Skip Content

Professor John Barrell FBA

English Language and Literature History of a specific country Britain in the 18th & 19th C. History of Art Theory of Painting Cultural Geography
John Barrell profile picture

About this Fellow

John Barrell was a lecturer in the Department of Literature at the University of Essex in the Department of Literature from 1968, before being appointed, in 1972, a lecturer in English at Cambridge and a fellow of King's. In 1986 he became Professor of English at the University of Sussex, moving to the University of York in 1993. From 2013-2015 he was Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London (now Emeritus). He has held visiting professorships at the universities of Chicago, Warsaw, and elsewhere, and has honorary degrees from Chicago and the Courtauld Institute. His work is multi-disciplinary, combining literary criticism, the history of art, and cultural and political history, almost always with reference to Britain in the long eighteenth century. He has written at length of such subjects as landscape art and the sense of place, political theory and theories of art, politics, propaganda and the law in the age of the French revolution. He is now working on the songs of Thomas Moore, and on the politics of the Royal Academicians in the 1790s. For more, see



Current post

  • Emeritus Professor of English, Queen Mary University of London

Past Appointments

  • Fellow, King's College University of Cambridge, 1972 - 1985
  • Professor of English, School for Global studies, University of Sussex, 1986 - 1993
  • Professor of English, University of York, 1993 - 2012
  • Professor of English, Queen Mary University of London, 2013 - 2017
  • Emeritus Professor of English, Queen Mary University of London, 2017


The Spirit of Despotism 1906

Edward Pugh of Ruthin 2013

The Dark Side of the Landscape 1980

The Idea of Landscape and the Sense of Place 1972

English Literature in History 1730-1780 1983

The Infection of Thomas De Quincey 1991

Poetry, Language and Politics 1988

The political theory of painting 1986

The birth of Pandora 1992

Imagining the King's death 2000

Other Early Modern Languages and Literatures to 1830 Fellows

Professor Henry Woudhuysen

English literature of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, especially Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, and Samuel Johnson; post-medieval palaeography; bibliography and the history of the book

Professor Thomas Corns

The historically-informed study of seventeenth-century English literature; scholarly editing of seventeenth-century texts; stylistic criticism

Professor Brian Cummings

Renaissance humanism and European literature 1450-1700; the history of religion in relation to the history of the book; literary theory and the history of philosophy

Professor Lorna Hutson

The literature of the English Renaissance, with special interests in legal or forensic rhetoric, women's writing and Anglo-Scots relations