Flowers in Linton Quad

Dr Dylan Carver

Stipendiary Lecturer in English

I am a College Lecturer in English Literature 1660-1830. Before coming to St Peter's, I taught at the University of Cambridge, which is where I completed my PhD (Girton College), MPhil (Downing College), and BA (King’s College). 

In my writing, I try to combine literary history with philosophy of art, especially the Marxist and post-Marxist tradition of philosophical aesthetics from Theodor W. Adorno to Jacques Rancière. Broadly, then, I am interested in how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century texts might be used as a sort of compass needle, whose movements reveal the otherwise invisible clash of forces in late Georgian society. 

Teaching

At St Peters, I teach FHS Paper 4 (Literature in English 1660-1760) and FHS Paper 5 (Literature in English 1760-1830). I also teach FHS Paper 4 at Hertford College. This includes both small-scale tutorials, and classes, where students are invited to begin cultivating an intimate acquaintance with some of the most interesting and important writings and literary artworks of the time. 

Within this brief, there is scope for close readings of individual texts, and for broad historical speculation. Topics change from year to year, but are inevitably shaped by world-historical events and processes including the Transatlantic Slave Trade, British Imperial expansionism, The French Revolution, and The Industrial Revolution. As such, attention to the formal politics of Church and State will be valuable – but so too, attention to the formal and informal politics of class, race, gender, and sexuality. Above all, imaginative and careful reading is encouraged.    

Research 

My doctoral dissertation offered a thoroughgoing reinterpretation of the literature, architecture and painting of the early Gothic Revival, focusing on its importance for the history of aesthetics and politics. In my account, the neo-Gothic art of the 1760s and 1770s emerges as both the most luxurious, and one of the most polemical of later eighteenth-century artistic idioms. I am currently revising this work for publication. More recently, I have begun preparing a new research project on William Hazlitt.