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. "Simul iustus et peccator: The Theological Significance of Shifts of Perspective in the Middle English Cleanness and Patience." Parergon 35.1 (2018): 61-78.
  2. "Shakespeare and the Demonization of Fairies." Text Matters 7 (2017): 194-213.
  3. "Ben Jonson's The Alchemist: The Essential Guide to Early Modern Fairy Belief." Folklore 128.3 (2017): 292-313.
  4. "The Discourse of Fairyland in the Dream Vision of the Middle English Pearl." The Light of Life: Essays in Honour of Professor Barbara Kowalik. Ed. Maria Błaszkiewicz and Łukasz Neubauer. Kraków: Libron, 2017. 93-108.
  5. "The Terror of the Threshold: Liminality and the Fairies of Sir Orfeo." Leeds Studies in English XLVI (2015): 57-72.
  6. [redakcja] Analyses / Rereadings / Theories Journal 3 (1) 2015. Ed. Piotr Spyra, Joanna Matyjaszczyk and Maciej Wieczorek.
  7. "Chaucer and His Bastard Child: Social Disjunction and Metaliterariness in The Two Noble Kinsmen." Multicultural Shakespeare 12.27 (June 2015): 113-124.
  8. "Pearl, Fitt III ('more and more')." Glossator 9 (2015): 45-60.
  9. "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.
  10. "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.
  11. The Epistemological Perspective of the Pearl-Poet. Ashgate, 2014.
  12. "Beyond the Garden: on the Erotic in the Vision of the Middle English Pearl." Text Matters 3 (2013): 13-26.
  13. "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.
  14. "The God of the Middle English Cleanness and His Erotic Exhortations of Purity." Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 47.4 (2012): 133-145.
  15. [redakcja] The Supernatural, the Fantastic and the Oneiric. Ed. Piotr Spyra & Agata Wachowska. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Biblioteka, 2011.
  16. "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.
  17. "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.
  18. "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.
  19. "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.
  20. "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.
  21. "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.
  22. "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:

"God and the Gawain-Poet: Theology and Genre in Pearl, Cleanness, Patience and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Cecilia A. Hatt (review)." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 117.1 (2018): 127-30.

"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.

"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.


Peer-reviewer for:

- Studies in the Age of Chaucer

- Parergon

- Journal of Medieval Religious Cultures

- Palgrave Communications

- Studia Anglica Posnaniensia

- Multicultural Shakespeare

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


Dr Piotr Spyra


Wstęp do literaturoznawstwa



class 1:

Study questions for Tennyson's "Enoch Arden"

Edwin Morgan's "Warning Poem"

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


class 2:

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

John Donne - "The Flea"

George Herbert - "The Altar"


class 3:

William Shakespeare - sonnet 18

John Keats - "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"


class 4:

Prose passages to read


class 5:

Roland Barthes - The Death of the Author

William Wordsworth's "Daffodils"

Emily Dickinson's "I heard a fly buzz"

P. B. Shelley - "Ozymandias"


class 6:

William Carlos Williams - "This is Just to Say"

William Carlos Williams - "The Red Wheelbarrow"

Kenneth Koch - "Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams"

Robert Frost - "Out, Out"


class 7:

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

William Blake - London


class 8:

Introduction to Structuralism


Final class:

The Tempest (fragments)


Information about the final test

Final grades


Listening and Conversation class (L4B and foreign exchange students)

Syllabus for Erasmus and Mobility students -  please note that the order of additional tasks may be different in each group.

Presentations should be based on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time

Topics chosen by students will be posted right here for others to see.


Materials for download:

Presentation Skills: short biography of Nikola Tesla

Conversation: Girlfriend Thief

Death (gap filling)

For 'Writing Component 1': Plagiarism

16 personalities quiz


Conversation: Dave Barry on college

Conversation & gap-filling: Charity

Gap-filling: Demonic possession

Conversation: Role of universities

Vocabulary: The Language of Mathematics (with key)

The Language of Chemistry and Physics



Weather forecast vocabulary

Science and religion


Wikipedia referencing exercise


Przedmiot orientujący (II BA) 

Essay topics (c. 1500 words):

1) Compare and contrast any two Christian denominations.
2) Discuss the anti-Catholic nature of a broadside of your choice from UCSB English Broadside Ballad Archive.
3) Explain how and why one (or more) of the religious poems from the syllabus may be interesting for a non-believer.
4) On the basis of King James's Daemonologie, please explain the differences and similarities between necromancy and witchcraft (make sure you read the entire treatise).

Please note that any instance of plagiarism leads to a failing grade. Failing grades resulting from plagiarism are final.

The deadline is January 14. Please send your essays via email.

Wstęp do literaturoznawstwa (I BA)