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English and Creative Writing

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Dr James Kelly

Senior Lecturer

01326 371895

01326 371895


My research looks at Irish and Scottish writing in the Romantic century (1750-1850), with a focus on the relationship between imaginative literature and political and historical agency and notions of nationality.

At present, I am interested in ideas of eloquence in this period; how a reputation for oratorical excess affected conceptions of Irish literature and nationality; and the connection between rhetoric, civic society, political economy, and Scottish philosophy fed into the categorisation of ‘literature’ in the modern sense. Authors looked at include Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Edmund Burke, Thomas Moore, Sydney Owenson, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Tighe, Richard Lalor Sheil, Sir Walter Scott, and the writers associated with the Young Ireland movement.

I’m interested in Romantic period literature, early-to-mid Victorian literature, Eighteenth-century literature. I also have an interest in the historical relationship between rhetoric and literature from the Renaissance to the present. In addition to this, I am interested in Twentieth-century Irish and Scottish literature, particularly in the area of poetry and the novel.

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I am open to discussing research proposals on any relevant subject given my research expertise. I am especially happy to consider working with candidates with interests in the following areas

  • Irish literature, particularly though not exclusively Nineteenth century
  • Gothic writing
  • Rhetorical theory, Eighteenth & Nineteenth century
  • Literature and national/regional identity

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2004 |


  • Kelly J. (2022) Pleading my Cause: Literature and the Law in Irish Romanticism, Law and Literature: the Irish Case, Liverpool University Press, 217-232.


  • Kelly J. (2021) Dreaming the Future while Arguing the Past: Temperaments and Temporalities in Irish Writing, Dreams of the Future in Nineteenth-century Ireland, Liverpool University Press, n/a-n/a.


  • Kelly J. (2020) Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution, REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES, volume 71, no. 301, pages 791-793, DOI:10.1093/res/hgaa017. [PDF]
  • Kelly J. (2020) The Diabolical Eloquence of Horror: Maturin's Wanderings, Irish Literature in Transition, 1780-1830, Cambridge University Press, 226-241.
  • Kelly J. (2020) Satire and Innovation between Dublin, Edinburgh, and London, Irish Literature in Transition, 1830-1890, Cambridge University Press.


  • Kelly J. (2019) ‘The Most Portentous Event in Modern History’: Ireland Before and After Peterloo, Commemorating Peterloo Violence, Resilience, and Claim-Making During the Romantic Era, EUP.


  • Kelly J. (2018) Writing under the Union, 1800-1845, A History of Modern Irish Women's Literature, 59-76.
  • Kelly J. (2018) 'Ireland and Union', Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, Oxford University Press.
  • Kelly J. (2018) 'Literature Under the Union', A History of Modern Irish Women's Literature, Cambridge University Press.


  • Kelly J. (2017) The Politics of Ruins, Writing Britain's Ruins.



  • Kelly J. (2015) Writing the frontier: Anthony Trollope between Britain and Ireland, IRISH STUDIES REVIEW, volume 23, no. 4, pages 511-512, DOI:10.1080/09670882.2015.1087804. [PDF]
  • Kelly J. (2015) Earnestness and Reality: Oratory and Speech in the Fiction of John and Michael Banim, European Romantic Review, volume 26, no. 6, pages 743-756, DOI:10.1080/10509585.2015.1092084.
  • Kelly J. (2015) ‘The Manner of Being’: Maria Edgeworth, Mary Leadbeater, and representation, British Association of Romantic Studies Biannual Conference 2015: Romantic Imprints, University Of Cardiff, 16th - 19th Jul 2015.
  • Kelly J. (2015) Irish Orators and Scotch Reviewers: Persuasion and conviction in the 1810s, International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures Annual Conference, University Of York, 20th - 24th Jul 2015.


  • Kelly J. (2014) ‘What has a pipe to do with the story?’: Circumlocution and comedy in Radcliffe, Ann Radcliffe at 250: Gothic and Romantic Imaginations, University Of Sheffield, 27th - 29th Jun 2014.


  • Kelly J. (2013) Gothic and the Celtic fringe, 1750-1850, The Gothic World, 38-51.
  • Kelly J. (2013) Gothic Histories: Scott, Banim, and romancing the past in the 1820s, On the Edge: Transitions, Transgressions, and Transformations in Irish and Scottish Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, 19th - 23rd Jun 2013.
  • Kelly J. (2013) ‘It was on a dark and stormy night’: Theatre chapbooks and the circulation of narrative, British Association of Romantic Studies Biannual Conference, Southampton, 25th - 28th Jul 2013.
  • Kelly J. (2013) Gothic and the Celtic Fringe, 1750-1830, The Gothic World, Routledge.



  • Kelly J. (2011) Ireland and Romanticism, Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Kelly J. (2011) Charles Maturin, Four Courts Pr Ltd.


  • Kelly J. (2004) Why national tale and not national novel? Maturin, Owenson, and the limits of Irish fiction, To the Other Shore: Cross-currents in Irish and Scottish Studies, Queen's University Belfast.

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Modules taught

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I studied for a BA in English and MA in Anglo-Irish literature in University College Dublin (1994-98). In 2000 I went to the University of Edinburgh where I studied for my PhD with the Department of English, using the work of the Irish Gothic novelist Charles Robert Maturin (1780-1824) to examine wider issues in Romantic period fiction. I was awarded an IRCHSS post-doctoral fellowship in 2006-07 in University College Dublin. This was followed by a 3-year position in the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where I lectured across the curriculum, concentrating on Romantic, Victorian, and Twentieth-century writing. I also lectured in the University of Sheffield where I led seminars from Renaissance literature right up to the present day. I joined the University of Exeter in 2012.

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