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

Dr Susan Brigden

The English Renaissance and Reformation; literary coteries; Reformation diplomacy

Professor Trevor Dadson

The literature and the socio-economic, cultural and political history of 16th and 17th-century Spain; contemporary Spanish poetry; literary criticism, textual bibliography; the Moriscos

Professor Pat Rogers

18th-century Britain, including literary, political, social and cultural history, with special concentrations in the history of the book and aspects of music, gardening and medicine