Dr Matthew Sangster
- Lecturer (English Literature)
- Eighteenth-century and Romantic-period literature
- Archives and manuscripts
- Book History, particularly publishing and library history
- Material culture
- Institutional histories and practices
- Representations of London
- Digital Humanities
- Genre writing, particularly Fantasy and Science Fiction
- Contemporary narrative media
I joined the University of Glasgow in September 2016 from my previous post at the University of Birmingham. I completed my BA at the University of Cambridge, my MA at King’s College London and my PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. Between 2008 and 2014, I worked at the British Library, cataloguing the archive of the Royal Literary Fund and contributing to exhibitions - I helped to research Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands in 2012 and co-curated (with Zoë Wilcox) The Worlds of Mervyn Peake in 2011. I have taught previously at universities in London and Oxford. In 2013, I held a Fleeman Fellowship at the University of St Andrews and in 2015, I took up a Charles J. Cole Fellowship at the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale.
My doctoral project considered the nature of literary careers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, contending that the principal modes for achieving success as an author at this time were social, rather than professional, commercial or aesthetic. I combined literary, historical and sociological approaches with detailed archival work on publishers’ records, institutional papers and personal correspondence. My work explored the meagre financial rewards offered by the publishing industry; the Royal Literary Fund and its struggling applicants; the contexts that allowed Robert Southey, Thomas Moore and Walter Scott to prosper by writing; the kinds of authority propagated by the powerful quarterly Reviews; and the crucial roles played by affiliation and networking in ensuring literary success. I have published an article and a book chapter that draw on this work and I have recently submitted a heavily revised version for publication as a monograph entitled Living as an Author in the Romantic Period.
Alongside this project, I completed a catalogue of the Archive of the Royal Literary Fund, a charitable organisation set up in 1790 to provide confidential financial aid to struggling writers. This catalogue consists of over 78,000 records covering applications from more than 3600 authors who first applied to the Fund between 1790 and 1939, as well as entries for minute books, annual reports and administrative papers. An open-access database of this catalogue will be made available shortly.
I also have keen interests in fantasy, science fiction and contemporary literature and have published book chapters on Mervyn Peake and China Miéville.
At present, I am working on three major projects. One uses the rich collections of library records held at the University of St Andrews to consider the ways in which different kinds of books were accumulated, organised and apprehended by readers during the eighteenth century. Another examines the roles played by metropolitan institutions in mediating literary works and practices; I am developing this project in concert with the AHRC-funded ‘Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900’ research network, which I lead alongside Professor Jon Mee (University of York). The third examines the ways that Romantic-period London was represented across a wide range of genres through juxtaposing different kinds of maps, images and accounts. This project has a major digital element, which can be viewed by visiting the project website.
I have served on the Executive of the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) since 2009. Currently, I am the association’s Website Editor.
September 2016-December 2017: ‘Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900’, AHRC-funded research network, Principal Investigator.
March-April 2015: Charles J. Cole Fellowship, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.
March-June 2013: Fleeman Fellowship, School of English, University of St Andrews.
I have an ongoing collaborative relationship with the Royal Literary Fund, which supported my doctorate and which has provided subsequent tranches of funding to further my explorations of the RLF archive.
I have also secured numerous smaller grants to support my digitisation work and my attendance at conferences and symposia.
Living as an Author in the Romantic Period – submitted for publication.
Catalogue of the Archive of the Royal Literary Fund – integrated into the British Library’s manuscripts catalogue: http://searcharchives.bl.uk. The catalogue records can be explored in isolation by adding ‘RLF’ as a search term. The catalogue currently consists of over 78,000 records covering applications from over 3,600 authors, as well as entries for minute books, annual reports and administrative papers.
Royal Literary Fund Archive Database.
Romantic London: http://www.romanticlondon.org.
‘British Institutions, Literary Production and National Glory in the Romantic Period’, POETICA,No. 82 (2015), 39-57.
‘“You have not advertised out of it”: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Francis Jeffrey on Authorship, Networks and Personalities’, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net,No. 61 (April 2012). URL: http://www.erudit.org/revue/ravon/2012/v/n62/1018602ar.html.
‘Short Forms and Unalloyed Genre’, Dandelion, Vol 3 No.1 (Spring 2012). URL: http://dandelionjournal.org/index.php/dandelion/article/view/62/110.
Accepted for Publication
‘Copyright Literature and Reading Communities in Eighteenth-Century St Andrews’ – article for the Review of English Studies – c. 11,000 words.
‘Making Sense with Lives in Romantic London’ – article for a special issue of Life Writing – c. 6,500 words.
‘Iron Council, Bas-Lag and Generic Expectations’, in China Miéville: Critical Essays, ed. by Caroline Edwards and Tony Venezia (Canterbury: Gylphi, 2015), pp. 185-212. ISBN: 9781780240275.
‘Adapting to dissect: rhetoric and representation in the quarterly reviews in the Romantic period’, in Romantic Adaptations: Essays in Mediation and Remediation, ed. by Cian Duffy, Caroline Ruddell and Peter Howell (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 57-72. ISBN: 9781472414106.
‘Peake and Vulnerability’, in Miracle Enough: Papers on the Works of Mervyn Peake,ed. by Bill Gray and G. Peter Winnington (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), pp. 105-116. ISBN: 9781443844116.
Review of Peter Garside and Karen O’Brien (eds),The Oxford History of the Novel in English Volume 2: English and British Fiction 1750-1820 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), The Library: Transactions of The Bibliographical Society,7th Series, 17 (June 2016), 194-7.
Review of David Stewart, Romantic Magazines and Metropolitan Literary Culture (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011) and Kim Wheatley, Romantic Feuds (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), The BARS Review, 44 (Autumn 2014). URL: http://www.bars.ac.uk/review/index.php/barsreview/article/view/42/91.
Review of Susan Matoff, Conflicted Life: William Jerdan, 1782-1869: London Editor, Author and Critic (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2010), BARS Bulletin & Review, 40 (July 2012), 34-6.