Dr Louise Curran BA (Camb), MA, PhD (London)

Photograph of Dr Louise Curran

Department of English Literature
Lecturer in Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century English Literature

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I research eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, especially letter-writing and archive formation, prose style and the development of the novel, authorial reputation and literary celebrity, and the interplay between formal and material aspects of writing.


  • BA (Camb)
  • MA, PhD (London)


I joined the University of Birmingham in 2016 after a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Oxford. I took my BA at Clare College, Cambridge, and completed my MA and doctoral studies at University College London.


I teach the period 1660-1830, as well as survey modules covering fiction up to the present day. I convene, teach, and lecture on a variety of undergraduate courses including: Poetry (Pope, Swift, Montagu); Prose (Defoe and Austen); Restoration to Revolution (from Milton to Pope); Stories of the Novel (on eighteenth-century prose fiction/novels by Behn, Richardson, Fielding, Burney, Sterne); The Gothic (from Horace Walpole to Toni Morrison); and Romantics and Romanticisms (Scott and Austen). I teach third-year options on Jane Austen (covering her teenage writings, major novels, letters, and the afterlife of her fiction in TV and film); book history (‘From Cover to Cover: Histories of the Book’); comic sentimental writing (‘Funny Feelings in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Fiction’); and ‘Evolutions of Popular Literature’ (on Samuel Richardson’s Pamela). I also contribute to the postgraduate course, ‘Approaches to Nineteenth-Century Studies’ (on Austen’s manuscripts and the redrafting of Persuasion).

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome enquiries about research supervision in the following areas: letter-writing and archive formation; literary fame and celebrity; the eighteenth-century novel and prose style; life-writing from the eighteenth-century to the Romantic period; textual editing; eighteenth-century satire.

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research covers the period of the long eighteenth-century, roughly 1680-1830. I am interested particularly in prose style of the period, including prose fiction and the novel but also ephemeral or marginal forms of writing, especially ones that blur the boundary between fact and fiction and public and private, as diaries and letters often do. I am a specialist on eighteenth-century literary letters and archives; as well as a monograph on the epistolary novelist Samuel Richardson and an edition of his correspondence, I have recently written articles on Defoe and Swift as letter-writers.

Samuel Richardson’s Letters: Monograph and Edition

My first book, Samuel Richardson and the Art of Letter-Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2016), examined the links between the novelist’s correspondence, his epistolary novels, and the shaping of his authorial career. As a result of this work, I have recently co-edited (along with George Justice and Sören Hammerschmidt) Richardson’s Correspondence Primarily on Pamela and Clarissa (1732-1749) for Cambridge University Press, which is volume 9 of The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, the first full scholarly edition of his letters.

Letters, Letter-Writing, and Epistolary Novels

I’m currently working on a book which studies the history of literary letter-writing in the period after Alexander Pope’s authorized publication of his correspondence in 1737 until the Romantic era; it’s provisionally entitled The Making of Letters as Literature: 1737-1830. In it I will explore Pope’s influence on concepts of epistolary fame through a series of case studies of letters archives from Swift to Byron, as well as other lesser-known writers. 

I enjoy talking and writing about eighteenth-century fiction for public and expert audiences alike. I have written for the British Library on the history of letters both in fiction and as shaping authorial reputation here. I have also recently completed an Oxford Bibliography on ‘The Eighteenth-Century Novel’, an annotated guide to criticism in this area, which can be found online here.

OUP Edition of Alexander Pope’s letters

Aside from my second monograph, I am also currently involved in a new edition of Alexander Pope’s letters to be published as part of The Oxford Edition of the Writings of Alexander Pope. This edition aims to supplant older versions to become the new standard scholarly version of Pope’s letters.


I have a longstanding interest in the forms of satire that eighteenth-century writers work with and against and am especially interested in the way authors are both inspired by and break away from classical precedent. I have considered the way women writers use a form associated with public address and controversial proclamation to their own (sometimes quieter) literary effect in an essay on satire and portraiture for the Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire.

Other activities

I review articles and books for various publishers and academic journals. I am also a member of the British and American Societies for Eighteenth-Century Studies.


Recent publications


Curran, L 2016, Samuel Richardson and the art of letter writing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge . https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316443330


Curran, L 2023, 'The Form of Samuel Johnson's Letters', Essays in Criticism, vol. 73, no. 2, pp. 156–193. https://doi.org/10.1093/escrit/cgad020

Curran, L 2017, 'Reading Milton in Eighteenth-Century Poetic Miscellanies', Eighteenth Century Life, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 32-55. https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-3695927

Curran, L 2014, 'In Vino Veritas: Samuel Johnson and Drink', The New Rambler, vol. XVII, pp. 72-84.

Curran, L 2013, '“A man obscurely situated”: Samuel Richardson, Autobiography, and “The History of Mrs Beaumont”', Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 279–95.

Curran, L 2011, '‘“Into whosoever Hands our Letters might fall”: Samuel Richardson’s correspondence and “the public Eye”', Eighteenth Century Life, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 51-64.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Curran, L 2015, Gallantry and 'The Rape of the Lock' Reconsidered. in DW Nichol (ed.), Anniversary Essays on Alexander Pope's 'The Rape of the Lock'. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp. 31-52.


Curran, L 2023, Correspondence. in AJ Rivero & G Justice (eds), Daniel Defoe in Context . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , pp. 26-33. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108872140.007

Curran, L 2017, Correspondence. in P Sabor & BA Schellenberg (eds), Samuel Richardson in Context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge , pp. 26-33.

Curran, L 2017, Ordering the Epistolary: Letters or Correspondence? in C Loffman & H Phillips (eds), A Handbook of Editing Early Modern Texts. Material Readings in Early Modern Culture, Routledge.

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Curran, L 2015, Samuel Richardson. in J Lynch & G Day (eds), The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of British Literature and Culture, 1660-1789. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford , pp. 1029-1030.

Other contribution

Curran, L 2022, Eighteenth-century novel. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/OBO/9780199846719-0190

Scholarly edition

Curran, L (ed.), Justice, G (ed.) & Hammerschmidt, S 2023, Correspondence Primarily on ‘Pamela’ and ‘Clarissa’ (1732–1749). The Cambridge Edition of the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge .

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