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Prof John Mullan
Appointment
  • Professor of English Literature
  • Dept of English Lang & Literature
  • Faculty of Arts & Humanities
Role
UCL HR Head Of Department,UCL Principal Supervisor
Biography

    I studied for a BA in English at King's College Cambridge. After graduating I taught for a year in Pentonville Prison before returning to King's to work on a PhD about the cult of sentimentalism in eighteenth-century writing, particularly novels. I finished this in 1984, when I became a Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge. In 1987, after a term teaching at what was then Queen Mary College, London, I became a Lecturer at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, where I remained for the next seven years. In 1988 my first book, Sentiment and Sociability. The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century was published by Oxford University Press.

    In 1994 I moved to UCL, where I have been ever since. I continued to specialise in eighteenth-century literature, editing works by Daniel Defoe and Samuel Johnson, and putting together the annotated anthology Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture with Chris Reid from Queen Mary College. Working in London began to involve me in literary journalism and in broadcasting. I began writing for the Guardian, and eventually conducting the newspaper's monthly Book Club. This involved interviewing a leading writer before an audience. I have also worked a good deal for BBC radio and TV.

    My book How Novels Work (OUP, 2006) combined the interest in contemporary fiction that I pursued in my literary journalism with my research into the development of the Novel in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 2007 I published Anonymity. A Secret History of English Literature (Faber and Faber), an account of the varieties of anonymous and pseudonymous literary publication, from the sixteenth century to the present day.

I have a continuing interest in the fiction of Jane Austen. My book What Matters in Jane Austen? (Bloomsbury, 2012), an exploration of Jane Austen's formal audacity and ingenuity, was published in 2012. I lecture widely on Austen's fiction outside academia, in the USA and Europe as well as the UK. I have edited Sense and Sensibility for Oxford World's Classics and am working on a new edition of Emma.

I have recently completed The Artful Dickens (Bloomsbury, 2020), a book that focuses on Charles Dickens's innovations in the art of fiction and his rebellion against the conventions of polite prose.

Research Summary

I am currently working on the eighteenth-century volume (1709-84) of the Oxford English Literary History. I am also preparing a new edition of Jane Austen's Emma for Oxford World's Classics.

Academic Background
1984   Doctor of Philosophy University of Cambridge
1980   Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge
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