MPhil/PhD supervisors

The Institute registers students for MPhil/PhD study only when principal supervision is offered by the staff listed below. It is, however, possible to arrange co-supervision with particular experts in the Colleges of the University of London, and, on occasion, with experts from institutions outside the University of London (e.g. the British Library) when such experts are also teachers of the University of London. In cases where it is more appropriate for MPhil/PhD students to be registered at a College of the University, the Institute is happy to offer informal advice.


Professor Sarah Churchwell

I broadly supervise topics relating to the American novel of the long 20th century (Henry James to the present), and my methodologies focus on biographical criticism, reception history and literary history. I am particularly interested in the intersection of biography, authorship, celebrity and the marketplace, and in topics including:

Supervisory topics

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald and his circle
  • Henry James and his circle
  • The American 1920s and 1930s
  • American modernism and the marketplace
  • American cinema in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s
  • Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
  • American bestsellers (from the 18th century to the present)


Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.  She received her MA and PhD in English and American literature from Princeton University, and her BA with honours in English literature from Vassar College. She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, editor of Forgotten Fitzgerald: Echoes of a Lost America, and co-editor of Must-Read: Rediscovering the American Bestseller. Her scholarly articles cover subjects including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and the cultural influence of the 1920s  Her literary journalism has appeared widely, including in the Guardian, New Statesman, TLS, New York Times Book Review, Financial Times, Prospect, and many others. She also comments regularly on arts, culture, and politics for UK television and radio, where appearances include Question Time, The Review Show, and Today. She has judged many literary prizes, including the 2008 Orange (now Bailey’s) Prize for Women’s Fiction, the 2014 Man Booker Prize, and was a co-winner of the 2015 Eccles British Library Writer’s Award. She is currently writing a book about Henry James.

Contact us to find out more: 

Professor Warwick Gould

I am happy to supervise on a wide range of late nineteenth and early twentieth century topics, especially in the literature of the Irish Revival, and in the general field of the History of the Book

Supervisory topics

  • Irish Book History
  • Authors-Publisher Relations,1870-1939
  • Australian Literature (and Patrick White) 
  • Irish Publishing, 1886-1930 
  • Fin de siècle Poetry,
  • 19th Century Irish Radical Verse 
  • 19th Century Occult Publishing
  • 20th Century Literary Theory
  • 20th Century Literary Agenting


Emeritus Professor Warwick Gould FRSL, FEA, FRSA is the Founder-Director of the Institute (1999-2013). He is a well-known scholar of W. B. Yeats, and Irish Literature in English in the late Victorian and early 20th century periods. His current projects include a new Textual Biography of Yeats’s writings and, in collaboration, the standard commentary on Yeats’s poems, while he continues to edit Yeats Annual  (1983—).

He co-wrote (with the late Marjorie Reeves) Joachim of Fiore and the Myth of the Eternal Evangel in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Clarendon: 1987, rev. & enl., 2001), while his co-editions e.g., of Yeats’s Mythologies (2005), The Secret Rose: Stories by W. B. Yeats: A Variorum Edition (1981; rev., augmented edition, 1992); The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats Vol II (1997) gesture to his continuing enthusiasm for supervising editorial theses as well as studies in Victorian Fin de siècle, 20th Century Irish Poetry and the History of the Book.

He has been honoured with the Cecil Oldman Memorial Medal for Bibliography and Textual Criticism and the British Academy President’s Medal (2012).


 Dr Cynthia Johnston


My research interests include all aspects of medieval book culture with special interest on the development and transmission of decorative technique in western Europe during the thirteenth century. I am also in interested in the history of collections and collecting.

Supervisory topics

I am happy to receive inquiries regarding PhD supervisions on late medieval book historical topics.


Dr. Cynthia Johnston is the Course Tutor for the MA/MRes in the History of the Book at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study. She has an MA and MPhil from New York University in late Medieval Literature, a Master of Studies from Oxford University in Medieval Studies and a PhD in Manuscript Studies from IES. Professor Michelle Brown supervised her dissertation on the development of penflourished decorative styles in English manuscripts between 1180 and 1280. Dr. Johnston has curated two exhibitions on the industrialist collector of books and coins, R.E. Hart, and she heads the ‘Academic Partnership’ between the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, who hold Hart’s collections, and IES.


 Professor Clare Lees 

I am a medievalist who works mainly in early medieval literature from the perspective of contemporary Medieval Studies.

Supervisory Topics

  • Early Medieval literatures
  • Languages and cultures of Britain and Ireland
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • Histories of place and belief


Clare A. Lees FEA, FKC is Professor of Medieval Literature and Director of the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Select, recent publications include: The Cambridge History of Early Medieval English Literature, ed. Lees (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2013; paperback 2016); ‘Women Write the Past: Medieval Scholarship, Old English and New Literature’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 93.2 (2017), 3-22 (the Toller Lecture for 2016); ‘Women and Water: Icelandic Tales and Anglo-Saxon Moorings’, with Gillian R. Overing, GeoHumanities 4.1 (2017), 97-111; and ‘In Three Poems: Medieval and Modern in Seamus Heaney, Maureen Duffy and Colette Bryce’, American/Medieval: Nature and Mind in Cultural Transfer, ed., Gillian R. Overing and Ulrike Wiethaus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprech, 2016), pp. 177-201. 

Clare has worked collaboratively during her career, often with Gillian R Overing, Wake Forest University: forthcoming with Gillian is The Contemporary Medieval in Practice (London: UCL Press, 2019). In 2016-18, she held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow, for ‘The Contemporary Arts and Early Medieval Culture in Britain and Ireland’ to work on a poetry anthology for Bloodaxe Books and related monograph.  She was the founding Director of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), an AHRC-Doctoral Training Partnership.  



