Dr Sebastian Mitchell BA Ph.D PG.Cert.LTHE

 

Lecturer in English Literature

Department of English Literature

Photograph of Dr Sebastian Mitchell

Contact details

155 Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Qualifications

I have a BA (English and European Literature) from the University of Essex, a PhD from the University of Southampton (Literature), and a postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching in higher education from the University of Birmingham.

Biography

I joined the English Department in 2006. I am acting Head of Sudent Development and Support forthe School of English, Drama, and American and Canadian Studies. I convene the second-year module, 'Plato to the Postmodern: Theories Literature and Art', and the third-year undergraduate literature dissertations and research projects; and I have overall responsibility for the Joint Honours Literature provision in the English department.  

Teaching

Selected modules:

  • Writing Revolutions, 1680–1830 (MA)
  • Discourse of the Passions: eighteenth-century sentimental writing (level H)
  • Utopia and its Discontents (level H)
  • Literature and the Asylum (level I/H)
  • Introduction to Literature (level C)
  • Generic Transformations, 1580–1780 (level I)
  • From Romanticism to Modernism: English Literature 1800–1930 (level I/H)
  • Literature of Selfhood: explorations of identity in narrative fiction from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century (level C)
  • Literature in the Metropolis (urban fiction from London and New York) (level C)
  • The Scottish Enlightenment: An Introduction (day schools)
  • Plato to the Postmodern: Theories of Literature and Art (Level I)

Postgraduate supervision

I supervise MPhil and PhD students on a range of literary and cross-disciplinary subjects and would welcome applications in the following areas:

  • Eighteenth-century literature and culture with respect to questions of national and personal identity
  • Eighteenth-century aesthetic thought
  • Utopian writing

Research

My main research area is the relationship of literature and art in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I have a recent monograph on this topic, Visions of Britain, 1730–1830: Anglo-Scottish Writing and Representation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). The study has been short-listed for the Saltire Society award for Research Book of the Year 2013, and nominated for the James Russell Lowell Prize, MLA, 2014. A long article on contemporary depictions of the Celtic bard Ossian appeared in a special edition of the journal Translation and Literature in September 2013. I’m currently writing a study of projections of ideal communities for Bloomsbury Academic, entitled Utopia and its Discontents,  to be published in 2015.

Research groups

I am a member of the department's Restoration, Eighteenth Century, and Romanticism research group, and the College of Arts and Law impact action group.

Other activities

I undertake a range of executive and administrative responsibilities in the deparment. Externally, I provide assessments on the literary significance of eighteenth-century paintings for both commercial and public galleries.I am a member of BSECS (British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies), serving on the executive 1999-2003; and I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Conferences

I regularly deliver conference papers at in the United Kingdom and abroad. I spoke at the commemorative conference for Bernard Mandeville at Coimbra University in Portugal in November 2013, at BSECS (Conferrence of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies) in Oxford in January 2014, at ASECS (Conference of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies) in Williamsburg, VA in March 2014. I will be speaking at a colloquium on Anglo-Scottish migration in Mnachester in June, and giving a paper at the World Congress of Scottish Literatures in Glasgow in July 2014.

Publications

 
  • 'Celtic Postmodernism: Ossian and Contemporary Art', Translation and Literature 22 (2013), 402–35
  • Visions of Britain, 1730–1830: Anglo-Scottish Writing and Representation (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), shortlisted Saltire Society Research Book of the Year, 2013, nominated James Russell Lowell Prize, MLA, 2014
  • ‘Macpherson, Ossian, and Homer’s Iliad’, in Ossian and National Epic, ed. by Gerald Bär and Howard Gaskill (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2012), pp. 55–73
  • ‘James Thomson’s Picture Collection and British History Painting’, Journal of the History of Collections, 23 (2011), 153–64 (with a catalogue of Thomson’s pictures as an appendix)
  • ‘Ossian and Ossianic Parallelism in James Barry's Works', Eighteenth-Century Ireland , 23 (2008), 94–120
  • ‘Dark Interpreter: Literary Uses of the Brocken Spectre from Coleridge to Pynchon', Dalhousie Review, 87 (2007), 167–87
  • ‘Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Village: Past, Present, and Future', English 55 (2006), 123–40
  • ‘Socratic Dialogue, the Humanities and the Art of the Question', Arts and Humanities in Higher Education: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 5 (2006), 181–98
  • ‘James Thomson's The Castle of Indolence and the Allegory of Selfhood', The Cambridge Quarterly, 35 (2006), 327–44
  • ‘“But cast their eyes on these little wretched beings”: The Innocence and Experience of Poor Children in the Late Eighteenth Century', New Formations , 41 (2001), 11530
  • ‘James Macpherson's Ossian and the Empire of Sentiment', British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 22 (1999), 155‒71
  • ‘Revolution in the Garden: English Literature in the Information Age', in Innovations in Teaching and Assessing English and Textual Studies (Cambridge: SEDA, 1999), 97‒120
  • ‘Literature and Ethics: The Uses of English in Higher Education' in Proceedings of the Conference of the Higher Education Arts Network (Milton Keynes: The Open University, 1998), 26‒37
  • Dombey and Son: Families and Commerce' and ‘Dombey and Son: Industry and Empire' in The Nineteenth-Century Novel, ed. by Delia da Sousa Correa (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 136‒58, and pp. 159‒85

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