- Primary position:
I have previously taught at Keele University and held a Senior Research Fellowship at Sheffield Hallam University, working with the Corvey Project on Romantic-Era Women’s Writing. In 2005 I came to Southampton as Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature, with responsibilities for developing the link with Chawton House Library, a centre for the study of early women’s writing with a unique collection of rare books. I teach undergraduate and MA courses based at Chawton and Southampton. I have supervised PhD research on Jane Austen, ‘Monk’ Lewis and Gothic theatre, the novels of Lady Caroline Lamb, British national identity in the 18th century, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s fiction.
As well as publishing extensively on eighteenth-century fiction (see 'Publications'), gothic fiction and writing by women, I have also broadcast on these subjects. Broadcasts include:
The Birth of the British Novel, BBC4, broadcast 17 February 2011. Interviewed by Henry Hitchings on Frances Burney at Chawton House Library.
How Reading Made Us Modern, BBC4, broadcast 11th February 2009. Interviewed by John Mullan on women's reading in the eighteenth century at Chawton House Library.
In Our Time: Gothic, Radio 4, 4 January, 2001. Melvyn Bragg talks to Chris Baldick, Emma Clery and A.N. Wilson
The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)
I am currently completing a study of a key episode in Romantic literary history: the publication in 1812 of a powerful protest poem, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, by Anna Letitia Barbauld, then regarded as one of the greatest modern British poets. At the time, at a lowpoint in the war against Napoleon, it was taken as a message of defeatism and duly savaged in the loyalist press. The myth arose that a review of the poem in the Quarterly Review, anonymously authored by the Tory politician John Wilson Croker, ended Barbauld's long and previously illustrious career. A central aim of the book is the overturning of this myth. It will involve a fundamental reappraisal of the context, form, content and reception of the poem, with implications for the study of the politics of poetry more generally in the era of Revolution.
I am also continuing to work on Jane Austen, with a focus on her place in Regency print culture.
My interests include the development of the novel in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and the novels of Jane Austen in particular; women's writing in all genres; Gothic literature in all genres; gender history, especially representations of masculinity; political economy and literature; reception theory and the history of the book. I would be happy to offer research supervision in any of these areas and on other aspects of 18th and early 19th century literature and culture.
I am currently supervising PhD research on the following topics:
- The Illustration of Novels by Women Writers 1690-1740 (funded by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award and co-supervised at Chawton House Library)
- Defining the Maternal Imagination 1700-1800
- Free Indirect Speech in the Work of Jane Austen
- Young Adult Readers and Gothic Literature