School of English

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Michael Falk

PhD student

School of English

BA; L.1.B; M.Phil, University of Sydney

I completed my B.A, L.l.B and M.Phil at the University of Sydney before relocating to Canterbury for my PhD. My key research interests are Romanticism, the Long Eighteenth Century, and digital humanities.

In my PhD research, I focus on a range of texts from the Romantic period which depict failure, the failure to grow, understand, or develop. Since Romanticism has traditionally been defined in terms of positive values like inner growth, quest-romance or self-development, these texts have traditionally been seen as atypical of the period, of lower artistic quality, or simply of little academic interest.

Is it true that these texts are less important, or less Romantic, than the texts that form the core of the canon? Is Maria Edgeworth's Vivian really one of her worst novels? Were John Moore's Zeluco and Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray merely stepping stones on the way to Austen? Are Charlotte Smith's Elegiac Sonnets simply less Romantic than Wordsworth's Prelude? Were James Hogg and Mary Shelley missing something when they depicted their protagonists going horribly off course in Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Frankenstein?

To answer these questions, and work out just how this marginal or deviant Romantic texts work, I employ a range of traditional scholarly techniques alongside emerging digital approaches such as topic modelling, graph theory, n-grams and statistics.

Research Areas:

Romanticism; Long Eighteenth Century Studies; Digital Humanities

Thesis title:

Wretched Pilgrims: The Romanticism of Failure, 1750-1830


Dr Jennie Batchelor and Dr Paddy Bullard

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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: 16/12/2014