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School of English and Drama

Dr Matthew Mauger, BA (Warwick) MA (Queensland) PhD (London)


Senior Lecturer in English and e-Strategy Manager

Twitter: @@matthew_mauger


I have been based at Queen Mary since 2001, first as a PhD student, and more recently as a lecturer in the Department of English. I specialize in eighteenth-century literature, with a particular emphasis - in both my research and teaching - on London as a cultural and commercial centre. My recent work focusses on the British encounter with China via the eighteenth-century East India trade. I’ve written books on the cultural history of tea and on the criminal world of eighteenth-century London, and have recently published a monograph on William Blake and eighteenth-century legal writing. In my ongoing-research, I am also interested in the use of digital humanities methods in working with the vast East India Company archive at the British Library. I am proud both to live and work in Tower Hamlets in the East End of London: it’s an exciting, energetic, and profoundly surprising part of the city.


My teaching has two main focuses, both related to my research: an intellectual curiosity about the life and literature of the eighteenth-century city of London, and an interest in skills and practices associated with Digital Humanities. I regularly number among the lecturers on the popular second year eighteenth-century module Representing London, and have convened Reading William Blake. I also co-convene Criticism and Code, a module  offered to final year students keen to explore practically the exciting and experiment field of Digital Humanities.

I have taught on:

  • ESH288: Representing London: The Eighteenth Century
  • ESH351: Reading William Blake
  • ESH6000: English Research Dissertation
  • ESH6087: Criticism and Code

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH219: Representing London: The Eighteenth Century
  • ESH351: Reading William Blake
  • ESH6000: English Research Dissertation


Research Interests:

  • Intellectual, literary, and commercial life of the city of London in the eighteenth-century
  • Global commerce, culture, and identity in the eighteenth century
  • Poetry of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth centuries
  • Enlightenment legal discourse and the history of crime
  • Skills-based learning in the discipline of English Studies

Recent and ongoing research

My research focuses on the literary and intellectual life of London in the eighteenth century, and on the tracing the eighteenth-century flows of commodities, people, and ideas between Britain and the part of the world described in the period as 'the East Indies'. I have published articles on Blake’s legislative architecture, the literature of penal transportation, forms of trade literature (such as gauger’s guides), and on the City of London as a space for commerce, mercantile life, and civic government. With Markman Ellis and Richard Coulton I have published a study on the cultural history of tea across the long-eighteenth century (The Empire of Tea: How an Asian Leaf Conquered Britain. With Richard Coulton and Chris Reid I have also published a collaborative study exploring the theft of books in eighteenth-century London (Stealing Books in Eighteenth-Century London). Most recently, I have published a monograph – William Blake and the Visionary Law – which explores Blake’s obsessive focus on the legal structures which define human society.




  • William Blake and the Visionary Law - Prophecy, Legislation and Rights (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)
  • Stealing Books in Eighteenth Century London, with Chris Reid and Richard Coulton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
  • The Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World, with Markman Ellis and Richard Coulton (Reaktion, 2015)

Selected Publications

  • '“To Rub the Nose in the Tea”: Smell, Taste, and the Assessment of Quality in Early-Nineteenth Century Tea Retail', in Shopping and the Senses: A Sensory History of Retail and Consumption, 1800-1975, ed. by Serena Dyer (Palgrave, 2021)
  • 'Administrative fictions of domestic manufacture: Eighteenth-century excise guides', Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture 48 (2019): 139-159
  • 'Writing Tea's Empire', in Annals of Science 75 (2018): 255-259
  • '"Observe how parts with parts unite / In one harmonious rule of right": William Blackstone's Verses on the Laws of England', Law and Humanities (2012)
  • ‘"A Most Exquisite Dilemma": Conscience, Dissent, and the Limits of Civic Authority in London's Sheriffs Case’, London Journal (2012)
  • ed., Tea and the Tea-Table in Eighteenth-Century England, Vol. 3: Tea, Commerce and the East India Company (Pickering & Chatto, 2010)
  • ‘The Discourses of Law and Architecture in Blake’s The Four Zoas’, Romanticism, 12 (2006)
  • ‘Criminal History Transported: An Enquiry into the Literary Origins of the Australian Convict Narratives’, Australian Studies, 16 (2001)

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.

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