Jessica Fay

Jessica Fay

Colleges, School and Institutes

External positions

, University of Bristol

1 Sep 201831 Aug 2021

Research interests

My monograph, Wordsworth’s Monastic Inheritance (Oxford University Press, 2018), is the first comprehensive study of Wordsworth’s engagement with the material and cultural legacies of the medieval monastic system. Whilst offering insights into his poetic treatment of local attachment, national identity, and the historical resonances of landscape, the book provides a new interpretation of stylistic developments in Wordsworth’s writing between 1807 and 1822.

Currently, I am preparing and annotated edition of The Letters of Sir George and Lady Beaumont to William and Dorothy Wordsworth, 1803-1829 (forthcoming with Liverpool University Press, 2021). Presenting an archive of previously un-transcribed correspondence, together with an extended critical introduction (30,000 words), this edition makes possible a re-evaluation of Wordsworth’s mature work whilst demonstrating the extent to which Beaumont’s painting style and ambitions for a National Gallery were shaped by exchanges with the poet.  

My next book project explores changing perspectives on the relative value of generality and particularity in both the visual and verbal arts from 1766 to 1815. It investigates how the desire for mimetic accuracy (in poetry, painting, and in the emerging form of the novel) destabilized hierarchies of genre and the centuries’ old kinship of the Sister Arts.


After taking an MA at the University of Liverpool, I was fortunate to win a Lamb and Flag Doctoral Scholarship at St John’s College, Oxford. On completing my doctorate in 2014, I took up a lectureship at Somerville College Oxford before moving to the Department of English at the University of Bristol. At Bristol, I held a Teaching Fellowship followed by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellowship. I joined the University of Birmingham in 2018.  

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

I would be delighted to discuss potential research projects in any area of Romanticism, especially those focusing on William Wordsworth or the relationship between painting and poetry.