Professor Gordon Campbell

Personal details | Publications | Research | Media

Emeritus Professor and Fellow in Renaissance Studies

Gordon Campbell

Department: English


Address: School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road,Leicester, LE1 7RH

Personal details


  • MA (Queen's), DPhil (York), DLitt (York), Dr hc (Bucharest), HonDLitt (Leicester), FBA, MAE, FSA, FLS, FRHistS, FRGS, FRAS, HonFEA

Fellowships, memberships, honours

Activities and Responsibilities


External (current)

  • Member of many advisory and editorial boards for journals and series
  • Reader for various publishers, especially OUP, for which I have read scores of proposals and manuscripts on Art History, Classical Studies, History, Journals, Literature, Reference and Religion.

External (past)

  • Founding Chair, UK4 Saudi (now the UK Saudi Interest Group)
  • Founding Chair, Standing Committee, International Milton Symposium
  • Leader, Education Delegation (parliamentarians and sector representatives), Round Two of Two Kingdoms' Dialogue [negotiation between governments of UK and Saudi Arabia]
  • Chair, President, Trustee and Treasurer, English Association
  • Chair, Society for Renaissance Studies
  • Member, Advisory Council, The Warburg Institute
  • Member, Advisory Council for Arts Faculty, University of Warwick
  • Member, Liturgical Planning Group for the reburial of Richard III, Leicester Cathedral
  • Member and sometime chair, DelPHE Iraq Steering Committee (a DfID project)


I have lectured, examined or reviewed provision at most pre-1992 British universities, and in scores of countries abroad. Named lectures include

  • the Bentall Lectures in Christian Theology at University of Calgary
  • the Botanic Garden Lecture, University of Leicester
  • the Charles Moorman Distinguished Professorship Lecture at University of Southern Mississippi
  • the Distinguished Lecture on the History of Text Technologies at Florida State University
  • the Distinguished Patrides Lecture, University of York
  • the Dr Williams's Library Annual Lecture
  • the James Spalding Memorial Lecture at University of Iowa
  • the Leo Miller Memorial Lecture at University of Colorado
  • the Maren-Sofie Røstvig Lectures at University of Oslo
  • a Passmore Edwards Lecture at University of Oxford
  • the Sir Henry Stephenson Lecture at Sheffield
  • the Sir Philip Sidney Lecture at Shrewsbury
  • the Sir Syed Memorial Lecture at Aligarh Muslim University
  • the Society of Friends of Milton's Cottage Annual Lecture, Mercers' Hall, London

Invited lectures and keynote lectures outside Britain have included  Ahvaz University, American University of Beirut, Association Française des Amis de Newman (Paris), Aoyama Gakuin University, Baylor University, El Beida University, Benghazi University, Bible Lands Museum (Jerusalem), Bilgi University, Bucharest University, Calvin College,  Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours), Cluj  University, Eötvös Loránd University, Fort Myer (Arlington, VA), Fondazione Carical (Matera), Gharyan University, Harvard Club (New York City), Hebrew University (Jerusalem), Iaşi University, Isfahan Central Library, Istanbul University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, King Abdulaziz University, King Faisal University, King Khalid University, King Saud University, Lebanese American University, Le Moyne College, Misratah University, The Mount (Edith Wharton’s house), Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma State University, Philadelphia Free Library, Pierpont Morgan Library, Plovdiv University, Pontifical Biblical Institute (Vatican), Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton University, Pretoria University, Purdue University, St Louis University, Sebha University, Sofia University, Timişoara University, Tower Hill Botanic Garden (Boylston MA), Tripoli University, Tromsø  University, Universidad de Alcalá, Universidad de Las Palmas, Universidad de Zaragoza , Universitat de Lleida, Université de Fribourg, Université de Lausanne, Université de Strasbourg, Université Grenoble Alpes, University of Cape Town, University of the Bosphorus, University of the Western Cape, University of Waterloo, Witwatersrand University, William Carey University, and Zawia University

Within the UK, I gave scores of lectures on the quatercentenaries of Milton's birth (2008) and the King James Bible (2011)

My most recent public lecture in Leicester was University of Leicester: the first 100 years.

International interests

I have taught in Denmark (Århus University) and Canada (University of British Columbia), visited South Africa as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Science Development (Pretoria), examined in India (including 75+ PhD theses for Aligarh Muslim University), Luxembourg, Finland (Tampere) and Pakistan (Sindh), and lectured on academic and professional subjects all over the world. Such professional travel has taken me to some 70 countries, and I have travelled with scholarly intent in many others, on all seven continents. The British Council has sponsored visits to Bulgaria, Hungary, Libya, Romania, Saudi Arabia,  and Spain, and I have twice travelled to Iran as a guest of the Iranian Ministry of Science and Technology.

