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Undergraduate courses

Professor Martin Priestman

Professor Martin Priestman

Professor (English Literature)

Department of English and Creative Writing


I studied at the Universities of Cambridge (BA) and Sheffield (PhD), after which I taught English and Drama at Roehampton, becoming a Reader in English in 1992, and a Professor in 1999. I now divide my research and publishing activities fairly evenly between Romantic Period Literature and Crime Fiction. I teach courses in both these areas, as well as Restoration/ Eighteenth-Century and Dystopian Literature, poetic technique and the creative writing of Crime Fiction, and also have an interest in British Drama of the 1950s-70s.

I have recently edited The Cambridge Companion to Crime FictionandThe Collected Writings of Erasmus Darwin .

I am currently Co-Director of the Centre of Research in Romanticism, and in 2006-8 I set up and directed the Centre for Research in Modern Literature and Culture. I warmly welcome applications for PhDs in the fields of Crime Fiction and Romantic and eighteenth-century literature.





‘A Place to Stand: Questions of Address in Shelley’s Political Prose’, in The Unfamilar Shelley , ed. Timothy Webb and Alan Weinberg (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).

'Lucretius in Romantic and Victorian Britain', in The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius, eds. S. Gillespie and P. Hardie (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

'Temples and Mysteries in Romantic Infidel Writing', in M. Eberle-Sinatra, ed., Romanticism on the Net(February 2002).


Electronic edition of The Temple of Nature by Erasmus Darwin (Romantic Circles, 2006)

First edition of The Collected Writings of Erasmus Darwin , facsimile, 9 vols, 3,764 pp. (Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum Press, 2004), selected and introduced: Introduction, vol.1, pp. v-xxvii.

Edited and contributed to The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 308 pp.; Introduction, pp. 1-6, ‘Post-war British crime fiction’, pp. 173-190.

Romantic Atheism: Poetry and Freethought, 1780-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 307 pp

Crime Fiction from Poe to the Present (London: Northcote House and The British Council, 1998), 80pp.

Detective Fiction and Literature: The Figure on the Carpet (London: Macmillan, 1990), 217pp.

Cowper's 'Task': Structure and Influence (Cambridge University Press, 1983), 217pp.

‘Visions of Matter: Lucretius and the Masons in the Romantic Late Enlightenment.’ in Pan Tra i Filosofieds. G. Carabelli and P. Zanardi (Padua: Poligrafo, 2008).

'The Progress of Society? Darwin's Early Drafts for The Temple of Nature ', in The Genius of Erasmus Darwin , ed. C. U. M. Smith and Robert Arnott (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), pp. 307-319.

'P. D. James and the Distinguished Thing', in Z. Leader, ed., On Modern British Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 234-57.

'Sherlock's Children: The Birth of the Serial', in W. Chernaik, M. Swales and R. Vilain, eds., The Art of Detective Fiction (London: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 50-59.

'Up Against the Wall: Drama in the 1970s', in B. Moore-Gilbert, ed., The Arts in the 1970s: Cultural Closure' (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 281-299.

'A Critical Stage: Drama in the 1960s', in B. Moore-Gilbert and J. Seed, eds., Cultural Revolution': The Challenge of the Arts in the 1960s (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 118?138.


Upcoming: The Encyclopaedic Sublime: Erasmus Darwin in the Romantic Late Enlightenment (date to be confirmed)

Upcoming: 'Didactic and Scientific Poetry', in The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 3: 1660-1790, eds. D. Hopkins and C. Martindale (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011/12).

Upcoming: 'Spies, Detectives and Heroes: From the Cold War to the War on Terror', in The Oxford History of the Novel, Vol. 7: British and Irish Fiction since 1940 (Oxford University Press, 2012).

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Department news

Sixth formers have chance to literally 'take away' a poem

Sixth formers visiting the University of Roehampton for their Offer Day on 18 February will have the chance to pick up a personalised poem during their visit, thanks to the Poetry Takeaway – an innovative project encouraging young people to get to grips with verse.

David Harsent names winner of inaugural Ruskin Poetry Prize

The inaugural winner of the Ruskin Prize for Poetry, which was judged by TS Eliot prize winner David Harsent, has been announced by the Roehampton Poetry Centre, based at the University of Roehampton in London.

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