Our research in Restoration, Eighteenth Century and Romantics draws on a critical engagement with the literature of the period 1660-1832 that also extends into gender, language and lexicography, the materiality of the text, the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century reception of Shakespeare, and the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century reception of medieval culture.
We have lively interdisciplinary connections with colleagues in history, art history, and languages, brought together in the Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre. We have won major research funding to create two crucial resources for students of the period: the Johnson Dictionary Project and the British Book-Trade Index.
Please see below for a general overview of our research in these areas, and follow the links for more details of topics, themes and the work of individual researchers.
These are some of our major publications relating to Restoration, Eighteenth Century and Romantics:
Hugh Adlington, ‘The Preacher's Plea: Juridical Influence in John Donne's Sermons, 1618-1623’, Prose Studies 26 (2003), 344 - 356
Maureen Bell, ‘Offensive Behaviour in the English Book Trade, 1641-1700’, in Against the Law: Crime, sharp practice and the control of print, ed. R. Myers and G. Mandelbrote (New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press and London: British Library, 2004)
--- and John Hinks, ‘The Book Trade in English Provincial Towns, 1700-1849’, Publishing History 57 (2005), 53-112
--- and D.F. McKenzie, A Chronology and Calendar of Documents Relating to the London Book Trade, 1641-1700, 3 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)
--- ‘Booksellers without an Author, 1627-1685’, in Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works, ed. Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)
David Griffith, ‘The Visual History of Guy of Warwick’, in Guy of Warwick (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2007), pp.110-32
--- ‘Owners and copyists of John Rous's armorial rolls' In Essays in Manuscript Geography: Vernacular Manuscripts of the English West Midlands from the Conquest to the Sixteenth Century, ed. Wendy Scase (Brepols, 2007), pp.203-28
Essaka Joshua, Pygmalion and Galatea: The History of a Narrative in English Literature: The History of a Narrative in English Literature (London: Ashgate, 2001)
--- ‘Charlotte Smith’s Desmond: Romance and the Man of Principle in the Domestic and Public Spheres’, The Eighteenth-Century Novel 5 (2006), 277-319
--- The Romantics and the May-Day Tradition (London: Ashgate, 2007)
Tom Lockwood, ‘The Sheridans at Work: A Recovered Drury Lane Revisal of 1808’, RES 55 (2004), 487-97 (The Review of English Studies Prize Essay)
--- Ben Jonson in the Romantic Age (Oxford University Press, 2005)
--- ‘Manuscript, Print and the Authentic Shakespeare: The Ireland Forgeries Again’, Shakespeare Survey 59 (2006), 108-123
--- ‘The Sheridans at Work Again: The Wallace Manuscript of The Siege of St Quintin ', RES 58 (2007), 89-93
Anne McDermott, ‘Early Dictionaries of English and historical corpora: In search of hard words’, in A Changing World of Words: Studies in Historical Lexicography, Lexicology and Semantics, ed. Javier E. Diaz Vera (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002), pp.197-226
--- ‘The Compilation Methods of Johnson’s Dictionary’, The Age of Johnson 16 (2005), 1-19
--- ‘Johnson the Prescriptivist? The case for the defense’, in Anniversary Essays on Johnson’s Dictionary, ed. Jack Lynch and Anne McDermott (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp.113-28
Sebastian Mitchell, ‘James Thomson’s The Castle of Indolence and the Allegory of Selfhood’, Cambridge Quarterly (2006), 327-44
--- ‘Oliver Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village: Past, present and future’, English (55), 123-39
--- ‘“But cast their eyes on these little wretched beings”: The innocence and experience of children in the late eighteenth century’, New Formations 42 (special issue The Ruins of Childhood, ed. Christine Clegg, Vicky Lebeau and Paul Myerscough), 115-30
Kate Rumbold, ‘"Alas, poor YORICK": Quoting Shakespeare in the Mid-Eighteenth-Century Novel’, Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation 2 (2006)
Valerie Rumbold, Women’s Place in Pope’s World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
--- ‘Milton’s Epic and Pope’s Satyr Play: Paradise Lost in The Dunciad in Four Books’, Milton Quarterly 38 (2004), 138-62
--- ed., Alexander Pope, The Dunciad in Four Books (Harlow: Pearson Longman, 1999)
--- ed. The Poems of Alexander Pope, vol. 3 (containing The Dunciad 1728 and The Dunciad Variorum 1729), Longman Annotated English Poets (Harlow: Pearson Longman, 2007)
