Dr Anne McDermott BA, PhD

Dr Anne McDermott

Department of English Literature
Reader in English Literature

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I teach across all periods of literature, especially the early modern period and eighteenth century. As a researcher, I work on language and lexicography in the eighteenth century, particularly Johnson’s Dictionary. I also work on eighteenth-century women’s writing and offer a final-year option on this. I am currently working on Pope’s Rape of the Lock.


BA (Birmingham), PhD (Manchester)


I came to Birmingham in 1989 as a Leverhulme Research fellow, having previously completed a PhD at the University of Manchester and worked for a period at the Joint Matriculation Board in Manchester.


I currently convene and teach the second-year module Stories of the Novel' as well as contributing to another second-year module, ‘The Gothic’. In the final year I run an option course on eighteenth-century women’s writing, ‘Viragos, Coquettes and Prudes'.

In addition to this, I teach on the postgraduate module, ‘Writing Revolutions 2'.

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise a student working on Robert James’s A Medicinal Dictionary (1743) but would be very happy to hear from prospective students wishing to work on a range of topics within my research interests.


My research interests are primarily in the areas of eighteenth-century language and literature. My research grew initially out of an interest in the ideas and writings of Samuel Johnson, on which I wrote my doctoral thesis. In 1989 I started on a project to edit Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. The project has been awarded nine research grants by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy and the MHRA. As well as completing the various stages of the Johnson Dictionary Project, I have research interests mainly in the late seventeenth and in the eighteenth century, especially the work of Samuel Johnson. Other active interests include the history of language; lexicography; textual editing; the history of the book; seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophical issues; and women's writing of the eighteenth century. I am currently working towards completing a book on Pope’s Rape of the Lock.

Other activities

I am a member of the advisory board of the Lexicons of Early Modern English [LEME] project based in Toronto, of the editorial board of The Age of Johnson, a scholarly annual, and of the board of c18: Le dix-huitième siècle éléctronique, based in Switzerland at the Centre of Ferney-Voltaire. I also sit on the boards of research projects in both language and literature.

In recent years I have presented papers at international conferences in Oxford and at Harvard, as well as organising a conference at Birmingham.


Ashgate Critical Essays on Early English Lexicographers, Volume 5: The Eighteenth Century (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012)