My primary research focus is on British Romantic literature and its European connections, in particular the work of Henry Crabb Robinson (1775–1867) and William Hazlitt (1778–1830). I completed my PhD in English Literature at Queen Mary University of London, where I am still a Visiting Fellow. My doctoral research on Crabb Robinson was funded by a full studentship from the British Arts and Humanities Research Council and Queen Mary, and supervised by Professor Paul Hamilton and Professor Isabel Rivers. I subsequently won a postdoctoral fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which I carried out at the University of Hamburg between 2015 and 2019. The fellowship encompassed the editing of Crabb Robinson’s early diaries (1790–1810) for the international, interdisciplinary Crabb Robinson Editorial Project. In the light of this editorial work, I revised and substantiated my doctoral dissertation for publication as a monograph. The book was published by Liverpool University Press under the title Henry Crabb Robinson: Romantic Comparatist, 1790–1811 in 2020. (Please click here for the publisher’s website or download the flyer, which contains a 30% discount code.) I have also published numerous articles on Crabb Robinson and related subjects in British, American, Czech, Danish, and German research outlets. You can find out more about these pieces, and access many of them in full and for free, under Publications.
My edition entitled The Early Diaries of Henry Crabb Robinson is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. It encompasses Crabb Robinson’s fifteen hitherto unpublished pocket diaries, memoranda, a travel diary, and one notebook from before 1811, the year he commenced his main Diary. Among many other things, these early pocket diaries testify to the depth of Crabb Robinson’s autodidactic reading during his teenage years at Colchester (as a Protestant Dissenter, he was barred from the English universities); give an intriguing account of his years in Germany (1800–05) and encounters with German literature, philosophy, and culture; testify to his central position in London’s literary circles after his return to England; tell the story of his deployments as a war correspondent to Altona and Corunna in 1807 and 1808/9, respectively; give details of his visits to William Blake’s exhibitions and his dissemination of Blake’s poetry; and disclose the beginning of many of his most significant literary friendships, for instance with William Wordsworth, Mary and Charles Lamb, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The edition is 300,000 words long, and comprises substantial passages in shorthand, many of which I have decoded for the first time.
I am also, with James Whitehead at Liverpool John Moores University, assistant editor of The Hazlitt Review, as well as a committee member of the London-based Hazlitt Society. In these roles, I invite journal articles and conference contributions, liaise with authors and speakers, and conduct journal proofing and conference organisation. Hazlitt is the focus of one of my book chapters as well as several of my articles, book reviews, and further miscellaneous publications.
More recently, I have begun to work on twentieth-century English literature, in particular about the East End of London, the working class, and migration.
I have presented (and will present) my research at the following conferences and research seminars:
- Invited, July 2022: ‘British Romanticism and Europe’, Monte Verità conference centre, Ascona, Ticino, Switzerland, conference paper on Henry Crabb Robinson, Schiller’s letters On the Aesthetic Education of Man, and the Athenaeum of the Schlegel brothers.
- Invited, 18–19 June 2021: ‘British “Fictions of Class” since 1945 – Revitalising Class in the Twenty-First Century’, University of Siegen, conference paper: ‘Narratives of Class in the East-End Novel from Willy Goldman to Emanuel Litvinoff’.
- 15 November 2019: paper at the Southampton–Hamburg Annual Research Symposium, University of Southampton: ‘“unmixed beauty & perfect equanimity is an Ideal & as such […] unattainable”: Henry Crabb Robinson on literary ethics and cognition’.
- 22 March 2019: paper at the inaugural Anglo-German Encounters and Transfers Colloquium, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge: ‘Prosody and morality: Herder, Wordsworth, and Crabb Robinson’.
- Visiting lectures and research seminars on the Henry Crabb Robinson Editorial Project at the universities of Lund, Sweden (16 May 2018), Ghent, Belgium (11 October 2018), and Hamburg, Germany (18 November 2019).
- 13 April 2018: paper at the symposium of the London–Paris Romanticism Seminar, École Normale Supérieure, Paris: ‘Alien citizen’, ‘unofficial statesman’, ‘Diogenes of Paris’: Gustav von Schlabrendorf and Henry Crabb Robinson’s transmission of his work’.
- 16 February 2018: joint seminar (with James Vigus), The London–Paris Romanticism Seminar, School of Advanced Study, University of London: ‘Critical Dissemination: Kant, Hazlitt, and Crabb Robinson’.
- 30 July 2017, paper at the British Association for Romantic Studies’ biannual conference, ‘Romantic Improvement’, University of York: ‘Informal Improvement: Henry Crabb Robinson’s autodidacticism and its influence’.
- 11 May 2017, paper at the international four-day conference ‘The Lost Romantics’, University of Vechta, Germany: ‘Henry Crabb Robinson on other lost Romantics’.
- 17 September 2016, paper at the Hazlitt Day School, University College London: ‘“Thelwall the orator & W. Hazlitt the thinker”: 1806 through Crabb Robinson’s eyes’.
- 8 January 2016, paper at the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies annual conference, St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford: ‘Literature and Religion in Crabb Robinson’s Early Diaries’.
- 15 May 2015, paper at the symposium ‘Religion and Literature in the Long Eighteenth Century: Approaches to Genre, Form, and Reading Practice’ at Chawton House Library: ‘Building “castles of Reform – very airy indeed”: how Crabb Robinson fought the law’.
- 14 September 2013, introduction and chairing of the Annual Hazlitt Lecture given by Professor Peter Thomson at University College London.
- 17 November 2012, paper at the Charles Lamb Study Day, Swedenborg Hall, London, entitled ‘Beyond whist sobriety: the Lambs, Crabb Robinson, and their discourse on literature’.
- 9 June 2012, paper at the Hazlitt Day School, University College London: ‘The “good hater” and “A Hazlitt-Hater”? Hazlitt, Crabb Robinson, and the truth of sentiment’.
- 8 February 2012, Seminar in Dissenting Studies, Dr Williams’s Library, one-hour lecture: ‘Henry Crabb Robinson on Metaphysics, Science, and Literature’.
- 7 September 2011, paper, funded by the German Exzellenzinitiative, at the ‘Informal Romanticism’ conference, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich: ‘Reconstructing the Voice of the Mediator: Henry Crabb Robinson’s Literary Criticism’.