Dr Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan is a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, and former Visiting Fellow in the Study of Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard. Before arriving at Oxford, he was an AHRC-funded PhD candidate at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he also studied for an MPhil in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies. For his research on Tennyson’s literary notebooks, he was awarded Cambridge’s 2016 Gordon Duff Prize in the Arts of Manuscripts. Prior to postgraduate study, Michael graduated with a BA in English from the University of Durham, where he was a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar and winner of the T. W. Craik, Brooks Johnson and J. R. Watson prizes.

His research conducts the first book-length study of Tennyson’s manuscript revisions, and their role in the development of his style. He holds additional research interests in the development of genre in the nineteenth century, and in Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Keats, on whom he has published and lectured.

At Oxford, he is co-convenor of the ‘Editing the Long Nineteenth Century’ seminar, which hosts speakers from across the UK to advance the often-unwritten principles and practices of textual criticism. Topics include specific authors and literary circles, textual skills for close reading, and considerations for different types of edition. 

Nineteenth- and eighteenth-century poetry and prose – especially Tennyson, Shelley, Byron, Keats, Arnold, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. At Christ Church, I teach Prelims Papers 3 and 4 (English Literature 1830 to the present day), as well as workshops on close reading manuscripts, in the Christ Church Upper Library. In Cambridge, I supervised at Trinity, St John's, Selwyn, Magdalene, Pembroke, and Emmanuel.

I have taught sessions on 'Revision in Victorian Verse' for the M.St in English 1830-1914, and am interested in supervising Master's dissertations in any of my areas of research.

Journal Articles

1. ‘Alfred Tennyson and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman: An Omitted Page of Correspondence’, Notes & Queries, 64/1 (2017), 131-133

2. ‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury’, Essays in Criticism, 66/4 (2016), 431-443

3. ‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury: A Rediscovered Revision Copy’, Literary Imagination, 18/3 (2016), 230-238

4. ‘“The Controlless Core of Human Hearts”: Writing the Self in Byron’s Don Juan’, The Byron Journal, 42/2 (2014), 123-132


Reviews and Other Publications

5. ‘Dickinson’s Voice’, Essays in Criticism, 69/1 (2019), 103-109

6. ‘The Victorian Period (1830-1900)’, The Year’s Work in English Studies, 97/1 (2018), 693-888, co-authored

7. ‘The Victorian Period (1830-1900)’, The Year’s Work in English Studies, 96/1 (2017), 703-915, co-authored

8. ‘The Persistence of Beauty’, The Cambridge Quarterly, 45/4 (2016), 385-390

9. ‘Deborah Lutz, Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)’, Tennyson Research Bulletin, 10/5 (2016), 483-484

10. ‘Tennyson at Trinity’, The Fountain, 19 (2014), 12-13


Selected Conference & Seminar Papers

‘“Singing in her Song”: Tennyson's Romantic Inheritance’, British Association for Romantic Studies International Conference, University of Nottingham (July 2019)

‘Silence and Sublimity in Tennyson’s Early Notebooks’, Inventions of the Text, University of Durham (May 2019 – invited, one-hour seminar paper)

‘Multiple Authorship and the Poetics of Voice’, Oxford Centre for Textual Editing and Theory Inaugural Conference (April 2019 – invited symposium paper)

‘Tennyson’s Notebooks and the Allegory of Art’, Tennyson Society Annual Conference, University of Oxford (March 2019)

‘Tennyson’s Swan Songs: Silence and Revision in The Lady of Shalott’, Literary Birds Conference, University of Durham (October 2018)

‘Tennyson and the Victorian Literary Canon’, Tennyson Society Annual Conference, Girton College, Cambridge (August 2016 – invited, one-hour lecture)

‘Tennyson’s Early Voice: Romantic Prophecy and the Lyrical Mode’, British Association for Romantic Studies: Romantic Voices Conference, University of Oxford (June 2016)

‘Elegy in Exile: Byron and the Poetic Experiments of 1816’, The Summer of 1816: A Bicentenary Conference, University of Sheffield (June 2016)

‘Tennyson and The Golden Treasury: A Rediscovered Proof Copy’, Conference in Editorial Studies, Boston Editorial Institute (April 2016)

‘Tennyson and the Victorian Literary Canon’, Trinity Arts and Humanities Symposium, University of Cambridge (March 2016)

‘Tennyson, Palgrave and the Poetic Tradition’, Nineteenth-Century Graduate Workshop, University of Cambridge (November 2015)

‘Tennyson and the Nineteenth-Century Lyric Anthology: Constructing a Victorian Canon’, British Association for Victorian Studies Annual Conference, Leeds Trinity University (August 2015)

‘“Notes of busy life in distant worlds”: Tennyson and the Voice of Antiquity’, Victorian Modernities Conference, University of Kent (June 2015)

‘Byronic Illusion and the Elegiac Mode’, Long-Eighteenth-Century Research in Progress Seminar, University of Oxford (November 2014)

‘“The Controlless Core of Human Hearts”: Writing the Self in Byron’s Don Juan’, Adam’s Dream: Imaginative Incarnations in the Long Eighteenth Century, University of Cambridge (April 2013)

‘Chaotic Imaginings in the Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley’, University of Durham (June 2012)


  • Alfred Tennyson and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman: An Omitted Page of Correspondence

  • The Victorian Period

  • Deborah Lutz, Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

  • The Persistence of Beauty

  • Tennyson and The Golden Treasury : A Rediscovered Revision Copy

  • More
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