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School of English and Drama

Hannah Donovan


Somatic Dreaming in Romantic Literature



I began my PhD at Queen Mary in 2017, having completed my BA and MA at the University of Bristol. After co-organizing a postgraduate conference on representations of sleep during my MA, I completed my thesis on dreams as performative, architectural sites of introspection in the works of John Keats and Mary Tighe.

My PhD thesis is (in part) a continuation of this thinking, and explores the connections between literary representations of dreams and eighteenth to early nineteenth-century theories of sleep, dream and cognition. I will largely be focusing on De Quincey's extraordinary accounts of his opium induced dream-visions, and the central place they hold within his creative project. In this period, dreams were considered to be psychic reflections of corporeal distemper, and demonstrative of an interconnected body and mind. I am interested in tracing how these ideas were read and disseminated within contemporary literary circles, and the ways in which they impacted Romantic (and particularly De Quincey's) understanding of an embodied mind and its relation to literary production.

I'm on the organizing committee for The London Eighteenth Century Reading Group, and Queen Mary's Postgraduate Research Seminar.


I have taught on Reading, Theory and Interpretation ESH102



Prof. David Duff, Dr. Shahidha Bari