Emma Major


BA (Cantab), MA, PhD (York)

Emma Major did her first degree in English Literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where she was elected a Foundation Scholar in 1993. She came to York because of its interdisciplinary MA and exceptional scholars, and then stayed on for a PhD at the Department of English and Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She has taught at the Universities of York, Leeds, and Sheffield Hallam, where she was Senior Lecturer 2006-8 before returning to York.

In addition to her published reviews for scholarly and literary publications, she has peer-reviewed projects for the AHRC, Routledge, and Ashgate. She regularly peer-reviews articles on a wide range of topics in the period 1600-1950 for international scholarly journals. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the AHRC funded project Elizabeth Montagu and the Bluestocking Circle. http://www.elizabethmontaguletters.co.uk/people



 "[This is] a wonderfully rich and impressive study. It provides an original new assessment of women's public and religious sensibilities, and it also demonstrates convincingly that female religiosity was central to contemporaries' conceptualization of public life." - Kathryn Gleadle, The Journal of British Studies

"Madam Britannia is sweeping but only in the best sense of the word. The writing is clear, the ideas relevant, and the research admirable. Such engagement with wide sweeping primary texts is demanding work, and readers will appreciate Major for doing so with such aplomb." - Kathryn Stasio, ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts

"Exceptional scholarship ... Major's strength lies in her nearly exhaustive cataloguing of relevant media ... I will take a moment to celebrate this book as a superb example of a cultural studies approach" - Robin Runia, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies

"This exhaustively researched and heavily annotated study ... goes beyond its precursors and into fascinating new territory ... This is an important book for academics" - Michael Wheeler, Church Times



Emma Major’s research interests lie in debates about gender, nation, Christianity, and class. Since the publication of her book Madam Britannia: Women, Church, and Nation 1712-1812 (Oxford UP, 2011), she has written two chapters for edited collections: an essay on Catherine Talbot, and another on religion and national identity in 1688. She has ongoing interests in debates in the 1680s and 1690s, and in Charlotte Yonge and Margaret Oliphant. She is currently working on two monographs, one on Anna Laetitia Barbauld and concepts of the public, and the other on religion, rebellion, and nation in the 1840s.

She has supervised MA and PhD dissertations by students in English, History, and History of Art, on a broad range of topics and writers, from The Tatler and The Spectator, Samuel Richardson, and Eliza Haywood, to the Oxford movement, Mrs Humphry Ward, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Two of her doctoral students recently successfully completed PhDs: one on female Quaker readers 1885-1925, and the other on Henry Fielding’s early work. She enjoys co-supervising with colleagues from English, History of Art, and History, and welcomes interdisciplinary projects.


Emma Major, “‘That glory may dwell in our land’: The Bible, Britannia, and the Glorious Revolution”, in The Oxford Handbook to the Early Modern Bible, edited by Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie (forthcoming, Oxford UP, 2014)

Emma Major, “The Life of Catherine Talbot: ‘A Public Concern’”, Religion and Women 1660-1760 edited by Hannah Smith and Sarah Apetrei (forthcoming, Ashgate, 2014).

Emma Major, introd. and ed., ‘Eighteenth-Century Polemic’, in The Convents and the Outside World, ed. Carmen Mangion, contributing editors Michael Questier, Emma Major, and Caroline Bowden, volume 6 of English Convents in Exile, 6 vols, general editor Caroline Bowden (Pickering and Chatto, 2013).

Emma Major, Madam Britannia: Women, Church, and Nation 1712-1812 (Oxford University Press, 2011) http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199699377.do

Major, ‘Nature, nation and denomination: Barbauld’s taste for the public’, ELH 74, Winter 2007. 

Major, ‘Femininity and National Identity: Elizabeth Montagu’s Trip to France’, ELH 72, Winter 2005.

Major, ‘The Politics of Sociability: The Public Dimensions of the Bluestocking Millennium’, in Reconsidering the Bluestockings, edited by Nicole Pohl and Betty Schellenberg, (Huntington Library Press), also published as The Huntington Library Quarterly (vol. 65: 1 and 2).

Major, forty-two articles written or revised for the New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).


Contact Details

Tel: 01904 324974
Room: K/G73
E-mail: emma.major@york.ac.uk
Department: English and Related Literature