Professor Simon Kövesi
- Head of School, Professor of English and Scottish Literature (English Literature)
My undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature was here at Glasgow. My third year was spent on exchange at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After Glasgow, I did a PhD on the Romantic-period poet John Clare with Professor John Goodridge at Nottingham Trent University. I came back to Glasgow at the end of that, and taught in English Literature here for a while. Then I worked for a couple of years as a lecturer at the University of Dundee. I then returned to Glasgow as a graduate teaching assistant, until starting as a lecturer in Romantic Literature at Oxford Brookes University in 2001.
I was at Oxford Brookes for 21 years, and ended up as a Professor and Head of School there. I came back to Glasgow in July 2022.
John Clare remains a core focus of my work. I've edited his poetry, written essays and books on him, and am editor of the John Clare Society Journal. I've been in a fight with a straw bear in a feature film about Clare, helped produce a CD of music and readings of Clare, have run conferences on his world and work, and have done radio shows about him too.
More broadly, I am interested in working-class writing and culture beyond the Romantic period. I was part of the editing team of three volumes of Eighteenth-Century English Labouring-Class Poets, published in 2003. My 2007 study of the Glaswegian writer James Kelman (Manchester University Press) was short-listed for a Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award. I ran a conference on Clare and James Hogg and 2001, and have ongoing teaching and research interests in Scottish representations of working-class life. Mostly through working on Clare, I developed an interest in natural history, and in literary and critical responses to ecology and environmental politics, a core concern of my 2017 study of Clare. I am also interested in creative rewritings of (in any medium and genre), and responses to, the Romantic period. I led an Arts Council England-funded collaborative project called 'The Meeting', in which I worked on Clare with poets, a composer, a producer, poetry workshop participants, a playwright, an actor, and musicians.
Right now for Oxford World's Classics I am editing - in cahoots with my colleague Matt Sangster, John Gardner (Anglia Ruskin) and David Stewart (Northumbria) - the first modern edition of Pierce Egan's smash hit Life in London (1821). I am also writing separate essays on the peasant in the Romantic period, and on the contemporary working-class memoir. A longer-term plan is to write a study of literature and poverty from 1800 to 2000.
Along with the PhD supervisions, I have supervised many BA and MA dissertations across literary cultures of the 19th and 20thc - on topics such as the natural world, class, masculinity, the gothic, sexuality, genre and violence. I am keen to suprvise doctoral research on any aspect of British working-class literary and popular culture from 1800 to now, on Romanticism, and on the environmental humanities.
Megan Burns, researching popular protest poetry and pamphlets of the ‘Red Clydeside’ era (early 20thc.) in Glasgow. Oxford Brookes University bursary PhD student. From 2020.
‘The Concept of Authorship in the Work of Sara Coleridge’, Robin Schofield, 2013–16.
‘From Whodunnits to Literary Fiction: The Charting of an Author’s Transition from Crime Writer to Literary Novelist’, Morag Joss 2013–14.
‘Coleridge and Transnatural Poetics’, Gregory Leadbetter, 2006–10.
Professional activities & recognition
Grant committees & research advisory boards
- 2018 - 2022: REF2021, Assessor, Subpanel 27
- 2017 - 2020: AHRC Peer Review College,
Professional & learned societies
- 2022: Executive Committee Member, University English
- 2018: Fellow, English Association
- 2015: Fellow, Higher Education Academy
- 2011: Honorary Lifetime Member, British Association for Romantic Studies
- 2008: Editor, John Clare Society