Dr Madeleine Callaghan

Senior Lecturer in Romantic Literature


Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA


I joined the School of English in September 2010 and I’m a senior lecturer in Romantic Literature. My research speciality is the poetry of Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Yeats. I also have research interests in other Romantic poets and prose writers, Milton and Spenser, and in post-war British and Irish poetry, particularly that of Louis MacNeice and W. H. Auden.

I read English at Durham University, and where I then took a Masters and a PhD. Though I focused on Romantic poetry during my degrees, I continue to pursue my interests in twentieth-century poetry, and have co-edited a book with Professor Michael O'Neill in the Blackwell Guides to Criticism series, entitled Twentieth Century British and Irish Poetry: Hardy to Mahon. My monograph on Shelley, entitled Shelley’s Living Artistry: Letters, Poems, Plays, came out in 2017, and my most recent monograph is The Poet-Hero in the Work of Byron and Shelley (2019).


My primary area of interest is Romantic and post-Romantic poetry, and I published a monograph (published by Liverpool University Press) on Percy Bysshe Shelley, entitled Shelley's Living Artistry: Letters, Poems, Plays in 2017, and, with Michael O'Neill, wrote The Blackwell Handbook to Romantic Poetry (2018). I have written about the poetry of the Romantic period, particularly on Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Yeats, and I also have research interests in Milton, Coleridge, and in post-war British, American, and Irish poetry, particularly that of Louis MacNeice and John Berryman.

My current research project is on the role of eternity in Romantic poetry. By way of an overview, the monograph, Eternity in Romantic Poetry explores the representation of the relationship between eternity and the mortal world in the poetry of the period. This monograph will offer an original approach to Romanticism that demonstrates the dominant intellectual preoccupation of the period: the relationship between the mortal and the eternal. The aims of the project are two-fold: firstly, to analyse the prevalence and range of images of eternity (from apocalypse, and afterlife, to transcendence) in Romantic poetry; secondly, in opening up a new and more nuanced focus on how Romantic poets imagined and interacted with the idea of eternity, it will challenge the assumption that the Romantic age should be considered through a contextual rather than a conceptual lens.

I am particularly interested in the role and responsibility of the poet from the Romantic period to the present day. This was a point of serious debate in the Romantic period, from Shelley's sense of the "unacknowledged legislator" to Byron's mocking yet intense questioning of the place of poetry and the poet in culture. My work pays close attention to the workings of poetry to consider the contested significance and singularity of the poet to their culture.


My research and teaching interests are closely related. I teach on the English Literature BA course and various Masters programmes. Modules that I contribute to at undergraduate level include "Romantic and Victorian Poetry," "Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature," and  "Modern Literature," plus my approved module, "Byron and Shelley."

At postgraduate level, I am a member of the teaching team for the general MA in English Literature and the MA in Literature, Culture and Society: 1700-1900, and co-convene (with Dr Anna Barton) two modules, "Love and Lyric" and "I want a hero: Romantic and Victorian Epic."


I am currently primary supervisor for doctoral theses on Keats and pleasure and pain (funded by the Wolfson Foundation), Percy Bysshe Shelley and androgyny, and pastoral poetry in the Romantic period, as well as secondary supervising a number of other projects. A thesis on the second-generation Romantic poets and quest (AHRC funded) and a thesis on Owen and the Romantic elegiac tradition (funded by WRoCAH), have successfully passed the PhD viva.

I am interested in supervising PhD candidates in any of my research interests, especially in Romantic or post-Romantic poetry.


