Dr Hamish Mathison


Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA


I joined Sheffield´s team of eighteenth-century literature specialists after an undergraduate degree taken at Keble College, Oxford and a PhD called Communities in Print: Robert Burns and Late Eighteenth-Century Scottish Poetry taken at the University of Aberdeen.


I work principally on eighteenth-century Scottish literature. More widely, I have published on topics as diverse as gothic literature, early newspaper history and the representation of submarine warfare in popular novels.

My PhD was a study of how poetry was popularised and marketed in the eighteenth century, and it looked at how the poetry of Robert Burns (1759-1796) was promoted at the time. My work in the field of eighteenth-century studies is heavily invested in the emerging discipline of `book history´, and this has led me back to the origins of Scottish print in the sixteenth century. I maintain a strong theoretical interest in the work of Jürgen Habermas and "Frankfurt School" critical theory more widely.

My most recent work has been on the connections between poetry and gothic writing in the Eighteenth Century, part of my ongoing work into print culture and patriotic sentiment in eighteenth-century Britain. As the UK works through the implications of its troubled national engagement with Europe, with ‘Brexit’, my work is turning increasingly to a consideration of what made the constituent parts of Britain identify as ‘British’ in the first place.


Principally, I teach, lecture and often convene the department's second-level core course on 'Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature'. I similarly contribute to our core teaching in the field of Romantic and Victorian literature.

Most years I offer two optional modules: 'Satire and Print in the Eighteenth Century' which is all about print culture in the first half of the century, and 'Writing in Enlightenment Britain' which is about the connections between moral philosophy, national identity and literary work in the second half of the century.

Alongside my undergraduate teaching activity, I co-teach a module on Romantic and Gothic British literature at MA level as well as contributing to our team-taught core module on the interdisciplinary Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Studies MA programme.

I particularly believe in the capacity of education to drive social mobility, and continue to work in the field of knowledge transfer and outreach beyond the University, previously through the work of Villiers Park Educational Trust and what was NAGTY (National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth). Notable classes have included Masterclasses for the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in Rotherham; English Literature Courses for AS/A-Level Teachers; English Literature day schools for colleges, as well as Widening Participation classes for Year 13 (Rotherham/Sheffield LEA).


I welcome applications from potential research students who wish to work upon the literatures of the long eighteenth-century. At present I'm supervising PhD students working on matters as diverse as British Georgic poetry, English balladry and antiquarian collecting. PhD supervisees of mine who have since graduated have offered topics such as:

  • Time and Space in Tristram Shandy and Other Eighteenth-Century Novels.
  • ‘Credibility’ in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century texts.
  • Wounds, Words, Worlds: Injury in Middle  English Satire, c.1250-1534.
  • 'The Commerce of Light': Eighteenth-Century Dialogue, Communicative Reason, and the formation of the English Novel'
  • ‘A certain design': The partisan strategy of Joseph Addison's The Free-Holder.


  • ‘Robert Burns and the Scottish Bawdy Politic’ In Scottish Gothic, ed. C. Davison and M. Germana (Edinburgh: 2017) pp.42-58.
  • ‘The Haunting of Britain’s Ruins’, with Angela Wright, in Writing Britain’s Ruins, ed. M. Carter, P. Lindfield and D Townshend (British Library, 2017) pp. 210-228.
  • Poetry, Conspiracy and Radicalism in Sheffield, ed. Adam Smith and Hamish Mathison (Spirit Duplicator, 2016).
  • ‘“Out of Tune”: Sex, Death and Gothic Disharmony in Eighteenth-Century Scotland’ in Sex and Death in Eighteenth-Century Literature, ed. J. Zigarovich (Routledge, 2013) pp. 224-240.
  • ‘Gothic poetry in Scotland: The Ghaistly Eighteenth Century’ in Gothic Studies 14/1 (May 2012).
  • ‘Tam O’Shanter and the Folk’ in The Voice of the People, ed. Matthew Campbell and Michael Perraudin (Cambridge: Anthem Press, 2011)
  • ‘Submarine Novels “After History”’, The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century English and American War Literature, ed. Adam Piette (Edinburgh: EUP, 2011)
  • ‘Scotland’ in The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, ed. Joad Raymond (Oxford: OUP, 2010)
  • ‘Robert Burns and National Song’ in Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic, ed. David Duff and Catherine Jones (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2007) pp. 77-92.
  • Instruments of Enlightenment, ed. and intro. Hamish Mathison and Angela Wright, a special issue of History of European Ideas (ISSN: 0191-6599), 31/2, 2005.
  • '"To enter into connections": furious moderation in the Scottish Enlightenment' in Instruments of Enlightenment, ed. Hamish Mathison and Angela Wright, History of European Ideas (ISSN: 0191-6599), 31/2, 2005.
  • ‘Robert Hepburn and the Edinburgh Tatler: a study in an early British periodical’ in Media History, vol 11, n. 1/2, 2005.
  • ‘Tropes of Promotion and Well-Being: Advertisement and the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Periodical Press’ in Prose Studies (ISSN: 0144-0357), Vol. 21, No. 3, December 1998, pp. 206-225.
  • ‘Tropes of Promotion and Well-Being: Advertisement and the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Periodical Press’ in The News, 1600-1800: New Approaches to Newspaper History in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. J. Raymond (Frank Cass, 1999) pp. 206-225.
  • ‘“Gude Black Prent”: How the Edinburgh Book Trade dealt with Burns’s Poems’ The Bibliotheck (ISSN: 0006-193X) Vol. 20, 1995, pp. 70-87.


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