Prof Abigail Williams

Prof Abigail Williams

I have been a Fellow of St Peter's since 2001, beginning shortly after I finished my doctorate on politics and literature in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. My research is on eighteenth century literature, and at the moment I am working on two book projects: a study of the history of reading aloud in the home, and a book on the ways in which books are creatively misread in the eighteenth century. I enjoy, and have benefited from, the connections between my teaching and my research, and am keen to help my students to develop their fullest potential both while they are at St Peter's, and when they leave.


At St Peter's, I teach undergraduate courses in the period 1640-1832, and the Shakespeare paper. In the Faculty, I lecture on Restoration comedy, High and Low Culture, Pope, Swift, Montagu, Behn and Rochester, and the history of reading. Along with Ros Ballaster, Christine Gerrard, and David Womersley, I have also taught a third year syndicated option on 'Grub Street', which explores the ephemeral productions of the early eighteenth century alongside more canonical texts. I have recently begun teaching an interdisciplinary course on eighteenth century domestic and material culture with Dr Giovanna Vitelli, of the Ashmolean Museum.


I am interested in many areas of eighteenth century literature and history, but my research has led to some areas of particular focus: the relationship between politics and literature; textual criticism; eighteenth century poetic miscellanies and popular reception history; letters, obliteration and the revision of eighteenth century texts; domestic reading and the history of the home. I am one of the convenors of the Restoration to Reform seminar, the Faculty's eighteenth-century graduate research seminar, which is currently held at St Peter's College.

Selected Publications (see Faculty page, linked on the left, for more details)

Journal to Stella: Letters to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, 1710-1713. Jonathan Swift, edited by Abigail Williams (CUP, 2013).

Poetry and the Creation of a Whig Literary Culture: 1680-1714. Abigail Williams (OUP, 2005).