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Professor John Barrell, MA (Cambridge) PhD (Essex)



John Barrell

Professor John Barrell has published widely on the literature, history and art of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Britain, focusing on language, landscape, law, empire, theories of society and progress, and the theory of painting. His most recent book,Edward Pugh of Ruthin, was published by the University of Wales Press in 2013. He is writing a book on the Irish poet and songwriter Thomas Moore, and another, more slowly, on landscape painting in Britain, 1740-1840. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the English Association, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters of the University of Chicago, an honorary D. Litt, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and in 2014 became an Honorary Fellow of King’s College Cambridge.


In the 2015-16 academic year, John Barrell teaches on:


Research interests:

  • Literature and the visual arts in 18th and early 19th-century Britain
  • Politics and culture in Britain in the period of the French Revolution



Edward Pugh of Ruthin, 1763-1813: A ‘Native Artist’ (University of Wales Press, 2013)

The Spirit of Despotism: Invasions of Privacy in the 1790s (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Imagining the King's Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide 1793-1796 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000)


with Tim Whelan, eds, The Complete Writings of William Fox (Nottingham: Trent Editions, 2011)

with Jon Mee, eds, Trials for Treason and Sedition 1792-1794, 8 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2006-7)

Exhibition Extraordinary!! Radical Broadsides of the Mid 1790s, edited with an introduction and commentary  by John Barrell (Nottingham: Trent Editions, 2001)

Selected Articles and Chapters:

‘On Edward Pugh and Mourning’, in Ashley Marshall, ed., Representation, Heterodoxy, and Aesthetics. Essays in Honour of Ronald Paulson, ed. Ashley Marshall, (Newark DE, University of Delaware Press, 2014)

'Thomas Banks, Sculptor and Radical Activist', in Living with the Royal Academy, ed. J. Barrell, M. Hallett, and S. Monks (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013)

‘May 11 1794’, Bodleian Library Record 24 (2011), 19-23

‘James Barry in the 1790s’, in  James Barry 1741–1806: History Painter, ed. Tom Dunne and William Pressly (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2009), pp. 127-43

‘Thelwall in his own Defence’, in John Thelwall: Radical Romantic and Acquitted Felon, ed. Steven Poole (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2009)

‘Les Relectures de Geoffrey Chaucer par Blake’, in William Blake (1757-1827): Le Génie Visionnaire du Romantisme Anglais, catalogue of the exhibition at the Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, ed. Catherine de Bourgoing (Paris: Paris Musées, 2009), pp. 164-5

‘Rus in Urbe’, in Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland, ed. Philip Connell and Nigel Leask (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 109-27; and in  From Queen Anne to Queen Victoria: Readings in 18th and 19th Century British Literature and Culture, ed. Grazyna Bystydzienska and Emma Harris (Warszawa: Uniwersytet Warszawski/Osrodek Studiow Brytyjskich, 2009), pp. 39-58

‘Radicalism, Visual Culture and Spectacle in the 1790s’, Field Day Review, 4 (2008), pp. 40-61

‘Spectacles for Republicans’, in Sensation and Sensibility: Viewing Gainsborough’s Cottage Door, ed. Ann Bermingham (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, for the Yale Center for British Art and the Huntington Library, 2005), pp. 53-73

‘The Reptile Oculist: on the Trail of John Taylor’, London Review of Books (April 1 2004), pp. 19-25

‘Putting Down the Rising’, in  Scotland and the Borders of Romanticism, ed. Leith Davis, Ian Duncan and Janet Sorensen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 130-8

with Harriet Guest, ‘James Thomson in the 1790s’, in  James Thomson: Essays for the Tercentenary, ed. Richard Terry (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000), pp. 217-46


PhD Supervision

Public engagement

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