Dr David  Higgins

Dr David Higgins

Associate Professor in English Literature

+44(0) 113 343 4799

Summary: British culture and literature during the Romantic period: ecology; constructions of the self; nationalism and imperialism; ideas of community; genius and creativity.


Research Interests

My research addresses various aspects of British culture and literature during the Romantic period: ecology; ideas of community; nationalism and imperialism; genius and creativity; periodical writing; and constructions of the self. 

My most recent book, Romantic Englishness: Local, National, and Global Selves, 1780-1850 (Palgrave, 2014), investigates how narratives of localised selfhood in English Romantic writing are produced in relation to national and transnational formations. Focusing on autobiographical texts by a wide range of authors, including Thomas Bewick, John Clare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Cowper, Thomas De Quincey, William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, and William Wordsworth, the book sheds new light on the construction of Romantic national identity and argues for the persistence of specifically English forms of selfhood.

The book's concern with the ambiguous role of place in Romantic literature has fed into my current main research project on environmental catastrophe in the period. I was recently awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship in order to develop this project. Its first major output will be a short book on climate change and the literature of 1815-18 (under contract with Palgrave). The project will also involve a conference in July 2017 on 'Mediating Climate Change' and public engagement collaborations with the Wordsworth Trust and Cape Farewell. For further details, see http://romanticcatastrophe.leeds.ac.uk/

Other ongoing projects include a collaboration with the Wordsworth Trust on an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award on the topic of 'Wordsworth, Creativity, and Cumbrian Communities' and a co-edited book on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and British Romanticism (under contract with Bloomsbury Academic)

I would be pleased to hear from postgraduate students interested in working on any of the topics or authors listed above.

I am also interested in issues of pedagogy, and particularly the relationship between research and teaching. This is reflected in my book Frankenstein: Character Studies (2008), and in two co-edited books: Studying English Literature (2010) and Teaching Romanticism (2010). More recently, I have worked with the Higher Education Academy to organise a workshop on blended learning and to produce a report highlighting its use in English Studies. In 2012, I was awarded a University Student Education Fellowship.

I was a member of the Executive of the British Association for Romantic Studies and editor of the BARS Bulletin from 2010-15. 

Undergraduate Teaching

Writing Critically 

Literature of the Romantic Period

Romantic Selves

Byron and the Shelleys

Postgraduate Teaching

Romantic Ecologies 

David Higgins

Authored Books

Romantic Englishness: Local, National, and Global Selves, 1780-1850 (Palgrave, 2014), 230pp.

Frankenstein: Character Studies (London and New York: Continuum, 2008), 108pp.

Romantic Genius and the Literary Magazine: Biography, Celebrity, Politics (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), 192pp.

Edited Books

(With Sharon Ruston), Teaching Romanticism (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2010), 224pp.

(With Ashley Chantler), Studying English Literature (London and New York: Continuum, 2010), 264pp.

Edited Journal Issue

(With John Whale), 'Contesting Creativity', special issue of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34.2 (2011).

Contributions to Books

‘The Critical Reception, 1793-1806’, in William Wordsworth in Context, ed. Andrew Bennett (CUP, 2015), pp. 47-53. 

‘Romantic Englishness: Periodical Writing and National Identity after the Napoleonic Wars’, in Literature of an Independent England: Devolutionary Revisions of England, Englishness and English Literature, ed. Michael Gardiner and Claire Westall ( Palgrave, 2013), pp. 63-76.

‘From Gluttony to Justified Sinning: Confessional Writing in Blackwood’s and the London Magazine in ‘An Unprecedented Phenomenon’: Romanticism and Blackwood’s Magazine, ed. Robert Morrison and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts (Palgrave, 2013), pp. 47-56.

'Teaching European Romanticism' in David Higgins and Sharon Ruston (eds), Teaching Romanticism (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2010), pp. 49-61.

'The Romantic Period', in Ashley Chantler and David Higgins (eds), Studying English Literature (London and New York: Continuum, 2010), pp. 113-33.

'Celebrity, Politics, and the Rhetoric of Genius', in Romanticism and Celebrity Culture: 1750-1850, ed. Tom Mole (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 41-59.  

'Theatre and Science' in A Concise Companion to Contemporary British and Irish Drama, ed. by Nadine Holdsworth and Mary Luckhurst (Oxford: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 225-44.  

 'Joe Orton: Anger, Artifice and Absurdity' in A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama: 1880-2005, ed. by Mary Luckhurst (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), pp. 258-68.

Journal Articles

‘“Hail England old England my country & home”: John Clare’s Englishness’, Victoriographies, 2.2 (2012), 128-48. 

‘Imagining the Exotic: De Quincey and Lamb in the London Magazine’, Romanticism, 17.3 (Autumn 2011), 288-98.

 'Writing to Colonial Australia: Barron Field and Charles Lamb', Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 32.3 (September 2010), pp. 219-33.  

'"Isn't She Painted Con Amore?": Fraser's Magazine and the Spectacle of Female Genius', Romanticism on the Net, 46 (2007). http://www.erudit.org/revue/ron/2007/v/n46/016139ar.html

'Art, Genius, and Racial Theory in the Early Nineteenth Century: Benjamin Robert Haydon', History Workshop Journal, 58 (2004), pp. 17-40.

'Englishness, Effeminacy, and the New Monthly Magazine: Hazlitt's "The Fight" in Context', Romanticism, 10.2 (2004), pp. 170-90.

'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine and the Construction of Wordsworth's Genius', Prose Studies, 25.1 (2002), pp. 122-36. This issue of Prose Studies was published as a book entitled Romantic Periodicals and Print Culture, ed. by Kim Wheatley (London: Frank Cass, 2003). A translation of this article has also appeared in the Bulgarian journal Critique and Humanism, 19 (2005).

Shorter Pieces 

Review of Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings, ed. Robert Morrison, Notes and Queries, 62.1 (2015), 163-64.

(With John Whale), 'Introduction', in 'Contesting Creativity', special issue of The Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34.2 (2011), 143-45.

Review of Richard Cronin, Paper Pellets: British Literary Culture After Waterloo (OUP), forthcoming in the Journal of British Studies.

Review of Julian North, The Domestication of Genius: Biography and the Romantic Poet (OUP), Review of English Studies, 61 (2010), 823-25.

Review of Kevin Gilmartin, Writing Against Revolution (CUP), Byron Journal, 38.1 (2010), 96-97.

(With Sharon Ruston), 'Introduction', in Teaching Romanticism (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010), pp. 1-8.

(With Ashley Chantler), 'Introduction', in Studying English Literature (London: Continuum, 2010), pp. 1-8.

Review of George Boulukos, The Grateful Slave: The Emergence of Race in Eighteenth-Century British and American Culture (CUP), Brycchan Carey and Peter J. Kitson (eds.), Slavery and the Cultures of Abolition (Brewer), and Peter J. Kitson, Romantic Literature, Race, and Colonial Encounter (Palgrave), BARS Bulletin and Review, 34 (2009), pp. 23-26.

Profiles of The New Monthly Magazine, The London Magazine, The Liberal, The Examiner, Benjamin Robert Haydon, and John Wilson, in The Literary Encyclopaedia, 2006. Romantic Textualities, 15 (2005).  

Review of Mark Sandy, Poetics of Self and Form in Keats and Shelley (Ashgate),

Entries for Prince Hoare and George Steaurt Mackenzie, Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Philosophers (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2002).