Dr Andrew Nash

I supervise topics relating to three broad areas: the history of books and publishing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the material contexts of Victorian and twentieth-century literature; and Scottish literature since 1750. My methodologies focus on literary criticism and history, bibliography and book history, and manuscript and archive studies, especially publishers’ and book trade archives.

Supervisory topics

  • The history of publishing from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century
  • The history and economics of authorship from the 1850s to the present
  • Victorian popular fiction
  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Scottish fiction
  • The firm of Chatto & Windus
  • J.M. Barrie
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Maritime fiction and the history of the sea story
  • Modern literary archives and manuscripts


Andrew Nash is Reader in Book History and Communications. He was formerly Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. His research interests include book and publishing history from the nineteenth-century to the present, Victorian literature, and Scottish literature and he welcomes proposals from potential research students in each of these broad areas. Specific interests include: author/publisher relations and the history of authorship 1850 to the present; publishers’ archives; the firm of Chatto & Windus; Victorian popular fiction; and nineteenth- and twentieth-century Scottish literature, especially the work of J.M. Barrie, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Muriel Spark.

Andrew’s publications include the monographs William Clark Russell and the Victorian Nautical Novel: Gender, Genre and the Marketplace (2014) and Kailyard and Scottish Literature (2007), as well as several edited and co-edited collections including The Culture of Collected Editions (2003), Literary Cultures and the Material Book (2007), New Directions in the History of the Novel (2014) and Gateway to the Modern: Resituating J.M. Barrie (2014). He has recently contributed essays on the material history of the novel to volumes 4 and 7 of the Oxford History of the Novel in English. He is currently working on a book on Grub Street Authors and the Fiction Market, 1870-1914, and (with Claire Squires and Ian Willison) completing the editing of Volume 7 of the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, covering the period 1914 to the present. 

 Dr Christopher Ohge

I am happy to supervise topics in nineteenth and twentieth century literature, especially those concerned with scholarly editing, manuscript and archive studies, and digital studies. Critical studies that use a digital element (e.g., text analysis, visualisation) to explore aesthetics, allusion, and literary history are also welcome.

Supervisory topics

  • Herman Melville 
  • Transcendentalism
  • Mark Twain
  • Romanticism
  • Modernism
  • Paul Bowles
  • Editorial theory and practice
  • Digital publishing
  • Digital humanities
  • Literary letters and biography



Christopher Ohge is Lecturer in Digital Approaches to Literature. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English and Editorial Studies at Boston University, where he studied the correspondence between Paul Bowles and his modernist mentors in literature, music, and theatre. He was formerly an associate editor at the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley, where his editorial credits included Mark Twain’s Autobiography, Vol. 3 (2015), Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884 (2017), and Innocents Abroad (forthcoming). Before coming to Berkeley in 2014, he was the postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities at the University of Maine. He is currently a co-editor at Melville’s Marginalia Online (a virtual library of Herman Melville) and a co-editor on the digital edition of Billy Budd, Sailor, at the Melville Electronic Library. His criticism focuses on textual studies, aesthetics (e.g., craft and prosody), allusion, biographical studies, and using digital methods to refine that criticism. He is also trying to keep up with the rapid developments in digital humanities by improving his coding skills.



Dr David Pearson

I would be happy to supervise on topics which fit with my research interests around the book as a material object in the early modern period: ways in which books have been owned, marked, read, sold or bound, and the deductions we can make from that evidence.  This could encompass book collecting, bookbinding, or any aspect of provenance studies.

Supervisory topics

  • Private or institutional library history between the 16th and 19th centuries
  • Marginalia, annotations, signs and marks of the reading and use of books
  • Patterns of book ownership or collecting
  • Bookbinding history and development, and its application to book history


David Pearson is Director of Culture, Heritage & Libraries for the City of London Corporation, and has previously worked in various major libraries and collections. He has lectured and published extensively on aspects of book and library history, particularly around the ways that books have been used and bound, and has taught at Rare Book Schools in America and New Zealand. He was President of the Bibliographical Society 2010-12.



Dr Elizabeth Savage

I supervise topics relating to the visual culture of books, historical book illustrations, and historical printing techniques and workshop practices 1400-1600, as well as the history of colour printing. My methodologies are object-based and draw on art history, bibliography, book history, and practical reconstructions at historically appropriate presses.

Supervisory topics

  • Fifteenth-century print culture and incunable studies
  • Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century illustrations
  • Visual paratexts, including printer’s devices and ornaments
  • The history of collecting printed material
  • Colour printing in the hand-press period, 1450-1830
  • Historical materials, techniques and workshop methods, especially in relief


Dr Elizabeth Savage is Lecturer and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Book History and Communications. Her research explores how earliest printing techniques in the West shaped communication, both in text and image, 1400-1600. The early history of colour printing is a special interest. After taking a Gerda Henkel-funded PhD (Cambridge), she was Munby Fellow in Bibliography, Cambridge University Library. She has held fellowships at institutions including the Herzog August Bibliothek, the John Rylands Library, and the Warburg Institute, and she is a member of the Printing Historical Society's Publications Committee. In addition to the Wolfgang Ratjen Prize for distinguished research in the field of graphic art from the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte/Central Institute for Art History, Munich, her research has received awards from the Bibliographical Society of America and the American Printing Historical Association.

Dr Savage’s recent academic curation includes exhibitions at the British Museum and Cambridge University Library. Her latest book, Printing Colour 1400-1700: Histories, Techniques, Functions and Receptions (2015), which she edited with Ad Stijnman, was recognised at the IFPDA Book Awards. Her next book is under contract with Oxford University Press, and she has published in journals including Apollo, the Gutenberg-Jahrbuch, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Print Quarterly, Printing History, and Journal of the Printing Historical Society.