Shaun Regan

Dr

  • Room 02.002 - 4 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:
- Eighteenth-century and Romantic literature
- Prose fiction: Behn to Austen
- Literature of slavery and abolition, 1660-1840
- Contemporary historical fiction

1998 …2024

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am a Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature at Queen’s, where I was appointed in 2004 following lectureships at the University of Nottingham (1998-2001) and University College Dublin (2001-2004). My research mainly focuses on texts and genres written and published during the ‘long’ eighteenth century: prose fiction and satire, travel writing, periodical literature, writings about slavery. I am especially interested in how narrative texts during this period engaged with broader social, cultural and historical processes, from shifting conceptions of authorship and national identity to developments in domestic tourism and Britain’s global empire.

 

Research Statement

I am currently working on writings about spas and seaside resorts in Britain c. 1760 to 1840. This was a time of both expansion and transition, as resorts multiplied and inland spas came under challenge from the newer coastal destinations. My research examines printed narratives and other textual representations that reflect, and reflected on, these spaces and changes. An article in Studies in Travel Writing (2024) analyses George Carey’s The Balnea (1799-1801) – the first general guidebook to English leisure resorts – to suggest the difficulties writers encountered while attempting to produce complete, impartial, and up-to-date surveys. Previous publications on Christopher Anstey’s The New Bath Guide (1766) and its literary afterlives have appeared in Philological Quarterly (2021) and Spa Culture and Literature in England, 1500-1800 (Palgrave, 2021).

 

I have focused most frequently on prose fiction and satire. Together with Professor Brean Hammond (Nottingham), I published Making the Novel (Palgrave, 2006), a broad study of the early formation of the genre. I have an ongoing interest in Laurence Sterne, the subject of my doctoral research. An article on the comic cosmopolitanism of his fictionalised travelogue, A Sentimental Journey (1768), was published in Textual Practice in 2017. A more recent piece, which explored the construction of masculinity in the Journey in terms of competing (English and French) models of gentlemanly conduct, appeared in Laurence Sterne’s “A Sentimental Journey”: A Legacy to the World (Bucknell, 2021). A number of earlier articles, in the journals Translation and Literature, Irish University Review, Eighteenth-Century Fiction and The Shandean, presented readings of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1759-67) within various contexts: Scriblerian satire, print culture, the discourse of politeness, and the novelist Richard Griffith (one of Sterne’s early imitators). My work on prose satire also includes an article published in Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, which explored the role of the body and grotesque figuration in Alexander Pope’s pamphlet attacks on the bookseller Edmund Curll, earlier in the century.

 

Sterne also informs my work on literary periodicals, which focuses especially on review criticism and on relatively neglected comic titles from the middle decades of the eighteenth century. An article in Forum for Modern Language Studies (2015) assessed the periodical The Connoisseur (1754-56) in terms of its adaptation of Addison and Steele’s Spectator papers. A further essay on review journals and reader reception appeared in a collection of essays I edited on the literary output of a single year: Reading 1759: Literary Culture in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and France (Bucknell, 2013).

 

A final research strand concerns writings about slavery and empire during this historical period. My particular focus here has been The Interesting Narrative (1789), Olaudah Equiano’s remarkable autobiographical account of his enslavement, manumission, maritime adventures, and abolitionist activism. In articles published in Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation (2013) and 1650-1850 (2010), I have examined Equiano’s narrative artistry and the discourse concerning swearing in the Narrative (encompassing anxieties about blasphemy, racialised legal exclusions, and Equiano’s witnessing to slavery’s iniquities). A further piece on Equiano’s wartime naval experience appeared in a volume of essays which I co-edited with Professor Frans De Bruyn (Ottawa): The Culture of the Seven Years’ War: Empire, Identity, and the Arts in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World (Toronto, 2014).

 

As a researcher, I regularly review new publications in the field of eighteenth-century studies, in journals such as Modern Language Review, Review of English Studies, Irish University Review and (most frequently) Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies and The Scriblerian. I have acted as academic reader for a variety of presses and journals, including Oxford University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Bloomsbury Publishing, Modern Language Review, Eighteenth-Century Studies, European Romantic Review, Eighteenth-Century: Theory and Interpretation, Eighteenth-Century Ireland, Orbis Litterarum, and Literature Compass.

 

Teaching

My teaching at Queen’s reflects my interests in the ‘long’ eighteenth century, the novel genre, and other prose forms. My current MA module, ‘Narratives of Atlantic Slavery’, pairs novels and slave narratives published during the period 1660-1840 with twenty-first-century works by authors such as Andrea Levy, Marlon James and Esi Edugyan. At undergraduate level, my Stage 3 module, ‘Restoration to Regency in Contemporary Fiction’, explores a variety of contemporary historical fictions, encompassing works of crime fiction, literary adaptation, neo-slave narrative, women’s historical fiction, and historical fantasy fiction. I also convene ‘Fiction and the Novel, 1660-1820’ (Stage 2), teach on ‘Issues in Contemporary Fiction: Gender, Race, Ecology’ (Stage 1), and supervise MA and undergraduate dissertations. At PhD level, I have acted as first supervisor for theses on early Irish fiction and the literature of sensibility and as second supervisor for a thesis on Byron and women writers. Each of these projects was externally funded and completed within four years. With Professor Glenn Patterson, I am currently supervising a Creative Writing PhD on historical fiction set in Tudor Ireland.

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