Dr James Vigus, BA MPhil PhD (Cambridge)
Senior Lecturer in Romanticism
I studied at Cambridge as an undergraduate and PhD student, completing my dissertation on Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 2006. I then went to Germany to pursue a postdoctoral project tracking the intellectual and pedestrian journey of Henry Crabb Robinson in that country at the beginning of the nineteenth century. After three years at the Institute of Philosophy at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, I moved to the Department of English and American Studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. I joined Queen Mary in September 2012. I co-directed the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies from 2013 to 2015. I am a member of the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English, launched in January 2016. Alongside my academic publications I’ve written some books on chess, at which I hold the title of FIDE master.
My teaching is mainly focused on the Romantic period but, mirroring my research interests, takes in the ‘long eighteenth century’ (roughly 1660-1830). I like to encourage a combination of close-reading of primary texts, and the study of literature in the historical context of philosophical and social ideas.
In the 2016 - 17 academic year, I am teaching on:
- ESH230: Women Writing in the Romantic Period
- ESH286: Romantics and Revolutionaries
- ESH396: Romantic Travellers in Europe
In the 2016-17 academic year, I am teaching on:
- British and European Romantic literature and philosophy
- Religious Dissent
- Autobiography in the long eighteenth century, in prose and verse
- Henry Crabb Robinson
Recent and On-Going Research
I research the literature and philosophy of the period of European Romanticism, especially the early reception of German thought in Britain, with particular focus on Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Henry Crabb Robinson. I am co-series editor of the Henry Crabb Robinson Project. I am working with Timothy Whelan (Georgia Southern) and a team of specialist editors to prepare a critical edition of Robinson’s Reminiscences and Diary, held in manuscript at Dr Williams’s Library, for publication with Oxford University Press. The Project is introduced in my blog post on the School of English and Drama website. The Project is affiliated with the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English. I have special responsibility for the topic ‘Crabb Robinson and Germany’, having published a critical edition of Robinson’s Essays on Kant, Schelling, and German Aesthetics (MHRA, 2010) and contextualised Robinson’s philosophical development in publications such as my essay collection (edited with Helmut Hühn, Jena) Symbol and Intuition: Comparative Studies in Kantian and Romantic-Period Aesthetics (Legenda, 2013). My reconstruction of Robinson’s previously little-known erudition in the field of aesthetics sprang from comparison with the prose works of Coleridge, which I analysed in relation to ancient Greek and modern German sources in Platonic Coleridge (Legenda, 2009).
From these core interests I have branched out into publications on topics such as the impact of Coleridge’s work on subsequent literary culture (Coleridge’s Afterlives, ed. with Jane Wright, Palgrave 2008) and Anglo-German interpretations and adaptations of the forms of humour in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (Shandean Humour in English and German Literature and Philosophy, ed. with Kathleen M. Wheeler and Klaus Vieweg, Legenda 2013). Other topics within long eighteenth-century and dissenting studies that I have addressed in articles and chapters include: the views of George Fox, founder of Quakerism, on animals; the interpretation of Thomas Taylor the Platonist’s Vindication of the Rights of Brutes; and the importance of both Rational Dissent and Quakerism to Romantic-period writing.
Platonic Coleridge (Oxford: Legenda, 2009)
Henry Crabb Robinson: Essays on Kant, Schelling and German Aesthetics (London: MHRA Critical Texts 18, 2010). A preview of the introduction (viewable by clicking on the picture of the book cover) and extracts from reviews are available here.
