Accessibility statement

John Barrell


MA (Cantab), PhD (Essex), FBA

Professor John Barrell has published widely on the literature, history and art of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Britain, focusing on language, landscape, law, empire, theories of society and progress, and the theory of painting. Most recently, with Tim Whelan of Georgia Southern University he has co-edited The Complete Writings of William Fox (Trent Editions, 2011) and his book Edward Pugh of Ruthin 1763-1813 (University of Wales Press, 2013).  



Professor Barrell has supervised doctoral dissertations on the following subjects:

  • The Idea of Solitude in English Pastoral
  • Eighteenth-Century Didactic Poetry
  • Wordsworth and the Sense of Place
  • Romantic Irony
  • The Whig Idea of Landscape
  • The Rhetoric of Political Economy
  • George Crabbe
  • Wordsworth and the Discourse of the Sublime
  • The Poetry of Charles Tomlinson
  • The Criticism and Politics of Coleridge
  • Political Economy and the Novel
  • The Supernatural, 1770-1800;
  • The Technology of English Watercolour Painting
  • Law and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Scotland
  • Prostitution and the Eighteenth-Century Novel
  • Literary History and the Nation, 1790-1830
  • Representations of Slavery in the Romantic Period
  • The Idea of 'Literature' in the 1790s
  • Picturesque Tours of Scotland
  • Perambulations of Eighteenth-Century London
  • Romantic Ideas of Genius
  • The Politics of Coleridge's Poetry
  • George IV: a Caricature Biography
  • Plebeian Prospects, 1750-1830
  • The Rhetoric of Political Pamphlets 1790-99
  • Rossetti and Ekphrasis
  • Idleness and Aesthetic Education 1770-1830
  • Representations of the Crowd 1770-1849

Selected publications

Books by John Barrell include:

  • The Idea of Landscape and the Sense of Place 1730-1840: An Approach to the Poetry of John Clare (London and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1972);
  • editor, S.T. Coleridge, On the Constitution of the Church and State According to the Idea of Each (London: Everyman University Library, 1972);
  • co-editor, with John Bull, The Penguin Book of Pastoral Verse (London: Allen Lane, 1974);
  • The Dark Side of the Landscape: the Rural Poor in English Painting, 1730-1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980);
  • English Literature in History 1730-1780: An Equal, Wide Survey , in the series English Literature in History, general editor Raymond Williams (London: Hutchinson, and New York: St Martin's, 1983);
  • The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt: 'The Body of the Public' (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1986);
  • Poetry, Language and Politics (Manchester: Manchester University Press, and New York: St Martin's, 1988);
  • The Infection of Thomas De Quincey: A Psychopathology of Imperialism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981);
  • The Birth of Pandora and the Division of Knowledge (London: Macmillan, and Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992);
  • editor, Painting and the Politics of Culture: New Essays on British Art 1700-1850 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992);
  • Imagining the King's Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide 1793-1796 ( Oxford and New York : Oxford University Press, 2000);
  • editor, Exhibition Extraordinary!! Radical Broadsides of the Mid 1790s ( Nottingham : Trent Editions, 2001);
  • The Spirit of Despotism: Invasions of Privacy in the 1790s ( Oxford and New York : Oxford University Press, 2006);
  • co-editor, with Jon Mee, Trials for Treason and Sedition 1792-1794, 8 vols (London: Pickering and Chatto: 2006-7);
  • co-editor, with Tim Whelan, The Political Pamphlets of William Fox ( Nottingham : Trent Editions, 2009).

Professional activities

Professor Barrell is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the English Association, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters of the University of Chicago, and an honorary D. Litt, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

John Barrell

Contact details