Bob Wilcher, The Writing of Royalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
--- ‘“Adventurous song” or “presumptuous folly”: The Problem of “utterance” in John Milton's Paradise Lost and Lucy Hutchinson's Order and Disorder’, The Seventeenth Century 21 (2006), 304-314
--- The Discontented Cavalier: The Work of Sir John Suckling in Its Social, Religious, Political, and Literary Contexts (Newark, Delaware, University of Delaware Press, forthcoming 2008)
Gillian Wright, ‘Epictetus in Eighteenth-Century Wales: Timothy Thomas’ Manuscript Translation of the Enchiridion’, Translation and Literature 14, no. 1 (2005): 45-63
In August 2005 Anne McDermott co-organised the conference ‘Johnson’s Dictionary’ to celebrate the sestercentenary of the Dictionary’s first publication. It took place over five days and in two cities: University of Birmingham (24-25 August) and Pembroke College, Oxford (26-28 August).
Here are just a few of the conferences outside the University at which we have recently given papers:
Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, held in New York City, April 2004 (Wilcher)
Royalists and Royalism: Politics, Religion and Culture, 1640-1660, held at Clare College, Cambridge, July 2004 (Wilcher)
Leviathan to Licensing Act 1650-1737: Theatre, Print and its Contexts, held at Loughborough University, September 2004 (Wright)
Johnson's Dictionary on the 250th anniversary, held at the British Midland Institute, Birmingham, April 2005 (McDermott)
Johnson's Shakespeare/ Shakespeare's Johnson, held at Reno/Lake Tahoe, University of Nevada, April-May 2005 (McDermott)
Still Kissing the Rod? Early Modern Women’s Writing in 2005, held at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, July 2005 (Wright).
Fifth Muenster Symposium on Jonathan Swift, May 2006 (V. Rumbold)
British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, held at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, January 2007 (Mitchell, K. Rumbold, V. Rumbold)
Print Networks: Annual Conference on the History of the British Book Trade, July 2007 (Bell)
‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’: Conversations in Literature, Law and Philosophy from the Reformation to the Present Day, held at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, September 2007 (Adlington)
Scandal and Disgrace in the Early Modern Period, held at the University of Sheffield, September 2007 (Lockwood)
Leisure and the Making of Knowledge in Eighteenth-Century Europe, held at the University of Hamburg, October 2007 (Adlington)
Our MA programmes in English Literature and Text and Book both feature the optional module pair Writing Revolutions 1 and 2, focusing on a range of the changes and developments in writing across the Restoration, Eighteenth Century, and Romantics period. This pair of modules offers students have the opportunity to work on a wide range of authors across the period, and to address such themes such as politics, gender, genre, city and country, patronage and professionalism, and the technologies and mentalities of literary circulation. These modules are ideal for students taking a free-standing taught MA, as well as for students approaching the MA as preparation for a PhD.
Our research draws on exceptional library resources, including the collections of the University’s Special Collections and the Birmingham City Library, both of which have particularly strong collections of printed books and manuscripts from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including materials relating to Birmingham’s outstanding importance as a cultural and intellectual centre in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The University’s Shakespeare Institute also houses much relevant material, especially for the earlier part of the period. We invest seriously in scholarly books and editions for the University library (click here for our library catalogue), and we are committed to subscribing for access to the electronic resources that have recently transformed access to the print record of the period, most notably in this period Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online, both of which feature page-images of printed books as described in the English Short Title Catalogue (formerly the Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue). We also have a very wide range of general resources relevant to the period, such as Literature Online, and a huge range of journals, both in bound copies and online (click here for our library catalogue, and in the ‘collection’ pane, click on ‘periodicals catalogue’).
For more details of specific topics and themes of our research in this period, please click on the links below: