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Jon Mee



Jon Mee is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies in the English Department.

He came to York in 2013 after seven years at the University of Warwick as Professor of English and over a decade in the English Faculty at Oxford where he was Margaret Candfield Fellow in English at University College and Professor of the Literature of the Romantic Period. Before moving to Oxford, he was a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University. Jon did his undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne followed by a PhD at Cambridge. He was a Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, before moving to Australia in 1991.

His most recent book is Print, Publicity, and Popular Radicalism: The Laurel of Liberty (Cambridge University Press, 2016, paperback 2018). The research for the book was funded by an AHRC fellowship. His previous monograph, Conversable Worlds: Literature, Contention, and Community 1762-1830 (Oxford University Press), based on research funded by a Phillip J. Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, came out in paperback in 2013. During the course of working on the book, he held fellowships at the University of Chicago (2008), the Yale Centre for British Art (2009), and the Australian National University (2009). He has also held a visiting fellowship at the University of New Delhi.

Jon was PI on the Leverhulme Major Project Grant ‘Networks of Improvement’ from 2011 to 2015. The project was concerned with the circulation of ideas of all kinds through social networks (regional, national, colonial), especially as they defined other kinds of knowledge in relation to the literary. The work done on this project has developed in a number of other directions. It fed into the AHRC network grant – now completed - that he held with Dr Matt Sangster (university of Glasgow) on ‘Institutions of Literature.’ This research will be published as a collection of essays coming out from Cambridge University Press. The AHRC network grant, in turn, fed into the Royal Society of Edinburgh-funded follow-up on the 1820s, which is ongoing.

Jon was fortunate enough to spent 2016-17 as R. Stanton Avery Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library, California. The work he did there provided the basis of his current research project on the ‘Literature, Bodies, and Machines’ project that is funded by a British Academy – Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship from January 2020 to January 2021. For details see the English Department’s current featured research projects page. 

Jon is completing the Oxford World’s Classics edition of William Hazlitt’s essays with James Grande (KCL) for publication in 2020.



Beyond his current project on the industrial revolution, Literature, Bodies, and Machines: Networks of Improvement 1780-1840, Jon continues to be interested in various individual authors on whom he has previously written, Barbauld, Blake, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Keats, Wollstonecraft, and Wordsworth among them, but he is committed to supervising dissertations on authors across the 1760-1840 period. His work on the ‘transpennine enlightenment’ has given him a particular interest in Unitarian women writers associated with the region, like Barbauld, Hannah Lightbody Greg, and Elizabeth Gaskell. He is also increasingly interested in medical humanities, especially in relation to the literary physicians of the transpennine enlightenment and their research into medico-literary ideas like taste, imagination, and sensibility, including John Aikin junior, James Currie, Thomas Percival, John Ferriar, and James Phillips Kay.

Beyond individual writers, he is interested in constructions of sociability in the period, and the work of literature and the visual arts not only in representing such sociability, but also as something that flowed through and constructed these networks. This extends into his work on the role of networks in the circulation of knowledge in the period, for instance, via the literary and philosophical societies that still exist in places like Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the mapping of literary culture more generally in the Romantic period. The 1790s remains a particular decade of interest, and he retains a special research focus on the culture of radicalism as it manifested itself in ideas, various forms of social performance (from toasts to monster meetings), and print culture.


Other teaching

Jon is open to supervision on any topic in the literature and print culture of the period 1760-1840. He is especially interested in supervising dissertations on topics in the 1790s, anything in relation to the culture of radical politics in the period 1760-1840, and topics related to sociability, the circulation of knowledge, clubs and societies, or constructions of the ‘literary’ in the period 1760-1840. He has run a successful MA module – ‘Literature, Medicine, and Metropolis’ -over the past two years on York’s medical humanities MA that reflects his interests in literary physicians and the industrial revolution.

Please don’t hesitate to contact him in relation to any other topic in the long eighteenth century.


Contact details

Jon Mee
English and Related Literature
Kings Manor K/G74

Tel: +44 (0)1904 324986