Dr Felicity James

Associate Professor

School/Department: Arts, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2199



I'm interested in creative collaboration, friendship, life-writing and the personal essay. I teach Romantic and Victorian literature, and creative writing, both within the School of Arts and for the Stoneygate Centre for Empathic Healthcare, where I am currently seconded part-time. 


My research interests centre on late eighteenth and early nineteenth century literature, with a particular interest in the neglected writers Charles and Mary Lamb. I co-chair the Charles Lamb Society and am editing a volume of the Lambs' children's writing for OUP at present, which in 2021-2022 was funded by a Leverhulme Fellowship. 

I'm keen to think about the ways in which the Lambs used their creative work as a way through trauma, illness and grief. This connects with my work for the Stoneygate Centre for Empathic Healthcare, where I teach creative writing as part of the medical curriculum, currently offered as an SSC. 


I also write on Unitarian networks of readers and writers in the Romantic and Victorian periods, with a focus on women writers, including Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Mary Hays, Elizabeth Hays Lanfear (whose strange forgotten novel I co-edited with Tim Whelan in 2019), Harriet Martineau and Elizabeth Gaskell. 

Before coming to Leicester in 2009, I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, where I researched family biographies and life-writing among Dissenters. 

I completed my Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education at Leicester in 2013, with distinction. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


I have two main overlapping areas of research: the writings of Charles and Mary Lamb, and Dissenting networks in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I am currently holding a Leverhulme Fellowship to edit Volume 3, Works for Children, in the ""Complete Works of Charles and Mary Lamb"", under contract with OUP, general editor Gregory Dart. I've written on the Lambs' friendships and reading practices in ""Charles Lamb, Coleridge and Wordsworth: Reading Friendship in the 1790s"" (Palgrave: 2008);  and as part of ""Great Shakespeareans"" ed. Adrian Poole (2010). I have written the entry for Charles and Mary Lamb for Oxford Bibliographies Online (2013), and published a number of articles and chapters on the Lambs, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Thomas Manning, friendship among Romantic writers, and Dissenting communities more broadly.

 I have been involved with several AHRC research projects to investigate forms of creative community and women’s life-writing, past and present, and these inform my collection of essays, ""Writing Lives Together"" (2017), co-edited with Dr Julian North, and an edition of a lost radical novel, Elizabeth Hays Lanfear’s ""Fatal Errors"" (Routledge, 2019), co-edited with Tim Whelan. 


Books and Editions 

The Collected Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume III, 'Works for Children' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2023)

Fatal Errors: or, Poor Mary Anne, by Elizabeth Hays Lanfear (Abingdon: Routledge, 2019) 

Critical edition of this lost radical novel by the sister of Mary Hays, co-edited with Tim Whelan

Charles Lamb, Coleridge and Wordsworth: Reading Friendship in the 1790s, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). Shortlisted for the CCUE first book prize. 

Edited Books

Writing Lives Together, co-edited with Julian North (Routledge: 2017)

Edited collection of essays following a special issue of the journal Life-Writing.  

Religious Dissent and the Aikin-Barbauld Circle, 1740-1860, co-edited with Ian Inkster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). 

Book Chapters 

'Romantic Dissent' in The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism and Religion, ed. Jeffrey Barbeau (Cambridge, 2021)

'Essays in Familiarity: Lamb and the evolution of Elia, ""Of Essays"", ed. Thomas Karshan and Kathryn Murphy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)

'Cultural participation and the place of history: a case study of Peterborough societies, past and present', Culture and Power: Histories of participation, values and governance, eds. Eleonora Belfiore and Lisanne Gibson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

'Romantic Readers', The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism, ed. David Duff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).  

'Susanna Watts and Elizabeth Heyrick: Collaborative campaigning in the Midlands, 1820-1834', with Rebecca Shuttleworth, Women's Literary Networks of the Romantic Period, eds. Andrew Winckles, Angela Rehbein, Alan Vardy (Liverpool University Press, 2017)

'Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the forging of the Romantic literary coterie', Re-evaluating the Literary Coterie, 1580-1830, eds. Will Bowers and Hannah Leah Crumm (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) 


I would welcome postgraduate students with research interests in any of the following:
•  Charles Lamb, Charles Lloyd, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and their circles
•  Anna Letitia Barbauld and her circle
•  Writing of the 1790s
•  Romanticism and religious Dissent in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (including but not limited to Unitarianism)
•  Life-writing, biography and autobiography in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

Current co-supervised PhD students are working on Elizabeth Gaskell; Gaskell and Austen; the Minerva Press; the Romantic regional novel; Mary Shelley and Sara Coleridge; and women's experimental life-writing. I've supervised PGR students working on 'Susanna Watts and Elizabeth Heyrick: Women's Writing in the Midlands, 1750-1850'; on Elizabeth Gaskell and citizenship; Godwin and Holcroft; Thomas Manning; and John Ruskin. 


EN1025: Introduction to Writing Creatively, Part 1

EN1010: Reading English

EN2050/2350: Love Wars: Gender, Writing and Society

EN2147: Romanticism: Revolutionary Writing From Blake to Shelley

EN3010: Dissertation

EN3208: Sex and Sensibility: Women, Writing, Revolution

I also teach on the MA in Victorian Studies, on the MA in Creative Writing, and on Editing and Textual Cultures. I am employed part-time at the Centre for Empathic Healthcare where I teach creative writing as part of a SSC for medical students. 

Press and media

I have done features on Charles and Mary Lamb such as the Slightly Foxed Podcast on Dissent and Romanticism.


I am Co-Chair of the Charles Lamb Society and on the editorial board of the Charles Lamb Bulletin; I regularly organise online talks, events and study days relating to Charles and Mary Lamb and their circle: Previous conferences have included ‘Coleridge and Lamb in London’ with speakers including Richard Holmes; a bicentenary celebration of Mary Lamb’s essay ‘On Needlework’, ‘Lamb, Leigh Hunt and The Reflector’, and ‘Charles and Mary Lamb’s Children’s Writing’. 
I am on the editorial board of the Gaskell Journal, the University of Strasbourg journal, RANAM, and the Jadavpur Centre for Victorian Studies Online Journal. 


2020 Leverhulme Research Fellowship
2018 Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism 
2015-6 Short-term Huntington Fellowship to support research on the Collected Works of Charles and Mary Lamb.
2012-2017 Co-Investigator, AHRC large-scale research project, ‘Understanding Everyday Participation’  
2012-2016 Principal Investigator, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award to support a PhD student working on the project ‘Women’s Writing in the Midlands, 1750-1830’ 
2012-2014 Member, AHRC network grant, ‘Creative Communities: 1750-1830’ 
2012 UKIERI grant to participate in a staff exchange with the Centre for Victorian Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. 
2011 JSPS Invitation Fellowship to the University of Nagoya, Japan, hosted by Dr. Kaz Oishi 


I co-hosted 'Table Talks' as part of Andrew McInnes' Romantic Ridiculous AHRC-funded project, 2021:
I delivered the public lecture for the Hazlitt Society Day School in September 2018. 
I delivered the keynote for Writing Romantic Lives: Undergraduate and Postgraduate Symposium, hosted by Edge Hill University and Keele University in November 2017.
I was a keynote speaker at the summer conference of the Wordsworth Conference Foundation in 2011, 2014 and 2017. 


FHEA. 2014
PGCERT in Academic Practice in HE. 2014. University of Leicester.  
D.Phil.  2005. University of Oxford. 
M.St.  2001. University of Oxford. 
BA. (Hons)   2000. University of Oxford. 

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