- Head of School (School of Critical Studies Administration)
- Romantic literature and culture
- Robert Burns and Scottish literature 1750-1850
- Romantic Orientalism
- Travel writing and Empire
- Anglo-Indian literature of the Romantic period
Nigel Leask was appointed to Glasgow's Regius Chair of English Language and Literature in 2004, and is currently Head of the School of Critical Studies. He was previously Reader in Romantic Literature in the English Faculty at Cambridge University. He has published widely in the area of Romantic literature and culture, with a special emphasis on empire, orientalism, and travel writing, as well as Scottish literature and thought 1750-1850. His most recent book, Robert Burns and Pastoral: Poetry and Improvement in Late-18th Century Scotland (Oxford University Press, 2010) won the Saltire Prize for the best Scottish Research Book of 2010. He is currently editing the Collected Prose Writings of Robert Burns for the AHRC-funded Oxford edition of the Collected Works of Robert Burns (general editor, Prof Gerard Carruthers).
His first book The Politics of Imagination in Coleridge’s Critical Thought was published by Macmillan in 1988. Subsequently, his British Romantic Writers and the East: Anxieties of Empire (Cambridge University Press 1992) was a pioneering study of the anxieties and instabilities of Romantic representations of the 'Orient' in the writings of Byron, Shelley, De Quincey, Southey, Moore and others. In 1997 he edited Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria for Everyman with a new introduction, text and notes. His Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel Writing, 1770-1840: 'From an Antique Land' (Oxford University Press, 2002) was the first study of its kind to explore the Romantic obsession with the 'antique lands' of Ethiopia, Egypt, India and Mexico from a post-colonial perspective, drawing on a wide range of 18th and 19th century travel books, as well as recent scholarship in literature, history, geography and anthropology. More recently he has co-edited (with David Simpson and Peter De Bolla) a collection of essays dedicated to John Barrell entitled Land, Nation and Culture, 1740-1840: Thinking the Republic of Taste (Palgrave 2004) and (with Dr Phil Connell) Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland (Cambridge University Press, 2009). In addition to Glasgow and Cambridge, he has held teaching appointments at the University of Bologna, Italy, and UNAM, Mexico City, and has lectured widely in Europe, the Americas, and India. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Centenary Fellow of the English Association.