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School of English and Drama

Professor Christopher Reid, MA (Cambridge) PhD (London)


Professor of Rhetoric



Before joining Queen Mary as a lecturer I read English at Cambridge and completed a PhD at UCL on Edmund Burke.  My doctoral work led to the publication of my first book, Edmund Burke and the Practice of Political Writing, in 1985. Eighteenth-century literature and history, and political rhetoric in a broader sense, have been the focus of much of my subsequent teaching and research.

Undergraduate Teaching

I have taught on:

  • ESH204: Argument and Address
  • ESH219: Representing London: The Eighteenth Century
  • ESH223: Satire, Scandal and Society 1700-40
  • ESH324: The Revolution Controversy: Politics and Genre
  • ESH6035: Samuel Pepys and his World


Research Interests:

  • Eighteenth-century literature and history
  • Political rhetoric and oratory
  • Parliamentary history
  • Eighteenth-century popular culture
  • Rural life and writing in the eighteenth century

Recent and On-Going Research:

Most of my recent work has been concerned with political writing and oratory. My book on Burke led to related articles and chapters on Burke, R. B. Sheridan, and the history of parliamentary speaking, and culminated in my monograph, Imprison'd Wranglers: The Rhetorical Culture of the House of Commons 1760-1800 (Oxford, 2012), which looks at speakers, speeches, and their dissemination through print in parliamentary oratory's golden age. As an editor and contributor to Oratory in Action (Manchester, 2004) I looked at oratory in the post-war House of Commons. Continuing these themes, I have recently completed articles on  the King’s Speech in the eighteenth century and Prime Minister’s Questions and the rhetoric of political leadership . In Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture: A Selection (Oxford, 2000), which I edited with John Mullan, I looked at cultural interactions between the elite and popular spheres. My current research is developing that inquiry in both urban and rural contexts, in the form of a short book on book theft in eighteenth-century London and a longer-term project on property and ideas of belonging in eighteenth-century Cornwall.


Selected Publications:

with Richard Coulton and Matthew Mauger, Stealing Books in Eighteenth Century London (London: Palgrave Pivot, 2016)

‘Prime Minister’s Questions and the Rhetoric of Political Leadership’, in Nick Turnbull, James Martin, Alan Finlayson, and Judy Atkins (eds), Rhetoric in British Politics and Society (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 45-56

'Whig Declamation and Rhetorical Freedom at Trinity College Cambridge, 1770-1805', The Review of English Studies (2013)

'Burke as Rhetorician and Orator', The Cambridge Companion to Edmund Burke, ed. D. Dwan and C. Insole (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Imprison'd Wranglers: The Rhetorical Culture of the House of Commons, 1760-1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

‘“Community of Mind”: Quotation and Persuasion in the Eighteenth-century House of Commons’, The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual, 17 (2006), 317-340

‘Speaking Candidly: Rhetoric, Politics, and the Meanings of Candour in the later Eighteenth Century’, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 28 (2005), 67-82

‘Character Construction in the Eighteenth-Century House of Commons: Evidence from the Cavendish Diary (1768-74)’, Rhetorica, 22 (2004), 375-399

with M. J. Edwards, eds, Oratory in Action (Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press, 2004)

with John Mullan, eds, Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture: A Selection (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)

See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


I have supervised the following successful PhD projects:

  • Karen Lipsedge, 'Harlowe Place: Representations of the Domestic Interior in Richardson’s Clarissa' (2002)
  • Annette Ashley, '"In this Moment of Alarm and Peril": Female Education, Religion, and Politics in the Late-Eighteenth Century, with special reference to Catharine Macaulay and Hannah More' (2004)
  • Giles Bergel, 'William Dicey and Eighteenth-Century Print Culture' (2004)
  • Jill Gage, ‘My Schoolfellows, My Patrons, My Public: English Schoolboy Authorship 1660-1798’ (2014, with Markman Ellis)