My work overseas has brought me into close contact with the British Council, some 100 of whose offices and resource centres I have visited. I have initiated and/or negotiated split-degree programmes in Hong Kong and Malaysia, a post-graduate Law programme in Cyprus, a World Bank biotechnology project in Indonesia, a teacher-training programme in Brunei, a staff-development programme in eastern Turkey, an FCO shared scholarship scheme in India, a Soros shared scholarship scheme in Hungary and a women's PhD programme in Saudi Arabia. In South Africa I have offered advice on the redressing of historic imbalances through selective funding; in Beirut, where I was the first British academic visitor in fifteen years, I contributed my mite to the process of reconstruction; in the West Bank, throughout the years when schools and universities were closed during the first intifada, I gave assistance to Palestinians in need of higher education. My work in Eastern and Central Europe has included academic and professional lectures, a book scheme in which I sent 6000 new books to 15 libraries in six countries, mediation between universities and organisations such as the British Council, the Soros Foundation, Tempus and the World Bank, and assistance with recognition of professional qualifications (especially Engineering) by EU organisations. I also had special responsibility for Eastern and Central Europe within ESSE, of which I was one of eight founder members.

I have long had a particular interest in the Islamic world, to which I have made well over a hundred visits. I was the founding chair of the British Universities Iraq Consortium (BUIC), in which capacity I visited Baghdad and chaired meetings at ministerial level. I was also the founding chair of a consortium of British universities (now known as the UK Saudi Interest Group) active in Saudi Arabia, and in this capacity travelled to Riyadh for the Two Kingdoms Dialogue (led on the UK side by the Foreign Secretary), where I chaired the education negotiations with the Saudi Minister of Higher Education.  Pro bono work for HMG has mostly been for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but has also included the Department for International Development, the Department for Education and the (former) Department of Trade and Industry.  I have also worked as a consultant for the British government, for which I drafted a cross-governmental strategy for the support of education in the Islamic world. I have given scores of radio interviews on news items relating to the Middle East.

Academic and professional travel

I have made academic or professional visits to more than 70 countries. Click here for details.


I am a Renaissance and seventeenth-century specialist with particular interests in John Milton and in the history of the Bible. Broader interests in cultural history on which I publish include art, architecture, classical antiquity, garden history, legal history, historical theology and the Nordic world. I have long had an interest in reference materials, and in the past 15 years have written an 800,000-word encyclopaedia, edited three multi-volume encyclopaedias, contributed to various electronic resources (including 1200+ entries in Grove Art Online and almost 400 entries in the 4th edition of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church ), and participated in the construction of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online.

In recent years I have published a book on hermits and hermitages in Georgian gardens, entitled The Hermit in the Garden: from Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome (2014) and a small book entitled A Short History of Gardens (2016), which was republished in a still shorter version as Garden History: A Very Short Introduction in 2019.  My edited Oxford Illustrated History of the Renaissance was also published in 2019, and a Chinese translation is in progress. My monograph  Norse America: the story of a founding myth was published by OUP in 2021.

The Bible

2011 was the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible.  Since then I have given more than 100 talks on the KJV in Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Romania, Switzerland, the United States and the Vatican. Venues have included cathedrals (Bristol, Ely, Exeter, Leicester, Lichfield, Norwich, Sheffield and Winchester), churches (Anglican/ Episcopal, Catholic, Methodist,  United Reform), clubs (including the Athenaeum in London and the Harvard Club in New York), exhibitions (including Atlanta, Charlotte NC, Colorado Springs, Edinburgh, Jerusalem, Oklahoma City, Santa Clarita CA, and Springfield MO), libraries (including the Philadelphia Free Library), the Inns of Court (Gray's Inn), learned societies (including the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow), literary festivals (Althorp, Belfast, Bloxham) and universities. I published a monograph on the history of the King James Bible (released as an audiobook read by Julian Elfer in October 2018) and an edition of the 1611 text; the British government bought 21,144 copies of my edition of the Bible, and presented a copy to every primary and secondary school in England. I also contributed to BBC radio and television programmes on the KJV.

From 2011 to 2017 I spent a significant portion of my time working as lead historian for the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC . In America I continue to serve as Senior Bible Consultant and Scholar for the Great Bible Race, a King James Bible video game with more than 17,000 questions.

Richard III

In August 2012 University of Leicester archaeologists discovered  the bones of Richard III in a Leicester car park.  Many departments (including Genetics, Engineering, Medicine, History and English) were enabled to contribute to the identification and understanding of the discovery.  My small contribution arose from an interest in the history of liturgy. I was appointed by the University to serve as one of the liturgists charged with drafting the three services  for the reburial of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in March 2015; I subsequently contributed a chapter to a short book on The Richard III Reinterment Liturgies. At the re-interment service I delivered the eulogy for King Richard. I also worked as historical and liturgical consultant for DSP, the company that made the broadcasts for Channel 4.


Selected interviews and broadcasts (since 2011)

Most of my media work (usually radio) until 2010 was concerned with the Middle East, though in 2008 I was involved in several programmes covering aspects of the life of Milton. I began to keep records in 2011.  Click here for a list of c. 100  interviews and broadcasts from 2011 onwards.


I have written or edited 26 books (in 31 volumes), edited several journals (including 10 volumes of Renaissance Studies and 13 volumes of Review of English Studies), served as general editor of series (including the 13-volume Oxford Complete Works of John Milton, with Thomas Corns), written 100+ articles and chapters, and contributed c. 2000 entries to reference books.

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