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Miss Rebecca L James BA, MA

Postgraduate Researcher in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Miss Rebecca L James's photo

Rebecca James is a Postgraduate Researcher in Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Southampton and co-supervised at Cardiff University.

I am interested in the literature of pirates and piracy, the literature and contexts of the early eighteenth century, book history, and the way in which texts transform across editions and time.

I completed my BA in English at the University of Southampton in 2014. During my undergraduate study I was introduced to the world of pirate literature by ‘Swashbucklers, Cut-throats, Revolutionaries: Five Hundred Years of Pirates in English Literature’, which fostered my interest in the literature of pirates and piracy, while a number of other modules cemented my interest in the eighteenth century. I then continued my studies at Southampton, undertaking the MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies part time, and graduated in 2016.

In January 2017 I began my PhD research project, funded by the AHRC’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. I am co-supervised by Doctor Stephanie Jones at University of Southampton, and Professor Martin Kayman at Cardiff University. My project, ‘The Pirate and his Fellows: Reading Editions of A General History of the Pyrates, 1724 – 1734’, examines how the figure of the pirate is constructed in the early life of one of the most influential texts about pirates published in the early eighteenth century, Captain Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates. I compare across editions to interrogate how the changing representations of captaincy and fellowship construct the literary figure of the pirate in this text that is frequently used as a source of pirate history.

In January 2017 I co-founded the South, West, and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster magazine, Gendered Voices. This online publication aims to make the research of doctoral researchers available to wider audiences. I acted as the design editor for the first two issues, and as the editor-in-chief and design editor for the third and fourth issues. You can find the publications online here.

I am also a co-convenor of the Southampton Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies Research Forum, which organises a monthly seminar series where staff and research students share their research. 

Research interests

My research focuses on how changes across editions of an early eighteenth-century text impact our reading of the pirate as a literary figure. I am interested in the literature of pirates and piracy, the literature and contexts of the early eighteenth century, book history, and the way in which texts transform across editions and time periods.

PhD research

My PhD research project, ‘The Pirate and his Fellows: Reading Editions of A General History of the Pyrates, 1724 – 1734’, examines how the figure of the pirate is constructed in the early life of one of the most influential texts about pirates published in the early eighteenth century, Captain Charles Johnson’s A General History of the Pyrates. I compare across editions to interrogate how the changing representations of captaincy and fellowship construct the literary figure of the pirate in this text that is frequently used as a source of pirate history. This project is funded by the AHRC’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Affiliate research group

Southampton Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies

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In semester two of the 2019-2020 academic year I taught as a seminar leader on the first year English undergraduate module, Literary Transformations. I taught in person and online in this period.

Miss Rebecca L James
Student Office, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom
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