Professor John Gardner

Dean of the Doctoral School
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Humanities and Social Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Research Supervision:
Courses taught:

John is a Professor of English Literature and Dean of the Doctoral School at ARU.

John teaches all areas of English Literature, from Chaucer to the present day. However, his main areas of research are 18th- and 20th-century literature and culture. John is currently a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow on the project Engineering Romanticism

[email protected]

Visit John's website on the 'Engineering Romanticism' project


Before joining ARU, John taught at the University of Glasgow and has acted as an external examiner from BA to PhD at the universities of Aberdeen, Bath Spa, Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Coventry, DeMonfort, Durham, Essex, East Anglia, Glasgow, Hertfordshire, Loughborough, Northumbria, Sheffield and York.

John teaches all periods of English Literature from first year to PhD, but his main research interests lie in the timeframe from 1750 to 1950.

John has published on a range of authors to include Samuel Bamford, Samuel Beckett, Lord Byron, Pierce Egan, William Hone, Alexander Rodger, Percy Shelley, James Joyce and William Wordsworth.

John's monograph Poetry and Popular Protest: Peterloo, Cato Street and the Queen Caroline Controversy (2011, paperbacked 2018) was shortlisted for the ESSE book prize.

John's recent work has been on 1970s dramatic representations of the rebellions of 1820, by Stewart Conn, James Kelman and Hector MacMillan.

John is currently a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow and PI on the project 'Engineering Romanticism,' which explores the convergence of literary and engineering cultures in the first half of the nineteenth century. Leverhulme Trust logo

Research interests
  • Romantic and Victorian poetry and drama
  • illustrators in the romantic period
  • eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature
  • poetry and conflict
  • text and image
  • Scottish literature
  • Engineering and Literary cultures
  • Gas and Pollution

Areas of research supervision

John will be pleased to consider supervising postgraduate students with the following research interests:

  • Romantic and Victorian poetry and drama
  • illustrators in the romantic period
  • politics and nineteenth-century literature
  • poetry and conflict
  • Technology and Literature
  • Factories, Pollution and Machines

Recent and current PhD supervision as First Supervisor

  • Dr Eleanor Crouch: 'Frances Burney' (2009-2012)
  • Dr Kirsty Harris: 'Shipwrecks and Loss in Romantic Period Poetry' (2012-2016)
  • Dr Peter Cook: 'The Romantic Influence on Dickens'(2013-2017)
  • Dr Eleanor Crouch: 'Frances Burney' (2009-2012)
  • Dr Kirsty Harris: 'Shipwrecks and Loss in Romantic Period Poetry' (2012-2016)
  • Dr Kate Morrison: 'Illegality in Detective and Spy Fiction; 1880-1919' (2012-2017)
  • Dr Steven White: 'Conservative Poetry of the 1790s' (2011-2016)
  • Dr Anne-Louise Russell: 'Novels, Magazines and Women's Rights: Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Florence Marryat, Charlotte Riddell, Ellen Wood' (2013-2016)
  • Dr Sabina Akram: 'Robert Southey and The Doctor' (2014-2019)
  • Dr Abderrezzak Ghafsi: 'The reception and influence of Charles Dickens on Algerian Literature and culture' (2015-2020)
  • Dr Sue Dean: 'The Works of Mary Mann' (2015-2020)
  • Dr Sophie Phelps: 'Dickens and the Adult Child' (2017-2021)
  • Lorena MacMillan, ‘Reaching the Dead: Interpretive Spiritualist Communities, 1855-1914’ (current)
  • Meg McDonald, ‘Gods above? Religious Belief in Genre Fantasy’ (current)
  • Dr Paul Jackson, ‘The Round Letters of Percy Grainger’ (2018-2021)
  • Andrea Lambert: ‘The Agency of Byron’s Women’ (current)
  • Tanya Hawkes: ‘Gas’ (current)
  • Sean Barrs: ‘Activism, Agency and the Vegetable Diet in the Romantic Period’


John teaches on the following courses:

