R. J. Ellis is Professor of American Literature at the University of Birmingham, UK. His central interests are located in the fields of Critical & Cultural Theory and American Studies. His main fields of research are the Beats and Beat Writing, African American Literature and Cultures and Little Magazine publishing. His research into the Beats has given rise to numerous publications, and is rooted in the process he helped to develop of resisting an approach to their work centred upon relating their writing to their personal biographies, and instead focusing on relating their writing and their poetic and prosodic strategies to their historical and cultural contexts in close detail – an approach formulated in the early Seventies and developed, for example, in his 1988 article on Grove Press and the laws of obscenity (focusing on Burroughs), his 1996 article on Ferlinghetti and the Cuban crisis, his 1999 book on Kerouac (Liar! Liar! ) and his article on Kerouac and literary scandal (2006).