Professor Seamus Perry

My interests are principally in the field of English Romantic poetry and thought, especially Coleridge and Wordsworth, and in post-Romantic English poetry, especially Tennyson, Eliot, Auden, Larkin, and their circles. I also have an interest in the modern history of criticism, reflected in articles on A.C. Bradley, William Empson, F.W. Bateson, and M.H. Abrams. I am co-editor, with Christopher Ricks, of the journal Essays in Criticism: A Quarterly Journal of Literary Criticism (OUP), and the general editor of the new series,21st-Century Oxford Authors (OUP). I often review for theTimes Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and the Literary Review. I am Fellow Librarian of Balliol.

I am working on continuities in nineteenth and early twentieth century poetry and poetics, placing them within principally the context of social thought and political philosophy. Associated with this is an edition of Arnold for the 21st Century Oxford Authors.

I am currently the Chair of Faculty Board (i.e. head of department) and I shall be doing a bit less teaching while in that post.

  • Undergraduate:  English Literature, 1660- present.
  • Graduate: English Romanticism, Victorian poetry, 20C poetry.  Doctoral topics recently and currently supervised include: Hazlitt, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, manuscript culture in early nineteenth century England.

I am a Trustee of the Wordsworth Trust, and I served for five years as a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of English Studies in the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of London.

I was born in Aldershot, a military town best known to literature through its memorialisation in poems by John Betjeman. After local state schools I came to Oxford and took my undergraduate (1989) and graduate (1995) degrees at St Catherine's College. I was Oakeshott Junior Research Fellow, Lincoln College, 1995-8; and then moved to the University of Glasgow for five years, first as Lecturer and then Reader in English Literature. I came back to Oxford as a Fellow of Balliol and a Lecturer in the English Faculty in 2003.

Fellow of the English Association, elected 2005.

Balliol College web-site

Essays in Criticism web-site

Wordsworth Trust web-site


  • "No hope of me": Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Wordsworths in 1810

  • 'Are we there yet?' (Tennyson)

  • 'So Striking a Miss-Hit' (Hardy)

  • Arnold and Multipicity

  • Arnold and Poetry

  • More
List of site pages