Dr Stephen Bending

English Department
University of Southampton,
Southampton SO17 1BJ.


Telephone:  023-8059 3411
Email:  sdb2@soton.ac.uk
Room: 2021, Avenue

Research Interests

Stephen Bending took his BA in English and History at the University of Birmingham and his PhD at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He has taught at Cambridge,  Royal Holloway College,  Dundee, Birmingham and Leeds, and has held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard University), The Huntington Library (San Marino, California), the Clark Library (UCLA), and most recently a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2003-4). He has given visiting lectures in Minneapolis, Cambridge and Murcia, and conference papers in Indiana, Odensee, Bordeaux, Berkeley, and Los Angeles amongst others. He has been a Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Southampton since 1997 and became a Senior Lecturer in 2003. He will be returning to Dumbarton Oaks as a Research Fellow in the Spring semester of 2014.

Research Interests

My research continues to focus predominantly on eighteenth-century gardens and culture, the most recent outcome of which is a monograph on women, gardens and the idea of the retirement. Setting itself the question of how elite women inhabit the gardens they create, visit or imagine, it contains chapters entitled: Retirement; Disgrace; Bluestocking Gardens (Elizabeth Montagu); Neighbours in Retreat (Lady Caroline Holland and Lady Mary Coke); Can you not Forgive? (Henrietta Knight, Lady Luxborough); Though very Retired I am very Happy (Miss Weeton).

I am currently working on a book tentatively entitled Imagining the Eighteenth-Century Garden, which draws on French, America Colonial and British gardens in order to ask both what people are told they should do in gardens, and what they might do instead. The first part of this project will appear as an article on the garden-hating populariser of the picturesque, William Gilpin.

Pickering and Chatto Chawton House Library series
With Stephen Bygrave I am the series editor for the Pickering and Chatto Chawton House Library series, which include reset editions of (long) eighteenth-century women's novels, and facsimile editions of women's travel writing and memoirs held in the Chawton House Library collections (if you would like to propose yourself as an editor for a particular novel, or group of travels or memoirs held at Chawton, do please get in touch with me by email: sdb2@soton.ac.uk)

I would be interested in supervising PhD or MRes dissertations in any area of the eighteenth century, but especially on garden history, travel and the country house, antiquarianism, and eighteenth-century fiction.


Green Retreats: Women, Gardens and Eighteenth-Century Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

The History of Gardens in the Age of Enlightenment, ed. Stephen Bending, vol. 4 in A Cultural History of Gardens, ed. John Dixon Hunt and Michael Leslie, 6 vols (Bloomsbury, 2013)

‘Melancholy Amusements: Women, Gardens, and the Depression of Spirits’, in 'Before Depression' special issue of Studies in the Literary Imagination, Fall 2011)

Thomas Day, The History of Sandford and Merton, ed. with Stephen Bygrave, Broadview Literary Texts (Broadview, 2009)

Women’s Travel Writings in Revolutionary France, Parts I & II, ed. with Stephen Bygrave, Chawton House Library Series 7 vols (Pickering and Chatto, 2007-2008)

'Mrs Montagu's Contemplative Bench: Bluestocking gardens and female retirement', Huntington Library Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4, Winter 2006, pp.555-80

'Miserable reflections on the Sorrows of my Life: Letters, Loneliness and Gardening in the 1760s', Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 'Emotions' issue, Vol. 25, No. 1, Spring 2006, pp.31-47

Stephen Bending & Andrew McRae, eds. The Writing of Rural England 1500 to 1800 (Palgrave, 2003)

Dana Arnold & Stephen Bending, eds. Tracing Architecture: the Aesthetics of Antiquarianism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003)

'Every man is naturally an Antiquarian: Francis Grose and polite antiquities', in, Dana Arnold & Stephen Bending, eds. Tracing Architecture: the Aesthetics of Antiquarianism, special issue of Art History, Volume 25, No. 4 (September, 2002)

'Uneasy Sensations: Shenstone, Retirement and Fame', New Arcadian Journal, Volume 53/54 (2002), pp.20-40

Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling, new introduction and notes, with Stephen Bygrave, World’s Classics (Oxford, 2001)

'Pen, plough, and silence of the lambs', Times Higher, 8th June 2001

Horace Walpole, Essai sur L'art des Jardins Modernes, précédé de 'Horace Walpole et l'histoire des jardins au XVIIIe siècle' par Stephen Bending, texte traduit de l'anglais par le duc de Nivernois et sa préface par Daniel Aràsse (Paris: Gerard Montfort, 2000)

'Prospects and Trifles: The Views of William Shenstone and Richard Jago', QWERTY: Arts, Littératures & Civilisations du Monde Anglophone, Vol. 10 (October 2000), pp.125-31

The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey of Prose Fiction Published in the British Isles Volume I, 1770-1799 ed. James Raven, Antonia Forster, with Stephen Bending (Oxford, 2000)

'The Improvement of Arthur Young: Agricultural Technology and the Production of Landscape in Eighteenth-Century England', in Technologies of Landscape: Reaping to Recycling, ed. David Nye (University of Massachusetts Press, 2000), pp. 241-53

'The True Rust of the Barons’ Wars: Gardens, Ruins, and the National Landscape', in Producing the Past: Aspects of Antiquarian Culture and Practice, 1650-1850 ed. Martin Myrone & Lucy Peltz (Ashgate, 1999), pp. 83-93

'One Among the Many: Popular Aesthetics, Polite Culture and the Country House Landscape', in The Country House in Georgian England, ed. Dana Arnold (Alan Sutton Publishing, 1998), pp. 61-78

'A Natural Revolution? Garden Politics in Eighteenth-Century England', in Refiguring Revolutions: British  Politics and Aesthetics, 1642-1789, ed. Kevin Sharpe & Steven Zwicker (University of California Press, 1998), pp. 241-66

'Horace Walpole and Eighteenth-Century Garden History', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 57 (1994), pp. 209-226

'A Bibliography of English Fiction, 1770-1830', in Serials and Their Readers 1620-1914, ed. Robin Myers & Michael Harris (Winchester, & New Castle, Delaware, 1993), pp. xv-xviii

'Re-reading the Eighteenth-Century English Landscape Garden', Huntington Library Quarterly,  55:3 (1992), pp. 379-399

'William Mason’s 'An Essay on the Arrangement of Flowers in Pleasure Grounds'', Journal of Garden History  Vol. 9, No. 4 (1989), pp. 217-220



Undergraduate Courses:
ENGL 3003 Rakes and Libertines
ENGL 2013 Writing Rural England, 1500-1800
ENGL 2025 National Identities in C18th Britain
MA Courses:

C18th Fiction & and the Rise of the Novel

Resources Page for Chawton Eighteenth-Century MA


English Department.
This page by Stephen Bending
Last updated 10.vi.13