  • PhD, Glasgow
  • MA
  • PGCE, Anglia Ruskin University
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Editor, The Charles Lamb Bulletin, a Journal of the Charles and Mary Lamb Society
  • Editorial Board: The John Clare Journal
  • Member: The Romantic Illustration Network

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship 2020-22
  • Adviser for BBC2 Culture show on Peterloo and Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy, 2013
  • Adviser on poetry for film ‘Nothingness’ (2008)/li>
  • Consultant, BBC Culture Show on Shelley and the Peterloo Massacre (2014)
  • Consultant and interviewee on BBC2 programme Portillo's State Secrets (2015)
  • Filmed for Westminster and National Archives on the Cato Street Conspiracy, 2021
  • External Examiner, MA Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University (2008-2012)
  • External Examiner, MA English Literature, The University of Hertfordshire (2009-2013)
  • External Examiner, BA English Literature, The University of East Anglia (2012-2016)
  • External Examiner, BA English Literature, University of Coventry (2015-2017)
  • External Examiner, BA English Literature, Northumbria University (2015-2019)
  • External Examiner, MA BA English Literature, DeMonfort University (2017-2019)
  • External Examiner, MA English Literature, University of Sheffield, (2017-2019)
  • External Examiner, BA English Literature, University of Cambridge (2018-present)
  • Chief External Examiner, Bath Spa University, (2020- )
  • External Examiner, BA English Literature, University of Durham, (2021-)
  • Editorial Board of The John Clare Journal
  • Editor, Charles Lamb Bulletin, (2020-)

Selected recent publications
Book Chapters

Gardner, J. and Carruthers, G. (2022) 'Finding Alexander Rodger, the Glasgow Poet, in 1820'. In: Carruthers, G., Gallagher, K. T., Lamont, C. and Smith, G. (Eds.) (2022) 1820 Scottish Rebellion; Essays on a Nineteenth-Century Insurrection. Edinburgh: Birlinn.

Gardner, J. (2022) 'A Disruptive and Dangerous Education and the Wealth of the Nation: The Early Mechanics’ Institutes'. In: Mee, J. and Sangster, M. (Eds.) (2022) Institutions of Literature, 1700–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 196-214. ISBN 9781108830201

Gardner, J. (2021) 'Slavery, Male Violence Against Women and Revolution in Robert Wedderburn's The Axe Laid to the Root (1817)', Revolutions in Print: Rebellion, Reform and the Press (Special Issue Zine). Nottingham: Nottingham Trent University, pp. 1-2.

Gardner, J. (2020) 'Scripted by Whom? 1820 and Theatres of Rebellion'. In: McElligott, J. and Conboy, M. (Eds.) (2020) The Cato Street Conspiracy; Plotting, Counter Intelligence and the Revolutionary Tradition in Britain and Ireland. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Gardner, J. (2019) 'Peterloo and the Established Church'. In: Demson, M. and Hewitt, R. (Eds.) (2019) Peterloo and the Violence of Romanticism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Gardner, J. (2018) 'The Estranged Child in Byron’s The Deformed Transformed'. In: Kelsall, M., Graham, P. and Horova, M. (Eds.) (2018) Breaking the Mould, a Collection of Essays in Memory of Peter Cochran. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Gardner, J, (2016) 'William Hone, Pierce Egan and the de-politicization of Popular Literature'. In: Fulford, T. and Sinatra, M. (Eds.) (2016) The Regency Revisited. London: Palgrave.

Gardner, J. (2015) 'Cobbett’s Return to England in 1819'. In: Grande, J. and Stevenson, J. (Eds.) (2015) William Cobbett, Romanticism and the Enlightenment. London: Pickering and Chatto.

