School of English and Drama

Dr Will Bowers, BA (UCL), MSt (Oxford), PhD (UCL), MA (Oxford)


Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Thought

Room Number: ArtsOne 3.03


I was born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, which I left to read for a BA in English at UCL in 2006. I then had a year in Oxford for a masters, before I returned to UCL in 2010 to write a doctoral thesis on Anglo-Italian Romantic poetry with John Mullan. Before submitting my thesis, I spent a miserable but productive six months as a Yale/UCL visiting scholar at Yale University.  I worked at Newcastle University after my doctorate, and then moved to Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, and as a lecturer at New College and Oriel. I joined Queen Mary in 2019.


I was taught by generalists to be a generalist, and I believe in teaching a diverse range of forms, texts, and contexts, across periods. I keep Byron’s warning on ‘the drilled dull lesson, forced down word by word’ at the front of my mind, and heed it by trying to read and teach some new primary texts every year.


Research Interests:

  • Eighteenth-century and Romantic Poetry.
  • Literary and cultural exchange between England and Italy.
  • Coteries, salons, and sociability in the long-eighteenth century.
  • Scholarly editions and their digital future.
  • The blank verse tradition (Milton, Thomson, Akenside, Cowper, Wordsworth, Barrett-Browning).

Recent and On-Going Research

I try to maintain interests in literature from the Early Modern to the early Victorian period (the very long eighteenth-century)I co-edited Re-evaluating the Literary Coterie, 1550–1830 (Palgrave: 2016) to examine the centrality of sociability to literary production, and my current research continues this focus by looking at a specific community—the Holland House circle between 1790 and 1840—and a wider consideration of the importance of dining to the literature of the long eighteenth-century. My research on Holland House will result in a monograph, which I hope to submit in 2022, and a more diffuse digital project attempting to chronicle eighteenth-century dining culture.

I’ve published widely on Romantic literature (especially poetry) and my first monograph, The Italian Idea: Radical Anglo-Italian Literary Culture, will be published in December 2019 in the 'Studies in Romanticism' series of Cambridge University Press. I have a forthcoming article in Modern Philology on spatial memory and Milton (the vagaries of the REF mean this will be published in 2021), an essay on Byron’s cosmopolitanism for the Oxford Handbook of Lord Byron, and an essay on ‘Table talk’ for The Oxford Handbook of Romantic Prose. I am an editor on the Longman Annotated Poems of Shelley, on which I am responsible for 'The Triumph of Life' and a number of smaller lyrics (due to be delivered in January 2020). My involvement in this edition has led me to explore the viability of a new edition of Shelley’s letters.

I like reviewing and publish a couple of reviews a year for scholarly journals and the Times Literary Supplement




The Italian Idea: Anglo-Italian Radical Literary Culture, 1815–1823, Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Edited Books

Ed. (with Hannah Leah Crummé), Re-evaluating the Literary Coterie, 1550–1830 (London: Palgrave, 2016).

Essays, Articles, and Chapters

“Shelley reads Schlegel”, L’Analisi Linguistica e Letteraria, 27 (2019), 35–44.

Byron’s Rhyming Clime, Essays in Criticism, 69.2, April 2019, 157–177.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Oxford Bibliographies in British and Irish Literature, ed. Andrew Hadfield, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. 7000 words.

On first looking into Mary Shelley’s Homer, Review of English Studies, 69: 290, June 2018, 510–531.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘I visit thee but thou art sadly changed’, Notes and Queries, 64.4, December 2017, 569–572.

‘The Many Rooms of Holland House’, Re-evaluating the Literary Coterie, 1550–1830 (Palgrave, 2016), pp. 159–180.

Italian Travel, English Tourism, and Byron’s Poetry of Exile, Litteraria Pragensia, 23:46, December 2013, 86–102.

Hunt, Byron, and The Story of Rimini – A Literary Challenge to ̒the Public Mind’, Romanticism on the Net, 59, April 2011. 8,400 words.

The Dilemma of a ‘Romantic’ Anthology: Periodization and The Oxford Book of Regency Verse, Publishing History, 67, 2011, 65–89.