Shandean Humour in English and German Literature and Philosophy, ed. by Klaus Vieweg, James Vigus and Kathleen M. Wheeler (Oxford: Legenda, 2013)
Symbol and Intuition: Comparative Studies in Kantian and Romantic Aesthetics, ed. by Helmut Hühn and James Vigus (Oxford: Legenda, 2013)
Informal Romanticism (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012)
Coleridge’s Afterlives, ed. by James Vigus and Jane Wright (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
Christoph Bode, The Novel: An Introduction, translated from the German by James Vigus (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)
Book chapters and articles:
‘Continental Romanticism in Britain’, in The Oxford Handbook of Romantic Literature, ed. by David Duff (Oxford: OUP, forthcoming 2017)
‘The Owlet Atheism in the 1790s: An Essay on Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Henry Crabb Robinson’, in Les philosophes et la libre pensée, ed. Gianenrico Paganini and Lorenzo Bianchi, forthcoming (Paris: Champion, 2017)
'“You surely don’t wish to cure Anglomania with Anglophobia”: Henry Crabb Robinson’s Debate on National Character and the English Reception of German Literature in the Neue Berlinische Monatschrift in 1803', Angermion 9:1 (December 2016), 43-70
‘Conscience is God: Macbeth and Coleridge’s Translation of the Wallenstein Plays of Friedrich Schiller’, Coleridge Bulletin, n.s. 46 (Winter 2015), 17-36
‘Coleridge’s View of the Daimonion of Socrates and its Unitarian Context’, The Coleridge Bulletin, n.s. 43 (Summer 2014), 15-28
‘Literary Reporter or Dissenting Autobiographer? Editing Henry Crabb Robinson’s Reminiscences’, paper for the Séminaire de recherche sur les îles Britanniques XVIIe–XVIIIe siècles, Aix Marseille université (2014)
‘The Philosophy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’, in The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century, ed. by William Mander (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 520-40
‘“That which people do trample upon must be thy food”: The Animal Creation in The Journal of George Fox’, in Ethical Perspectives on Animals in the Early Modern Period, ed. by Cecilia Muratori and Burkhard Dohm (Florence, 2013), pp. 193-211
‘“Do ‘Friends’ allow puns’? Lamb on Quakers, Language and Silence’, in The Charles Lamb Bulletin, n.s. 157 (Spring 2013), 2-17
‘Adapting Rights: Thomas Taylor's A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes’, in Romantic Adaptations, ed. by Cian Duffy, Peter Howell and Caroline Ruddell (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 41-56
‘Romantic Insight’, in Die Aktualität der Romantik, ed. by Michael Forster and Klaus Vieweg (Berlin: LIT, 2012), 65-84
‘Quaker Picaresque’, in Anglistentag 2011 Freiburg: Proceedings, ed. by Monika Fludernik and Benjamin Kohlmann (Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012), 183-192: Complete text available here.
‘Informal Religion: Lakers on Quakers’, in Informal Romanticism, as above, 97-114
‘From Personal Identity to Character: Sterne and Hume’, in Shandean Humour, as above, 48-61
‘Shandean Taylor Coleridge’, in Shandean Humour, as above, 92-109
‘“All are but parts of one stupendous whole”? Henry Crabb Robinson’s Dilemma’, in Symbol and Intuition, as above, 123-138
‘The Spark of Intuitive Reason: Coleridge’s “On the Prometheus of Aeschylus”’, in Symbol and Intuition, as above, 139-157
‘Henry Crabb Robinson’s “initiation into the mysteries of the New School”’, in Romantic Localities, ed. by Christoph Bode and Jacqueline Labbe (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2010), 145-156
‘Transzendentalpoesie bei Friedrich Schlegel im Vergleich zum Begriff “philosophic poem” bei Coleridge’, in Friedrich Schlegel und Friedrich Nietzsche. Transzendentalpoesie oder Dichtkunst mit Begriffen, ed. by Klaus Vieweg (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2009), 133-143
‘Coleridge’s Textual Afterlives’, in Coleridge’s Afterlives, as above, 1-19. Available online as sample chapter
‘Zwischen Kantianismus und Schellingianismus: Henry Crabb Robinsons Privatvorlesungen über Philosophie für Madame de Staël 1804 in Weimar’, in Germaine de Staël und ihr erstes deutsches Publikum, ed. by Gerhard R. Kaiser and Olaf Müller (Heidelberg: Winter, 2008), 357-93.
‘“With his garland and his singing robes about him”: the persistence of the literary in the Opus Maximum’, in Coleridge’s Assertion of Religion: Essays on the ‘Opus Maximum’, edited by Jeffrey W. Barbeau (Leuven: Peeters, 2006), 97-120
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research. I am currently supervising a project on dissenting women booksellers in the eighteenth century.
You can read about some of my media and public appearances here.
Paper for the Senate House Library public series ‘Illuminations’: ‘Henry Crabb Robinson’s Bildingsreise’, 29 October 2015
Paper within the public Seminar in Dissenting Studies series held at Dr Williams’s Library, London, on 17 April 2013: ‘Researching Henry Crabb Robinson: What Became of his Early Interest in German Thought?’
Contributed to the Reliquiae Baxterianae online exhibition, https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/exhibit/reliquiae-baxterianae/-AJC4CrPoff9KA