Gardner, J. (2015) 'Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing'. In: Atherton, C., Green, A. and Snapper, G. (Eds.) (2015) Teaching English Literature 16-19. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gardner, J. (2014) 'Theatre and the Romantic Canon: The Case of Byron's Marino'. In: Swindells, J and, Taylor, D. F. (Eds.) (2014) The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre 1737-1832. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Refereed journal articles

Gardner, J. (2022) 'A ‘touch of Tombatism’: Mary Lamb, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, and Reading in Graveyards', Victoriographies, 12 (2). pp. 115-133. ISSN 2044-2424

Gardner, J. (2020) '"Black coat" Scottish spies: clerical informers in 1820', Studies in Scottish Literature, 46 (1). pp. 32-39. ISSN 0039-3770

Gardner, J. (2020) 'Hazlitt and Peterloo', Hazlitt Review. ISSN 1757-8299

Gardner, J. (2017) 'Remembering Peterloo', British Politics Review, 12(2). pp. 9-10. ISSN 1890-4505

Gardner, J. (2014) 'William Hone's Peterloo', The Manchester Region History Review.

Gardner, J. (2013) 'Preventing Revolution: Cato Street, Bonnymuir, and Cathkin', Studies in Scottish Literature, 39(1), pp. 160-180.

Gardner, J. (2013) 'Charles Lamb and the Manchester Observer', Notes and Queries.


Mark Coeckelbergh, New Romantic Cyborgs: Romanticism, Information Technology, and the End of the Machine. For Romantic Circles, Online. 2020

Byron, George Gordon, Manfred, (Broadview, 2019) for Romantic Circles.

Haywood and Seed (eds.) The Gordon Riots for Romanticism.

Freya Johnston and Matthew Bevis (eds), Thomas Love Peacock Crotchet Castle. Pp. cxxii + 328 (The Cambridge Edition of the Novels of Thomas Love Peacock). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. £79.99 (ISBN 978 1 107 93972 5). In Notes and Queries (Oxford: OUP, 2018)

Nicholas A. Joukovsky (ed.), Thomas Love Peacock Nightmare Abbey. Pp. cxlii + 297 (The Cambridge Edition of the Novels of Thomas Love Peacock). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. £84.99 (ISBN 978 1 107 03186 9). In Notes and Queries (Oxford: OUP, 2018)

Hazlitt the Dissenter: Religion, Philosophy, and Politics, 1766–1816 by Stephen Burley. Notes and Queries, 63(2). pp. 314-315. ISSN 1471-6941

William Cobbett, the Press and Rural England; Radicalism and the Fourth Estate, 1792–1835 by James Grande. Notes and Queries, 63 (2). pp. 311-312.

London, Radical Culture, and the Making of the Dickensian Aesthetic by Sambudha Sen / Dickens and Modernity by Juliet John / Corpus Stylistics and Dickens's Fiction by Michaela Mahlberg. Journal of Victorian Culture, 19 (4). pp. 562-565.

Byron's Romantic Politics: The Problem of Metahistory by Peter Cochran. Notes and Queries, 61 (2).

James Grande, John Stevenson and Richard Thomas, eds., The Opinions of William Cobbett. BARS Review, 44.

1820: Disorder and Stability in the United Kingdom by Malcolm Chase. Cultural and Social History, 11 (4). pp. 625-627. ISSN 1478-0046

Tom Mole (ed.), Romanticism and Celebrity Culture, 1750-1850. Notes and Queries. (2013)

‘Within the sound of Bow Bells.’ Review of Gregory Dart, Cockney Adventures (CUP, 2013) Journal of Victorian Culture. (2013)

A.A. Markely AND Miriam L. Wallace (eds). Re-Viewing Thomas Holcroft, 1745–1809. Review of English Studies. (2013)


'James Bond, North Korea and the shadow of intercontinental ballistic missiles'. The Conversation, July 2017.

'This is the Place: how a poem gave a voice to Manchester's grief'. The Conversation, May 2017.

