School of English

profile image for Professor Rod Edmond

Professor Rod Edmond

Emeritus Professor

School of English


I was born in New Zealand and educated at Victoria University Wellington and Merton College Oxford. I joined the School of English at the University of Kent in 1974, becoming Professor of Modern Literature and Cultural History, and retiring from the School in 2009.
My main academic fields have been in Victorian and Postcolonial writing and the history and literature of empire. Books include:

Affairs of the Hearth: Victorian Poetry and Domestic Narrative (Routledge, 1988)

Representing the South Pacific: Colonial Discourse from Cook to Gauguin (Cambridge UP, 1997), joint winner of the Trevor Reese Memorial Prize for Imperial History 1997-8.

Islands in History and Representation, co-edited with Vanessa Smith (Routledge, 2003)

Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History (Cambridge UP, 2006).

I have contributed essays to a number of edited books, including Modernism and Empire (Manchester UP, 2000), Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (2002), The Global Eighteenth Century (Johns Hopkins UP, 2003), Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire (Chicago UP, 2005), and Writing, Travel and Empire (I.B. Tauris, 2006).

I have also published articles in learned journals such as Victorian Poetry, Victorian Literature and Culture, Journal of Commonwealth Literature.

For a number of years I was co-general editor of the Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures series.

I am currently chair of the New Zealand Studies Network, a London based organisation that aims to promote interest in New Zealand: its people, social and political arrangements, and its accomplishments in the arts, sciences and professions. It hosts regular talks, presentations, colloquia and conferences. I edit the reviews section of the website and am interested to hear from potential reviewers of books with a New Zealand provenance. I am also co-editing a special issue of the Journal of New Zealand Literature based on a selection of the papers delivered at the New Zealand Studies Network inaugural conference, New Zealand’s Cultures: Histories, Sources, Futures held in July 2012.

In May 2013 I am publishing a new book, Migrations: journeys in time and place (Bridget Williams Books), ISBN 9781927131466. This is a historical memoir and travel book that traces the migrations of two of my great-grandparents from Scotland to New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Their stories are shadowed by my own, which reversed the direction of my forbears’ migration. For details of this book:

My next project is a book of linked essays about the Kent coast between Thanet and Dover, provisionally titled England’s Chin. This will be a cultural geography of a coastline that has served as a frontier, a gateway and a barrier, and in so doing helped define England’s national identity.

Other forthcoming publications include ‘Playing Cricket on the Goodwin Sands’, The Nightwatchman.

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Selected publications:


Affairs of the Hearth: Victorian Poetry and Domestic Narrative (Routledge, 1988)

Representing the South Pacific: Colonial Discourse from Cook to Gauguin (Cambridge University Press, 1997). Co-winner Trevor Reese Memorial Prize 1997-8.

Islands in History and Representation, co-ed. with Vanessa Smith (Routledge, 2003).

Leprosy and Empire: A Medical and Cultural History, Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Migrations: Journeys in Time and Place, Bridget Williams Books, 2013.


‘”The Past-Marked Prospect”: The Mayor of Casterbridge’, in Ian Gregor (ed), Reading the Victorian Novel: Detail into Form, (Vision Press, 1980)

‘New Zealand and Pacific Literature’, in Martin Coyle (ed), Literature and Criticism: A New Century Guide, (Routledge, 1990)

‘In Search of the Lost Tribe: Janet Frame’s England’, in A. Robert Lee (ed), Other Britain, Other British, (Pluto Press, 1995)

‘”A Printing Woman Who Has Lost Her Place”’, in Tess Cosslett (ed), Victorian Woman Poets, (Longman, 1996)

‘Translating Cultures: William Ellis and Missionary Writing’, in Margarette Lincoln (ed), Science and Exploration in the Pacific: European Voyages to the Southern Oceans in the 18th Century (The Boydell Press, with the National Maritime Museum, 1998).

‘Missionaries on Tahiti, 1797-1840’, in Alex Calder, Jonathan Lamb, Bridget Orr (eds), Voyages and Beaches: Europe and the Pacific 1769-1840 (University of Hawai’i Press, 1999)

‘Home and Away: Degeneration in Imperialist and Modernist Discourse’, in Howard Booth and Nigel Rigby (eds), Modernism and Empire (Manchester University Press, 2000)

‘The Pacific / Tahiti: “Queen of the South Sea Isles’, in Peter Hulme and Tim Youngs (eds), Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

‘Abject Bodies / Abject Sites: Leper Islands in the High Imperial Era’, in Rod Edmond and Vanessa Smith (eds), Islands in History and Representation (Routledge, 2003).

‘Island Transactions: Encounter and Disease in the South Pacific’, in Felicity Nussbaum (ed), The Global Eighteenth Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

‘Returning Fears: Tropical Disease and the Metropolis’, in Felix Driver and Luciana Martins (eds), Tropical Visions in an Age of Empire (Chicago University Press, 2005).

‘Writing Islands’, in Peter Brown & Michael Irwin (eds), Literature and Place 1800 – 2000, (Peter Lang, 2006)

‘The Return of the Native: Tom Harrisson in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and Bolton 1933-39’, in Writing, Travel and Empire: In the Margins of Anthropology, I.B. Tauris, 2006


‘The Conservatism of Gising’s Early Novels,’ Literature and History, Spring 1978

‘Death Sequences: Patmore, Hardy and the New Domestic Elegy’, Victorian Poetry, Summer 1981

‘Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda’, Australian Studies, Dec. 1989

‘”Kiss my arse!” Epeli Hau’ofa and the Politics of Laughter’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, XXV, I, 1990

‘South Pacific Literature: Postcolonialism and Postmodernism’, Wasafiri, Autumn 1990

‘No country for towers: reconsidering the bone people’, Landfall, Spring 1993

‘Pacific Encounters’, Wasafiri, Autumn 1993

‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold? Captain Cook and the Anthropologists’, Wasafiri, Spring 1996.

‘Leprosy and Colonial Discourse: Jack London and Hawaii’, Wasafiri, Spring 1997

‘Without the Camp: Leprosy and Nineteenth-Century Writing’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 29: 2, 2001.

Reviews and review articles have appeared in BBC History, British Review of New Zealand Studies, The Dickensian, The Hawaiian Journal of History, The Historian, International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing, Literature and History, Journal for Maritime Research, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Journeys, Radical Philosophy, Social History of Medicine, Studies in Travel Writing, Textual Practice, TLS, Victorian Studies, Wasafiri.

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School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 13/03/2013