Sebastian Mitchell


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I supervise PhD students on a range of literary and cross-disciplinary subjects, some with AHRC M4C funding. I have recent postgraduate research projects completed on confessional writing in the Romantic age, a trans-historical study of the literary reception of Samuel Johnson, and an examination of Gaelic, Latin and English Jacobite writing in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. I have ongoing projects on scriptural allusion in the novels of Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding, and on the Gothic seascape. Projects commencing include studies of influence of classical philosophy on Romantic poetry, and Anglo-Scottish verse in the Romantic period.

I welcome applications for post-graduate research supervision in the following areas:

Eighteenth-century and Romantic period literature and culture
Eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century Scottish literature and culture
Utopian and Dystopian literature
History of Aesthetics


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I have a BA (English and European Literature) from the University of Essex, a PhD from the University of Southampton (Literature), and a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from the University of Birmingham. Before coming to the university, I taught at the University of Southampton and the Open University. I joined the English department in 2007.

Research interests

My main research areas are the relationship of literature and art in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and utopian and anti-utopian writing. My monograph on the first of these topics, Visions of Britain, 1730–1830: Anglo-Scottish Writing and Representation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) was short-listed for the Saltire Society award for Research Book of the Year 2013, and nominated for the James Russell Lowell Prize, MLA, 2014.

My trans-historical study of literary utopianism and anti-utopianism, Utopia and its Discontents: Plato to Atwood was published by Bloomsbury Press in February 2020. The book has been praised for being ‘penetrating’ and ‘lucid’, and for its original and revelatory exploration of the formal and generic aesthetics of literary utopias.

I’ve also written extensively on Ossian, the supposed ancient Gaelic epic poems translated by James Macpherson in the 1760s. I’ve variously discussed the poetry, and its reception through to the modern era (including its influence on visual culture). I guest edited a special edition of The Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, entitled Ossian in the Twenty First Century (2016).

I’m currently working on a study of Scottish literature and visual culture in the nineteenth century for Edinburgh University Press. The book’s provisional title is Scottish Literature and Art in the Romantic Age.

External positions

University of Exeter

1 Aug 2016 → …


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