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School of English and Drama

Professor Michael Gamer, (PhD Michigan, M.A York)


British Academy Global Professor



I grew up mostly in California near mountains and desert, and as an undergraduate studied mathematics and economics while reading fiction and poetry on the side. I shifted into the humanities thanks to excellent teachers at the University of York (M.A. 1988) and Michigan (PhD 1993), and have found an institutional home at the University of Pennsylvania from 1994 to 2019.

In January of 2020 I arrived at QMUL as a British Academy Global Professor. My appointment is for four-years. While here I'll be writing on early melodrama and romanticism, and editing the works of Ann Radcliffe.


Research Interests:

  • Theatre and Performance
  • Romanticism, and more broadly literature and culture 1660-1914
  • The History of Emotions
  • The Business of Literature
  • Material approaches to culture


Recent and On-Going Research

Romantic Melodrama: Feeling in Search of Form is a four-year integrated project of research that will culminate in an online database and a monograph. Bringing the disciplines of English and Theatre Studies together, the research seeks to understand how melodrama expressed a revolution in ideas and forms of literary affect in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Taking its cues from contemporary responses to the form, where audiences experienced melodrama’s powerful stage effects and highly-wrought scenes of suspense as a sort of augmented reality, the project describes how techniques (such as continuous music, extensive pantomime, and immersive soundscapes) heightened the affective experiences of audiences. More pointedly, it asks how these same techniques produced similar vocabularies and practices in other printed genres, repositioning theatre as an exemplary and revealing form in Romantic culture.

The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ann Radcliffe (Michael Gamer and Angela Wright, General Editors) will be the first complete scholarly edition of Radcliffe's works, and will include her five Gothic romances, her travelogue, and her posthumous work and poetry. The Italian and The Mysteries of Udolpho are scheduled to appear in 2023.



  • Interacting with Print: Elements of Reading in the Era of Print Saturation. University of Chicago Press, 2018. A 'multigraph' of twenty essays, each written by at least six members of the Multigraph Collective. Its aim is to change how we think about the book and other print media by addressing the full range of cultural practices of intermediality in Europe between 1700 and 1900, each essay focusing on a key term to resituate print and book history within a broader media ecology.
  • Romanticism, Self-Canonization, and the Business of Poetry. Cambridge University Press, 2017; Paperback 2019.
  • Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation. Cambridge University Press: hardcover 2000; paperback 2006.


  • Women's Travel Writing in India Volume 2: Eliza Fay, Original Letters from India (1817) and The Memoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell (1815). Co-edited with Katrina O'Loughlin. Taylor and Francis, 2020.
  • Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads 1798 and 1800. Co-edited with Dahlia Porter. Peterborough, Canada: Broadview Press, 2008.
  • Manon Lescaut and The Romance of Real Life, volume 1 of The Works of Charlotte Smith. Stuart Curran, General Editor. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2005.
  • The Broadview Anthology of Romantic Drama. Co-edited with Jeffrey N. Cox. Peterborough, Canada: Broadview Press, 2003.
  • Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto. Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2002.

Edited Collection:

  • A Cultural History of Tragedy, Volume 5: In the Age of Empire. Co-edited with Diego Saglia. Rebecca Bushnell, General Editor. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters:

  • *'Affect in the Margins: Marking Readers in the Elegiac Sonnets.' Co-authored with Katrina O’Loughlin. Material Transgressions: Beyond Romantic Bodies, Genders, Things. Eds. Suzanne Barnett, Ashley Cross, and Kate Singer. Liverpool University Press, June 2020.
  • 'Gothic.' Cambridge Guide to Mary Wollstonecraft. Ed. Nancy Johnson and Paul Keen. Cambridge University Press, 2020. Pages 289-96.
  • *'Manfred and Melodrama.' Co-authored with Jeffrey Cox. Lord Byron's Manfred: A Commemorative Bicentennial Volume. Ed. Omar F. Miranda. Romantic Circles Praxis Edition, 2019. URL:
  • *'Gothic Melodrama.' The Cambridge Companion to Melodrama. Ed. Carolyn Williams. Cambridge University Press, 2018. Pages 31-46.
  • *'Oeuvre-Making and Canon Formation.' The Oxford Handbook of Romanticism, ed. David Duff. Oxford University Press, 2018. Pages 449-63.
  • '''And the explosion immediately takes place": Romantic Tragedy and the End(s) of Melodrama.' Romantic Dialectics: Culture, Gender, Theatre. Eds. Serena Baiesi and Stuart Curran. Bern: Peter Lang, 2018. Pages 184-201.

Public Engagement

  • 'Prospecting Playbills,' Omnia: All Things Penn Arts and Science (Spring/Summer 2018): 42-49. URL: Reprinted in Penn News Today (May 2018):
  • Romantic Circles Book Chat, August 2017, URL: A discussion about Romanticism, Self-Canonization, and the Business of Poetry featuring Jeffrey Cox, Devoney Looser, Devin Griffiths, and Kirstyn Leuner.
  • ‘From databases to digital maps, students lend expertise’, Penn Today (27 July 2017). URL:
  • 'AustenWorld: English Professor Michael Gamer on why Jane Austen may be more popular than ever, two centuries after her death,' Omnia: All Things Penn Arts and Science (Spring/Summer 2017): Reprinted Penn News Today (20 July 2017).
  • 'Manfred Follow Up: Jeffrey Cox and Michael Gamer.' The Keats-Shelley Association of America, May 20, 2017;
  • 'English Prof’s study of the business of Romantic poetry,' PennCurrent (27 April 2017), URL:
  • 'Interacting with Print Presents Print Talks: Andrew Piper talks with Michael Gamer.' March 22, 2013: