Simon Clewes

Photograph of Simon Clewes

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher
Teaching Assistant

Contact details

PhD title: Queer Desire, Queer Love, and Queer Families in the Writing of William Godwin and his Circle
Supervisors: Professor Rebecca Mitchell, Dr Matthew Ward and Dr Charlotte Ross
PhD English Literature


  • MRes Sexuality and Gender Studies (UoB, thesis passed without corrections)
  • BA English and American Literatures (University of Keele, first class honours)


I began my research at Birmingham in 2018, having been granted full funding by the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. Previously, I completed an MRes in Sexuality and Gender Studies at Birmingham, a BA (Hons) in English and American Literatures at Keele University, and a Diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ. I am currently co-editing a special issue journal with Romanticism on the Net, working as a digital editor for COVE (the Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education), and have previously worked as a Teaching Associate at Birmingham. My work has been, and is due to be, published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Romanticism on the Net and European Romantic Review.


In 2021 I taught on the second-year English Literature module 'The Gothic' at Birmingham, and I was subsequently invited to teach on the 'Women's Writing' first-year module in 2022.


My research examines prefigurations of queer theory and trans studies within the radical, post-Revolutionary fiction of William Godwin. Focusing on the relationship between the personal and the political, and the intimate and the public, I explore the queerness of the Godwinian novel and the queer influence Godwin had on his writing circle, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Joanna Baillie, Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, William Godwin Jr., and Edward Bulwer-Lytton. I define and explore such queerness as the diverse, alternative modes of desire, love, and/or family that challenge the bind of procreative sexuality, gender binaries, and traditional forms of kinship, uncovering how Godwin’s revisionist challenges to patriarchal governmental regimes can be read as a challenge to the dominant heteronormative order.

Other activities

I have delivered numerous conference papers over the past two years (including the British Association for Romantic Studies, University of York Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, OUTing the Past, and Midlands4Cities Research Festival), with a forthcoming paper due to be presented at the Annual North American Society for the Study of Romanticism conference in 2022. In 2021, I co-organised the international, PGR/ECR 'Romantic Reputations' virtual conference, funded by Midlands4Cities.


  • Clewes, Simon. "Beyond Binarisms: William Godwin, the Materiality of the Body, and Expanding the AFAB/AMAB Dichotomy." European Romantic Review, forthcoming.
  • Clewes, Simon and Amy Wilcockson. “Romantic Reputations: New Approaches to Romantic Study.” Romanticism on the Net, forthcoming.
  • Clewes, Simon. “‘Albert’s soul looked forth from the organs of Madeline’: Anticipating Transness in William Godwin Jr.’s Transfusion.” Romanticism on the Net, no. 76, Spring 2021.

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