Laurence Maxwell Stuart


Research title: 'A Species of Reaction': Towards a Poetics of the Sublime...

Research Summary

  • Eighteenth-Century Poetry and Poetics

  • The Sublime

  • The History and Development of Aesthetics

  • Romanticism and Romantic Poetry

My research examines the formation and development of a poetics of the sublime across Britain during the latter half of the eighteenth century. Engaging with the works of formative eighteenth-century theorists, such as Samuel Johnson, David Hume, and Edmund Burke, I outline the problematic status of the sublime as abstract aesthetic ideal, an 'impossibility' which yet prevails in modern aesthetics. Alongside the successive and contested conceptualisation of the sublime as aesthetic, I consider the emergence and interlocution of a distinct mode of poetic praxis centred on, and empowered by, sublimity; a poetics of the sublime. My research primarily aims to uncover and analyse a genealogy of sublime poetics realised throughout the poetry of James Macpherson, Thomas Percy, James Beattie, Robert Burns, William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



ECR Travel Bursary- Awarded by Lancaster University and the Davy Notebooks Project to attend a workshop on using the Zooniverse Project Builder and the Humphry Davy Notebooks Project (2022). 

ECR Travel Bursary – Awarded by Keele University and the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies to attend an Archival Skills for Postgraduates training day at the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum and Archives in Lichfield. (2022). 

John Mather Trust Award (2018). 

The Cross Trust Scholarship Award (2017). 

The Ewing Prize (2016). 


GTA for English Literature -

  • 1A: Poetry and Poetics
  • 1B: Novel and Narratology
  • 2B: Writing the Body