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17th and 18th Century Literature and Culture

Henry Fielding 'Joseph Andrews/Shamela,' ed. Judith Hawley, cover detailBrandenburgh HouseLawrence Sterne, image courtesy of BBC In Our Time, featuring Judith Hawleydetail from 'An audience watching a play at drury lane theatre,' by Thomas Rowlandson, 1785

Click for 17th and 18th Century Literature and Culture research outputs 

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were both turbulent and polite; it was an age of virtuosos and pretenders; of libertinism and enlightenment, of reason and romanticism. It witnessed the rise of the novel, the birth of the modern encyclopaedia, the cult of sensibility and the crafting of some of the sharpest satire in English.

The long eighteenth century stretches from 1660-1830: from the counter-revolution of the Restoration to the era of Revolutions and Romanticism. Our research encompasses some of those dichotomies: Dr McGirr works on Colley Cibber, while Professor Hawley is writing on his enemies, the Scriblerus Club. We are also collaborating on a major interdisciplinary project 'What Signifies a Theatre?' which aims to uncover and revive the practice of private theatricals and amateur performance in domestic spaces.  Other specialisms include Spencer, Scott and sculpture. 

We welcome applications for PhDs in most areas of study in the long eighteenth century, especially gender, politics, theatre history, romanticism, aesthetics, learning and literature and literary coteries.

Staff and Areas of Expertise

Professor Judith Hawley (Professor of eighteenth-century literature): Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, Literature and Science, women writers of the long eighteenth century.


Dr Deana Rankin (Lecturer (English & Drama)): Shakespeare, Seventeenth-Century drama, Classical Republicanism, Swift, Irish Studies.


Professor Adam Roberts (Professor and Director of Graduate Studies (PGT)): Romanticism, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Creative Writing.


Dr Vicky Greenaway (Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature): Romanticism, Victorian literature and sculpture.


Dr James Smith (Lecturer in English Literature, 1660-1780): Samuel Richardson and other eighteenth-century novelists, the reception of Shakespeare in the eighteenth century, theoretical approaches to the eighteenth century.

Current Postgraduate Research Students 

Click here to see details of our current postgraduate research students in 17th and 18th Century Literature and Culture

Selected Publications

Judith Hawley, ‘Tristram Shandy and Digression’, in Digression in European Literature from Cervantes to Sebald, eds Alexis Grohmann and Caragh Wells (Macmillan, 2011), pp. 21-35.

Judith Hawley, Elizabeth Carter and Modes of Knowledge’, in Woman to Woman: Female Negotiations During the Long Eighteenth Century, eds Angela Escott, Louise Duckling and Carolyn Williams(Delaware: Delaware University Press, 2010), pp. 157-70.

Judith Hawley, 'Tristram Shandy, Learned Wit, and Enlightenment Knowledge', in The Cambridge Companion to Laurence Sterne, ed. Thomas Keymer (CUP, 2009), pp. 34-48.

Judith Hawley, ‘Encyclopaedias after the French Revolution’, in Ordering the World in the Eighteenth Centuryedited by Diana Donald and Frank O’Gorman (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), pp. 216-43.

Judith Hawley, 'Shakespearean Sensibilities: Women Writers Reading Shakespeare, 1753-1808', in Shakespearean Continuities: Essays in Honour of EAJ Honigmann, edited by Claire Lamont, Tom Cain, and John Batchelor (Macmillan, 1997), 290-304.

Elaine McGirr, 'Why Lovelace Must Die', in NOVEL 37.1/2 (2004): 1-22.


Elizabeth Carter, Selected Works, ed. Judith Hawley in Bluestocking Feminism: Writings of the Bluestocking Circle, 1738-1790, gen. ed. Gary Kelly (Pickering & Chatto, 1999)

Jane Collier, The Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (1753), ed. Judith Hawley (Routledge/Thoemmes, 1994)

Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews and Shamela, ed. Judith Hawley (Penguin, 1999)

Literature and Science, 1660-1832, ed. and intro. vols. 1 & 5, Judith Hawley (Pickering & Chatto, 2002-2003)

Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandyintr. Judith Hawley (Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2005)

Selected Conference Papers

Judith Hawley, ‘Clubbing Together: Swift and the Scriblerus Club’, a Paper for the Panel: ‘Jonathan Swift and His Circle VII’, Chair Donald C. Mell, American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies annual conference, Albuquerque, 18-21 March 2010. 

Judith Hawley, 'Taste and Toasts in Early Eighteenth-Century Club Culture’, an invited paper given at ‘Taste in the Eighteenth Century’, Seventh Landau-Paris Symposium on the Eighteenth Century (LAPASEC), October 22-24, 2009, Universität Koblenz-Landau.

Judith Hawley, ‘“Twisting and untwisting the same rope”: Plagiarism and the Eighteenth-Century Encyclopedia’, a paper given on a Panel sponsored by the Bibliographical Society of America at a conference of The Society for the History of Authors Readers and Publishers, Oxford Brookes, 24-28 June 2008.

Judith Hawley, ‘Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy rewrite The History of England’, a paper delivered at the David Nicholl Smith international conference in Otago, NZ in April 2007. (I was awarded £800 towards travel expenses from the British Academy.)

Judith Hawley, ‘Tristram Shandy, Learned Wit, and Enlightenment Knowledge’, a paper delivered at a meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Montreal, March 2006.

Judith Hawley, 'Emily Dickinson, Bluestockings, and a Choice of Life', Emily Dickinson International Society Conference, Hawaii (July, 2004)

Judith Hawley, 'Sterne and the Cyclopaedia Revisited', the Western Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, San Francisco (February, 2004)

Judith Hawley, 'Romantic Patronage', Women's Writing in Britain, Chawton House (July, 2003)

Elaine McGirr, "Mr. Bayes's New-Rais'd Troops": The Rehearsal as anti-Jacobite propaganda, British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of Oxford (January 2003)

Elaine McGirr, 'Restoration Drama after the 1737 Licensing Act', Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies, New Orleans (November 2000)


Shipboard Theatricals     Current Postgraduate students: 17th         and 18th Century Literature and Culture


Deana Rankin 'Between Spenser and Swift' cover


Fielding - Joseph Andrews and Shamela 

Eighteenth-Century Characters


Heroic Mode 

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