Professor Philip Shaw

Personal details | Publications | Research | Teaching | Supervision | Media

Professor of Romantic StudiesProfessor Phil Shaw

Department: English

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2632


Office: Room 1310, Attenborough Tower

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

Personal details


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 completing an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. This early enthusiasm informed my decision to pursue a PhD exploring conceptual and historicist approaches to Romantic period literature, with a particular emphasis on poetry by Wordsworth and Byron. My subsequent research continues to address the relations between literature, history and philosophy in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, focusing on literary and visual representations of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars and the concept of the Sublime. At present I am working on a range of projects that engage with Wordsworth's later poetry, including collaborations with the Wordsworth Museum and Lancaster University.

As well as leading on the AHRC Leadership Fellow project Wordsworth 2020 and the AHRC Research Network Passions of War I have worked as a co-investigator on the AHRC/Tate Major Research Project The Sublime Object. 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.


  • BA University of Liverpool
  • PhD University of Liverpool
  • Fellow of the English Association
  • Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy


BooksSuffering and Sentiment in Romantic Military Art

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 journal articles and essays

  • 'Waterloo and British Romanticism' for Studies in Romanticism 56.3 (Fall 2017): 309-420
  • ‘Stendhal, Sebald and the Return of Waterloo’. ‘Waterloo Remembered: The Literary Reception of the Battle of Waterloo in the 19th Century’, Interférences littéraires, 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): 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): 249-68
  • The Prelude as History’, The Oxford Handbook of William Wordsworth, ed. by Richard Gravil and Daniel Robinson (Oxford University Press, 2015): 414-29
  • ‘The Sublime’, William Wordsworth in Context, ed. by Andrew Bennett (Cambridge University Press, 2015): 283-90
  • ‘Turner’s Desert Storm’, Tracing War in British Enlightenment and Romantic Culture, ed. by Neil Ramsey and Gillian Russell (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 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): 186-207
  • ‘On War: De Quincey’s Martial Sublime’, Romanticism, 19.1 (2013): 19-30
  • ‘Modernism and the Sublime’, The Art of the Sublime, ed. by Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding, Tate Research Publication (January 2013)


My main research interests are in Romantic period literature, art and history. I am the author of an inter-disciplinary book, entitled Suffering and Sentiment in Romantic Military Art (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013), which examines representations of the effects of war on men, women and children in paintings, sketches, poetry and prose in the long eighteenth century. This book, which was supported by an AHRC Fellowship, engages with themes emerging from my earlier study, Waterloo and the Romantic Imagination (Houndmills: 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 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000) and a co-edited volume of essays entitled Visual Culture and the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (London and New York: Routledge, 2016). I recently co-edited a special issue of articles on 'Waterloo and British Romanticism' for Studies in Romanticism 56. 3 (Fall 2017), pp. 309-420.

From 2015-2017 I was the principal investigator for the AHRC Research Network Passions of War. The Network brings together EU and international participants, representing a range of academic disciplines and professional backgrounds, to investigate the influence of war, from the early modern period to the end of the Second World War, on constructions of gender and sexual practices, and how these constructions and practices have, in turn, conditioned the ways in which wars are waged, mediated, felt and understood. Research arising from the Network has been published in the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies and further work will be published in a forthcoming issue of Critical Military Studies.

In 2010 I completed an art historical project with Tate Britain entitled The Sublime Object. Drawing on research conducted for The Sublime (2nd edition; London and New York: Routledge, 2017), this three-year AHRC funded major research project gathered together a wide range of individuals under the umbrella of Tate’s Collection to debate and collaborate on a series of interrelated events and research activities focused on the role of the sublime in our perceptions of the natural world.

In 2011, I co-edited a volume of essays entitled Literature and Authenticity: 1780-1902 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011). I have also written a book-length study of Patti Smith’s debut album, Horses, for the series 33 1/3 (New York: Continuum, 2008). My practical interests in popular music are reflected in my contributions to the critically-acclaimed band Alberteen.

At present I am working on a range of projects that engage with the representation of rivers, lakes and streams in Romantic poetry, with a particular emphasis on Wordsworth's later poetry. This project, which is entitled Wordsworth 2020, is supported by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship and involves the Wordsworth Museum and Lancaster University as project partners.

I am currently working on several new research projects, including:

  • preparing a monograph entitled After Wordsworth: Conflict and Authority in the Later Poetry
  • preparing a monograph entitled Rain, Water, Romanticism
  • co-editing special issues of articles on gender, sexuality and warfare
  • editing a special issue of the Wordsworth Circle to commemorate the bicentenary of the publication of Wordsworth's 1820 collection The River Duddon


  • EN3147 Romanticism
  • EN3105 War, Trauma and the Novel
  • EN2050 From Satire to Sensibility Literature 1660-1789
  • EN3020 Romantics to Victorians: Literature 1789-1870


As a dissertation supervisor for the MA in English Studies, I welcome applications from prospective students, especially those with an interest in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century topics.

In addition to MA dissertations, I currently doctoral theses on a range of subjects, including:

  • Wordsworth and Woolf
  • Byron and Music
  • Byron and the Sublime

I am interesting in supervising doctoral research on any of the following topics:

  • British Romantic poetry and prose
  • Object-oriented Romanticism
  • Romanticism and the environment
  • Literature and global warming
  • Wordsworth
  • Byron
  • Romanticism and war
  • Romanticism and the visual arts


My work on Waterloo and British Romanticism has appeared in The Conversation and I have participated in a Late at Tate event with the choreographer Siobhan Davies, the novelist Ian McEwan and the artist David Buckland. My research on Patti Smith was featured in The Independent.

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