthes - The Death of the Author

William Wordsworth's "Daffodils"

Emily Dickinson's "I heard a fly buzz"


class 3:

Stanley Fish - How to Recognize a Poem When You See One


class 4:

Introduction to Structuralism




California Girls



L4B Tuesdays 3:15 pm

Topics for presentations (the ones already taken):

- 21.03 > The Universe's Shape (about the creation of the universe)

- 28.03 > Salem Witchcraft Trials

- 16.05 > The Devil




Materials for download:

Presentation Skills: short biography of Nikola Tesla

Conversation: Girlfriend Thief

Death (gap filling)

For 'Writing Component 1': Plagiarism


Conversation: Dave Barry on college

Conversation & gap-filling: Charity

Gap-filling: Demonic possession

Conversation: Role of universities

Vocabulary: The Language of Mathematics



Weather forecast vocabulary

Science and religion

British Culture

For 26 April please read two poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson:

- Lady of Shalott




Renaissance English Women

Reformation in England (for 22.03.2017)

Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year (for 29.03.2017)

[read the following fragments: from page 17 ("But I must go back...") to the beginning of p. 24 "... so knew nothing of the matter" and from p. 31 (from "About June the Lord Mayor...") to p. 40 (including this page)]

British philosophy - selections with study questions (for 12.04.2017)


Potraits of British royalty:

1 - young Henry VIII (unknown artist)

2 - Henry VIII (unknown artist)

3 - Henry's family portrait (unknown artist, after an earlier version by Lucas de Heere), c. 1590
(what is the symbolism here, who are the people to the left and to the right?)

4 - Edward VI and the Pope (unknown artist), c. 1575

5 - Elizabeth - the Armada portrait (unknown artist), c. 1588

6 - Elizabeth - the Ditchley portrait (by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger), c. 1592

7 - Elizabeth - the Rainbow portrait (by Isaac Oliver), c. 1600

8 - King James - portrait (by Paul van Somer), c. 1620

9 - Raphael's portrait of Pope Julius, c. 1511 - model for no. 10

10 - portrait of King James (by Daniel Mytens), c. 1621


Sample works by two key figures in British Renaissance art:

11 - Hans Holbein - The Ambassadors (1533)

12 - Nicholas Hilliard - have a look at the portrait miniatures