Professor Philip Shaw

Professor of Romantic Studies

School/Department: Arts, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2632



I am a Professor in the Department of English, specialising in British Romantic literature, literary theory, and visual culture. I developed my interest in Romanticism while pursuing an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Liverpool in the late 1980s. Following the completion of my PhD on the poetry of Wordsworth and Byron I joined the Department of English at the University of Leicester where I have taught a wide range of subjects, including eighteenth and nineteenth century literature, the novel as a genre, literary theory, visual culture, and twentieth-century and contemporary literature. I am a former Co-site Director for the Midlands4Cities Doctoral training partnership, a former Director of Postgraduate Studies for the College of Arts Humanities and Law, and a Trustee of the English Association.


My main research interests are in Romantic period literature and art, with a particular focus on the literature and visual culture of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Wordsworth After War: Recovering Peace in the Later Poetry, a book arising from my AHRC Leadership Fellow project Wordsworth 2020 (2019-21), was published by Cambridge University Press in 2023. I am the author of Suffering and Sentiment in Romantic Military Art (Ashgate 2013). This book engages with themes emerging from my earlier study Waterloo and the Romantic Imagination (Palgrave 2002). I am also the editor of a collection of essays on war and romanticism entitled Romantic Wars: Studies in Culture and Conflict 1793-1822 (Ashgate 2000), and a co-edited volume of essays entitled Visual Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (Routledge 2016). As well as leading on Wordsworth 2020 and the AHRC Research Network Passions of War (2015-17) I have worked as a co-investigator on the AHRC/Tate Major Research Project The Sublime Object (2008-10) and as Principal Investigator for the AHRC Impact and Engagement Follow-on Funding project 'Sensory Reading: A New Approach to Teaching and Learning GCSE English Literature' (2023). As curator I have worked on exhibitions at Tate Britain and the Wordsworth Museum. 



Wordsworth After War: Recovering Peace in the Later Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2023)

The Sublime, revised second edition (Routledge, 2017)

Suffering and Sentiment in Romantic Military Art (Ashgate, 2013)

Patti Smith: Horses (Continuum, 2008)

Waterloo and the Romantic Imagination (Palgrave, 2002)

Romantic Wars: Studies in Culture and Conflict, 1793-1822 (Ashgate, 2000)

Edited Books

With Satish Padiyar and Philippa Simpson (eds.), Visual Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (Routledge, 2016)

With Ashley Chantler and Michael Davies (eds.), Literature and Authenticity: 1780-1900: Essays in Honour of Vincent Newey. (Ashgate, 2011)

With Vincent Newey (ed.), Mortal Pages, Literary Lives: Studies in Nineteenth-Century Autobiography (Scholar Press, 1996)

Selected Articles and Essays

'Marginal Figures', in The Cambridge Companion to Lyrical Ballads, ed. by Sally Bushell (Cambridge University Press, 2020), pp. 118-34
'Wordsworth after Peterloo: The Persistence of War in The River Duddon and Other Poems', in Commemorating Peterloo: Violence, Resilience and Claim-making During the Romantic Era, ed. Michael Demson and Regina Hewitt (Edinburgh University Press, 2019), pp. 250-70
'Wordsworth, Waterloo and Sacrifice'. Sacrifice and Modern War Literature: from the Battle of Waterloo to the War on Terror, ed. by Alex Houen and Jan-Melissa Schraam (Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 20-33
'Stendhal, Sebald and the Return of Waterloo'. Waterloo Remembered: The Literary Reception of the Battle of Waterloo in the 19th Century, Interferences litteraires, 20 (2017): 11-26
'Longing For Home: Robert Hamilton, Nostalgia and the Emotional Life of the Eighteenth-Century Soldier', Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 39.1 (2016), pp. 25-40
'Picturing Valenciennes: Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg and the Emotional Regulation of British Military Art in the 1790s', Battlefield Emotions 1500-1800: Practices, Experience, Imagination, ed. by. Erika Kuijpers and Cornelis van der Haven (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 249-68
'The Prelude as History', The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth, ed. by Richard Gravil and Daniel Robinson (Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 414-29
'The Sublime', William Wordsworth in Context, ed. by Andrew Bennett (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 283-90
'Turner's Desert Storm', Tracing War in British Enlightenment and Romantic Culture, ed. by Neil Ramsey and Gillian Russell (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 151-70
'Betwixt Life and Death: Don Juan and the Sublime', Byron's Ghosts: The Spectral, The Spiritual, and the Supernatural, ed. by Gavin Hopps (Liverpool University Press, 2013), pp. 186-207
'On War: De Quincey's Martial Sublime', Romanticism, 19.1 (2013), pp. 19-30
'Modernism and the Sublime', The Art of the Sublime, ed. by Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding, Tate Research Publication (January 2013)


I welcome applications from prospective students, especially those with an interest in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature and visual culture. I am interesting in supervising doctoral research on any of the following topics: British Romantic poetry and prose; Wordsworth and Byron; Romanticism and war; Romanticism and the environment; Romanticism and the visual arts; literature and climate trauma; science fiction; literature and memory. 


I currently teach and convene the following modules: EN2147 Romantic Literature from Blake to Shelley; EN2025 English and Arts Journalism and EN7001 Research Methods and Writing Skills for Postgraduates. I also teach on EN2350 Eighteenth-Century Literature.  

Press and media

I am happy to provide informed perspectives on any of the following topics: British literature and art of the Romantic period; Wordsworth and Byron; the Sublime; British culture and the revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. My curatorial work on the Art of the Sublime with Tate Britain and my co-curated exhibition on Wordsworth's poetry of the River Duddon with the Wordsworth Museum has been widely publicised. I have also given interviews on the poet and rock musician Patti Smith for the Independent and German national radio. 


I am a trustee of the English Association and a former member of the executive committee of the British Association of Romantic Studies. 


I am a Fellow of the English Association and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


2019: ‘Violent Waters: Wordsworth After Peterloo’. ‘Peterloo at 200’ panel at NASSR conference Chicago 2019, 7-11 August. 2017: ‘Representing War Trauma’. Workshop at University of Oxford Rothermere American Institute, 30 August 2017. ‘Wordsworth After War’. Keynote lecture at ‘Two-way Tickets: Travel, Home and War’, a one-day conference at University of Oxford Wolfson College, 20 June 2017. 2015: ‘Missed Encounters: W. G. Sebald and the Literature of Waterloo’. Keynote lecture for ‘Relational Forms III: Imagining Europe: Wars, Territories Identities. Representations in Literature and the Arts’, a two-day conference at the University of Porto, Portugal, 19-20 November 2015. 2015: ‘Wordsworth, Waterloo and Sacrifice’. Keynote lecture at the Wordsworth Summer Conference, 3-8 August 2015. 
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