  • 2019. Callaghan, Madeleine. The Poet-Hero in the Work of Byron and Shelley. London, Anthem.
  • 2018. O'Neill, Michael and Madeleine Callaghan. The Romantic Poetry Handbook. Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • 2017. Callaghan, Madeleine. Shelley's Living Artistry: Letters, Poems, Plays. Liverpool, Liverpool UP.
  • 2012. O'Neill, Michael and Tony Howe, ed., with the assistance of Madeleine Callaghan. The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • 2011. O'Neill, Michael and Madeleine Callaghan, eds. Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry. Blackwell Guides to Criticism. Oxford, Blackwell.
  • Callaghan, Madeleine and Anthony Howe, ed. Romanticism and the Letter (under contract with Palgrave; forthcoming in 2019)
Chapters in edited collections
  • 2017. "Keats's Letters." John Keats in Context, ed. Michael O'Neill. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 66-74
  • 2015. "'Any thing human or earthly': Shelley's Letters and Poetry." Letter Writing Among the Poets. Ed. Jonathan Ellis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP. 111-25
  • 2012. "Louis MacNeice and the Struggle for Romantic Identity," Legacies of Romanticism: Literature, Culture, Aesthetics. Carmen Casaliggi and Paul March-Russell, eds. Routledge Studies in Romanticism 17. London: Routledge, 2012. 149-164
  • 2012. "Shelley and Milton." Michael O'Neill and Tony Howe, ed., with the assistance of Madeleine Callaghan. The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. 478-94
  • 2012. "Strong Ghosts: Romantic Presences in Yeats’s Poetry." Romantic Presences in the Nineteenth Century. Mark Sandy, ed. Nineteenth-Century Studies Series. Farnham: Ashgate, 2012
  • 2011. "'And first a little crucifix he kiss'd': Byron and the Language of Sacrifice." Byron and Religion. Peter Cochran, ed. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011. 173-180
  • 2009. "This soul out of my soul: The Trial of the Hero in Shelley's Epipsychidion." Grasmere 2008: Selected Papers from the Wordsworth Summer Conference. Compiled Richard Gravil. Penrith: Humanities-Ebooks, 2009. 146-54
  • "Byron, Shelley, and Keats, and the Limits of Letters," ed. Madeleine Callaghan and Anthony Howe. London: Palgrave (under contract).
  • “Byron and the Lake Poets.” Byron in Context, ed. Clara Tuite. Cambridge: Cambridge UP (forthcoming in 2019).
Articles in refereed journals
  • 2018. "Shelley in Eternity." Essays in Criticism 68.3. 308-326
  • 2017. "'Chosen Comrades': Yeats’s Romantic Rhymes." Romanticism 23.2 155–165
  • 2017. Callaghan, Madeleine. "Byron and Shelley's Poetry of 1816." The Wordsworth Circle 48.1. 26-32
  • 2016. Callaghan, Madeleine. "Shelley and the Ambivalence of Idealism." Keats-Shelley Journal 64. 92-104
  • 2015. Callaghan, Madeleine. "Forms of Conflict: Byron's Influence on Yeats's Poetry." English 64 (245). 81-98
  • 2011. Callaghan, Madeleine. "'With unimpeded and insatiate sight': The Poetics of Perception in Southey's The Curse of Kehama and Byron's The Giaour." The Wordsworth Circle
  • 2010. Callaghan, Madeleine. "'His Mute Voice': The Two Heroes of Adonais." Keats-Shelley Review 24, 39-53
  • 2010. Callaghan, Madeleine. "'Stumbling Stanzas': Flawed Heroism and the Struggle with Language in Byron's Cain." Byron Journal 38.2, 125-135
  • "'The Artifice of Eternity': The Wanderings of Oisin and the Byzantium Poems." Irish Studies Review (accepted; forthcoming in 2019).
Invited talks
  • 2018. "Shelley's Excursion." Invited Lecturer at the Wordsworth Conference (invited by Professor Nicholas Roe on behalf of the Wordsworth Conference). 12 August 2018
  • 2018. "As we wish our souls to be:" Byron's Shelley and The Island. Invited Lecturer at the Romantic Research seminar, Balliol College, Oxford (invited by Professors Seamus Perry and Fiona Stafford). 22 May 2018
  • 2018. "I ne'er mistake you for a personal foe’: Byron and Wordsworth'. Invited lecturer at All Souls College, Oxford at the 'Byron Among the Poets' Symposium. Invited by Drs Matthew Ward and Clare Bucknell. 14 January 2018
  • 2017. 'A Humbler Promontory? Byron’s Poetic Place'. Invited speaker at the Newstead Abbey Byron Society. Invited by Ken Purslow, chairman of the Newstead Abbey Byron Society. 24 September 2017
  • 2017. 'Worldling or Solitary? Legislator or Prophet? Shelley on Poetic Possibility'. Invited lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania 'Unbinding Prometheus' Seminar Series. Invited by Professor Eric Weinstein. 5 September 2017
  • 2016. "Byron and Shelley in 1816." Invited speaker at the New York Public Library at a symposium on the Geneva Summer for Romantic Bicentennials. Invited by Professor Andrew Stauffer and Professor Neil Fraistat on behalf of the Keats-Shelley Association and the Byron Society of America
  • 2016. "'Us and Them': Byron Amongst Others." Invited speaker at the Newstead Abbey Byron Society. Invited by Ken Purslow, chairman of the Newstead Abbey Byron Society
  • 2016. "The Poetic." Invited speaker at the Countertext Conference, Durham, UK. Invited by Ivan Callus and James Corby (University of Malta)
  • 2015. "Prometheus Unbound and Tyranny." Invited lecturer at Queen Mary University, London
  • 2015. "Marino Faliero as an 'Experimental Play'." Invited lecturer at Durham University, one of the lectures given at the Inventions of the Text research group. Durham, UK (by invitation of the organiser, Chris Grove)
  • 2015. "Romanticism in the Classroom" Keynote speaker at the Prince's Trust Teaching Institute New Teacher Subject Day (by invitation of Sarah Darrall Shaw, event manager). Cambridge, UK
  • 2014. "'A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass': Multi-Faceted Romanticism." Keynote speaker at the Prince's Trust Teaching Institute New Teacher Subject Day (by invitation of Sarah Darrall Shaw, event manager). Altrincham, UK
  • 2014. "Forms of Conflict: Byron's Influence on Yeats's Poetry." Lecturer at the Yeats Summer School. Sligo, Ireland (by invitation from Professor Matthew Campbell)
  • 2013. "Shelley and the Ambivalence of Idealism." Invited lecturer at the University of Leeds, one of the lectures given at the Eighteenth-Century and Romantic research group. Leeds, UK (by invitation of the organiser, Dr Richard de Ritter)
  • 2013. "Milton and the Freedom of the Romantic Poet." Keynote speaker at an AHRC event, "Romantic Origins," part of the "Romantic Heirs: Receptions, Legacies, and Dialogues" series. Sheffield, UK (by invitation from Fern Merrills and Liam Firth: organisers)
  • 2010. "By Instinct of Sweet Music Driven': The Poetic Artistry of Keats and Shelley." Talk at Keats House. Hampstead, UK (by invitation from Sue Kirby, Chair of the Friends of Keats House)
  • 2008. "Byron’s Poetics of Conflict." Romantic Realignments Seminar Series. Oxford University. Oxford, UK (by invitation of the organiser, Dr Anna Camilleri)