Recent presentations and conferences

Gardner, John (2022) ‘Liberalism’. In Hazlitt Society Day School, University College London, 17 Sep 2022 - 17 Sep 2022. Hazlitt Society. Hazlitt Society. 17 Sep 2022

Gardner, John (2022) ‘The Screw’. In New Romanticisms, Edge Hill University, 01 Aug 2022 - 04 Aug 2022. British Association of Romantic Studies. British Association of Romantic Studies. 04 Aug 2022

Gardner, John (2022) ‘Charles lamb, Thomas Love Peacock and Romantic “Russophobia”’. In Charles and Mary Lamb: Elia and Beyond, York, UK, 18 Jun 2022 - 18 Jun 2022. 18 Jun 2022

Gardner, John (2022) ‘On the Eve of the Reform Bill’. In New Romanticisms, Edge Hill University, 01 Aug 2022 - 05 Aug 2022. British Association of Romantic Studies. British Association of Romantic Studies. 03 Aug 2022

Gardner, John (2022) Charles Lamb, Thomas Love Peacock and Romantic "Russophobia". In: Charles and Mary Lamb: Elia and Beyond, York, UK.

Gardner, John (2022) The Screw and Standards 1798-1851. In: Manufacture: UCL English Graduate Conference 2022, London, UK.

Gardner, John (2022) Abuse, Rejection and Suicide in Byron's Deformed Transformed (1824) and Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824). In: Newstead Abbey Byron Society Conference: Byron and Loss, Nottinghamshire, UK.

Gardner, John (2021) Gaslight. In: Mechanics' Institutes Worldwide 2021, Edinburgh, UK. ‘Keats and Romanticism.’ In: History Fest and English Fest, Anglia Ruskin University - Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. 2021.

‘Pollution and Paternalism at Early Mechanics' Institutes’. In: Conversations, Anglia Ruskin University. 2021.

‘The True Plane’. In: Materialities, Oxford Brookes University via Zoom. 2021.

‘The Plays of 1820’. In: 200 years of the 1820 Scottish Radical Uprising, University of Glasgow via online platform. 2021.

"Sublime Archimedean Art": Shelley's Engine. In: Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York, Online. 2020.

Plenary: ‘Hazlitt and Peterloo’, at Hazlitt Day, University of London, September 2019.

‘Bamford and the Bishops’, at Peterloo at 200, University of York, March 2019.

‘Wordsworth’s Sites of Massacre’, Keynote, Wordsworth Conference Foundation, Rydal Hall, August 2019.

Institutions as Actors Roundtable, University of York, December 2017.

‘William Hone and the Spy System’ invited paper, University of Warwick, November 2017.

'Birkbeck, the Glasgow Frankenstein and the First Mechanics' Institutes'. Invited sole paper to the Faculty of English nineteenth century seminar, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, October 2017.

'The Conspiracies of 1820'. Keynote, at Cato Street Conference, University of Sheffield, September 2017.

'Conundrums of the Workshops 1890'. In: Romantic Improvement, the 15th biannual conference of the British Association for Romantic Studies, hosted by the University of York’s Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and Department of English and Related Literature, University of York, July 2017.

'The Andersonian University, George Birkbeck and the Glasgow Mechanics' Institute'. In: Institutions as Networks, second workshop of 'Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900', Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London, July 2017.

'‘My name with the literary fashionables is vulgar – I am a weaver boy to them’; Keats and Class'. In: English Media and Film Conference, Hills Road Sixth Form College, July 2017.

'Pierce Egan and William Hone', University of California at Berkeley, 2016.

'Poetry after Waterloo', Literature and History Conference, University Centre Suffolk, 2016.

'Engineering and Literary Cultures', at the International Conference of the European Society for Periodical Research, The Nordic Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, 2015.

‘Romantic radicalism in the sciences and engineering’, Aix Marseille University, 2015.

‘Cobbett's return to England in 1819' at ‘Cobbett at 250’, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, November 2013.

'Continuing After Defeat; "Radical Anger" and the Established Church' at The Making of the English Working Class: Fifty Years On, Anglia Ruskin University, 2013.

'Radicalism in the 1820s' at Making a Darkness Visible: The Literary Moment 1820-1840, The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, 2013.

'The Clerical Magistrate', Modern Languages Association Conference, 2013.

Media experience

Historical adviser and filmed interview with Michael Portillo for TV programme ‘Portillo’s State Secrets’. First broadcast 3 April 2015, 6.00pm. on BBC2.

Filmed for Westminster and the National Archives on the Cato Street Conspiracy, August, 2021.

Adviser for BBC2 Culture show on Peterloo and Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy.